Rosemont, Ill. – With the inaugural seasons of Big Ten men’s and women’s lacrosse set to begin next year, the conference today announced dates and sites for the 2015 and 2016 Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Tournaments. The 2015 men’s tournament will be held from April 30 to May 2 at Maryland, while the 2015 women’s event will be hosted by Rutgers from April 30 to May 3. The 2016 men’s tournament will take place from May 5-7 at Johns Hopkins, while Northwestern will be the site of the 2016 women’s event from May 5-8.
In June 2013, the Big Ten announced the addition of men’s and women’s lacrosse as the conference’s 27th and 28th sports, and that Johns Hopkins had been accepted as a sport affiliate member for men’s lacrosse beginning with the 2014-15 academic year. Big Ten competition in both men’s and women’s lacrosse will feature Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers, with Johns Hopkins participating in men’s lacrosse and Northwestern competing in women’s lacrosse.
The Big Ten Men’s Lacrosse Tournament will feature a four-team field, with two semifinal matches on Thursday and the championship game played on Saturday. The Big Ten Women’s Lacrosse Tournament will include all six conference programs, with two quarterfinal matches on Thursday. The top two seeds will receive byes to Friday’s semifinals, followed by the championship match on Sunday.
The six programs that will comprise Big Ten men’s lacrosse boast 56 national championships, with schools that have competed for more than a century. Johns Hopkins has played since 1883 and leads all schools with 44 national championships. Maryland has claimed 11 national titles, while Rutgers has also won a national championship. The Scarlet Knights launched men’s lacrosse in 1887, followed by programs starting in 1913 for Penn State, 1924 for Maryland, 1953 for Ohio State and 2012 for Michigan.
Big Ten women’s lacrosse will feature teams that have won 24 national championships and 20 of the 33 NCAA championships, including nine of the last 10. Maryland won its 12th national championship this year, and claimed seven straight from 1995 to 2001. Northwestern has won seven NCAA titles, highlighted by five consecutive from 2005 to 2009 and most recently in 2012. Penn State has earned five national championships, including NCAA titles in 1987 and 1989.
The Big Ten has made a series of announcements highlighting the conference’s increased presence on the East Coast, beginning with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers as future conference members in November 2012. Last June, the Big Ten announced the acceptance of Johns Hopkins University as the conference’s first sport affiliate member for men’s lacrosse and also announced an agreement to take part in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, sending conference football teams to play at Yankee Stadium on an annual basis. In April, the Big Ten announced that it would open a second office in New York City while securing access to satellite office space in Washington, D.C.
In May, the conference unveiled plans to take part in the Gavitt Tipoff Games, an annual early-season men’s basketball series with the Big East named in honor of Dave Gavitt, and announced that the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament will make its first appearance on the East Coast when the 2017 event is held at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Also in May, BTN confirmed that the network had reached deals with Time Warner Cable and Cablevision for broad distribution to their subscribers in the New York/New Jersey television markets.
Maryland and Rutgers are set to officially join the Big Ten on July 1, 2014, giving the conference more than 520,000 total students and 5.7 million living alumni. The broad-based athletic programs of the 14 institutions will feature almost 9,500 student-athletes for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 43 different sports. With the debut of men’s and women’s lacrosse during the 2014-15 academic year, the Big Ten will sponsor 28 official sports. Maryland and Rutgers are already members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, an academic consortium of Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago that is a model for effective and voluntary collaboration among top research universities. In 2012, Big Ten institutions produced over $9.5 billion in research expenditures.