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University of Utah will vote Friday whether to add men's lacrosse as a Division I sport

Published June 16, 2017 12:29 pm

Utah athletics • Trustees expected to approve proposal.
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The University of Utah is one crucial vote away from adding men's lacrosse as a scholarship Division I sport.

The university's board of trustees has posted a public agenda to discuss adding lacrosse to Utah athletics for Friday morning. If the trustees approve adding the sport — outgoing U of U. president David Pershing has endorsed the NCAA bid — the Tribune has learned that the Utes could announce it as an official addition as soon as Friday.

Utah athletic director Chris Hill was not immediately available for comment, nor was the school's sports information director, Liz Abel.

Utah would be the Western-most university to add men's lacrosse, an East Coast-dominated sport, and the first Pac-12 program with the sport. If lacrosse is added, it is not yet known what conference affiliation the Utes would have.

Utah's first official season as a D-I program would be expected in the spring of 2019.

Lacrosse has been run as a club sport at the university, but the program has ramped up in the last year behind donor backing, including that of businessman and alum David Neeleman. Former North Carol assistant Brian Holman arrived as a head coach, helping lead an overhaul with better talent, more structured practices and a more competitive team that finished 10-7 last season in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference.

The university established an executive committee this past school year to review adding lacrosse to Utah's 18 D-I sports. The Tribune has learned that the committee passed a recommendation to university trustees to add the sport last week. The trustee vote would serve as the final hurdle to the Utes' entry into lacrosse.

Utah would remain Title IX compliant by adding the sport, which would mean adding 12.6 scholarships plus other costs to Utah's annual budget.

The Utes most recently added beach volleyball this past school year, but crossover with indoor volleyball meant that Utah did not have to offer any additional scholarships.


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