Imagine if Kyle Whittingham had the entire western half of the United States to recruit from, with only two schools competing with him. That’s what the University of Utah Men’s Lacrosse team will have in front of them.
SALT LAKE CITY—Imagine if Kyle Whittingham had the entire western half of the United States to recruit from, with only two schools competing with him. That’s what the University of Utah Men’s Lacrosse team has available now that they will be a fully-sanctioned NCAA Division I sport starting in 2018.
Utah is just the third school west of the Mississippi River to field an NCAA men’s lacrosse team—along with the Air Force Academy and the University of Denver, a power in the sport.
Current club coach Brian Holman will remain as head coach as the team finishes out club play in 2017-18, and assumes Division I status in 2018-19. He was previously an assistant at the University of North Carolina for eight years, helping them win the 2016 national championship.
“A lot of research and effort went into our decision to add men’s lacrosse,” said Utah Athletics Director Chris Hill in a statement. “With several great club sports expressing an interest in achieving NCAA status, a working committee was formed to determine the parameters for adding a new sport. Among the factors considered were the potential impact on our other teams, financial self sustainability, compliance with Title IX and popularity in our community. Men’s lacrosse met those criteria.”
No state or university funds will be used toward the men’s lacrosse program. An anonymous $15.6 million endowment was gifted to support the team. They will compete at Ute Soccer Field and practice on the infield of the McCarthey Family Track & Field Complex.
The NCAA allows 12.6 scholarships for a 40-man lacrosse roster. The Utes won’t immediately give 12.6 scholarships, but will allow around eight, said Hill. Men’s lacrosse is the first at Utah to transition from a club sport to a Division I sport.
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