Courtesy Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (naccsports.org) -- The Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference has announced the addition of men's and women's lacrosse beginning with the 2020-21 academic year.
The NACC Council of Chief Executive Officers endorsed the addition of men's and women's lacrosse as the league's 20th and 21st championship sports. This marks the first expansion of the NACC's sports sponsorship portfolio since 2018 when the league added men's volleyball.
"This is a very exciting time for the NACC as we are adding both men's and women's lacrosse to our list of core-sport offerings," NACC Commissioner Dr. G. Steven Larson said. "It signifies the importance our administrators and institutions place on the commitment to our student-athletes to provide a quality experience based upon our core values and mission."
The NACC will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Lacrosse Championships in 2021. The NACC will become the 28th men's league and 32nd women's league to be granted automatic qualification for the championships.
Five member institutions -- Aurora University, Benedictine University, Concordia University Chicago, Concordia University Wisconsin and Marian University -- currently sponsor both sports, while Illinois Institute of Technology (women) and Milwaukee School of Engineering (men) also have established programs. A men's program at Illinois Tech is slated to come online in the spring of 2020. The July announcement by Edgewood College that the institution will add both men's and women's lacrosse in 2021 brings sponsorship by NACC institutions to eight for men's lacrosse and seven for women's lacrosse.
All current men's programs compete in the Midwest Lacrosse Conference (MLC), while all current women's programs compete in the Midwest Women's Lacrosse Conference (MWLC).
The teams bring strong pedigrees to the conference. In 2019, NACC schools held down the top five spots in the final MLC standings with Concordia Wisconsin capturing the tournament crown and advancing to the NCAA Division III Championship. The Falcons ended a streak of six consecutive MLC Tournament titles by Aurora. NACC programs have picked up three MWLC regular-season titles, two MWLC tournament titles and secured 12 of 20 MWLC Tournament berths since 2015.
The conference's Director of Athletics Standing Committee and men's and women's lacrosse coaches will begin the process of creating policies for the sport in the near future.
The NACC began its first season of competition in the fall of 2006, then known as the Northern Athletics Conference. The conference consists of 13 private colleges and universities from the shared-border states of Illinois and Wisconsin, all of which are NCAA Division III members.
The members of the NACC include Alverno College, Aurora University, Benedictine University, Concordia University Chicago, Concordia University Wisconsin, Dominican University, Edgewood College, Illinois Institute of Technology, Lakeland University, Marian University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Rockford University and Wisconsin Lutheran College. St. Norbert College, an affiliate member in men's volleyball and men's and women's golf, joins the league as a full member in 2021-22.