BAY CITY, Mich. — Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Commissioner Dell Robinson officially announced that the Conference will add women's lacrosse to its list of sponsored sports beginning in the 2012-13 academic year. The GLIAC now sponsors 22 sports (11 men's/11women's) after the addition of wrestling during the 2011-12 academic year.
"The GLIAC is very excited about adding the sport of women's lacrosse," stated Robinson. "The work and forethought of our membership has lacrosse as a sport on the rise regionally and nationally. The GLIAC is happy to add this sport adding opportunities for female student-athletes at our member institutions. "
There will be nine teams competing in the GLIAC in its inaugural season of women's lacrosse, including five full conference members and four affiliate members. The five full GLIAC members that sponsor women's lacrosse are: the University of Findlay; Grand Valley State University, Lake Erie College; Tiffin University and Walsh University. The four affiliate members are: Alderson-Broaddus College (W.Va.); Notre Dame College (Ohio); Urbana University (Ohio); Wheeling Jesuit University (W.Va.).
With the addition of women's lacrosse the GLIAC becomes the sixth NCAA Division II conference to sponsor the sport. Conference Carolinas, the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, the East Coast Conference, the Northeast-10 and the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference also sponsor women's lacrosse. The GLIAC is the only D-II conference in the Midwest to sponsor the sport.
"In light of the 40th Anniversary of Title IX, it is fitting that our conference has added a sport that increases participation opportunities for our women student-athletes," stated Keri Becker, Associate Athletic Director at Grand Valley State. "Lacrosse has grown tremendously in the Midwest with institutions adding teams or exploring the addition of teams. To continue to be a conference Where Champions Compete, we need to stamp our GLIAC brand on women's lacrosse in order to attract those championship caliber student- athletes to our member institutions"
The 2013 GLIAC women's lacrosse schedule will feature a single round-robin format with each of the nine teams playing eight conference games beginning on April 3. The inaugural GLIAC women's lacrosse tournament will include the top six teams in the final regular season standings with the top two teams receiving byes into the semifinals. GLIAC Tournament quarterfinal matches will be played at the sites of the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds on Tuesday, April 30. The Tournament semifinals and final will be held at the site of the No. 1 seed on Friday, May 3 and Sunday, May 5.
The NCAA conducts a six-team Division II women's lacrosse postseason tournament, three teams from each of the North and South Regions. Two first-round games will be conducted May 11 at campus sites. Winners of the first-round games will advance to the semifinals to play the No.1-seeded teams (May 18). The D-II final will be held on May 19.
With the move from the East Coast Conference (ECC), the women's lacrosse team is the 22nd Storm sport to compete in the GLIAC. Earlier this spring, Lake Erie's men's lacrosse team was announced as one of the founding members of the East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division II Lacrosse League. The GLIAC currently does not sponsor men's lacrosse as a championship sport.