SPARTANBURG, S.C. – When the Virginia Military Institute transitions back to the Southern Conference following the 2013-14 athletic year, lacrosse will be coming as well.
In a joint effort between the Atlantic Sun Conference, in which VMI will compete in 2014, and the Southern Conference, the latter will take over stewardship of the lacrosse league beginning in 2014-15, making men’s lacrosse the SoCon’s 20th sport.
“This is a great move for VMI, the Southern Conference, and the growth of our sport,” said Brian Anken, who will begin his fourth season at VMI in 2014. “In the constantly changing landscape of athletics, it’s great to see two conferences work together to help support the rapid growth of lacrosse. We are especially excited for the first time in our program’s history to be competing in the same conference as the majority of our sports at VMI.”
In the spring of 2014, VMI will compete with Furman, High Point, Jacksonville, Mercer and Richmond in the Atlantic Sun. Those five schools, in addition to VMI, will transition to the SoCon in 2015. Joining the league will be Bellarmine, beginning in 2015.
This will be the third conference alignment for the Keydets. VMI was an associate member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference from 2003-2013. In the spring of 2014, VMI will compete for one season in the Atlantic Sun before transitioning to the SoCon.
The Southern Conference was home to VMI and its athletics program from December 1924 until the conclusion of the 2002-03 academic year. In 2003-04, VMI began competing in the Big South Conference, but the Institute returns to its roots in July, 2014.
VMI opens the 2014 season on the road when it takes on the United States Naval Academy on Feb. 8. Action is set for noon in Annapolis at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
The Southern Conference, in its 93rd season of intercollegiate competition, is a national leader in emphasizing the development of the student-athlete and helping build lifelong leaders and role models. The conference has been on the forefront of innovation and originality in developing creative solutions to address issues facing intercollegiate athletics. From establishing the first conference basketball tournament (1921) to tackling the issues of freshman eligibility (1922) to developing women’s championships (1984) to becoming the first conference to install the 3-point goal in basketball (1980), the Southern Conference has been a pioneer. The Southern Conference is the nation’s fifth-oldest NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association.