Charlotte to Add Women's Lacrosse, Eyes American Invite


The UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees has reportedly approved a proposal to add women’s lacrosse to its portfolio of NCAA Division I sports, with the goal of competing as an affiliate member of the American Athletic Conference.

The board voted on the proposal, part of a larger athletic department master plan that affects multiple programs with upgraded facilities, at its Dec. 11 meeting.

Jacob Baum of Niner Times, a student media organization at the university, reported from the meeting that the motion had been approved and tweeted slides from the presentation that included plans for a new stadium to be constructed on Charlotte’s existing soccer practice fields.

A target date for launching the women’s lacrosse program was not included in the board presentation, which was delivered by executive associate athletic director Ragean Hill.

When reached by US Lacrosse Magazine, Charlotte administrators declined comment until next week, after the 49ers football team competes in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl on Friday.

In addition to the new stadium, the women’s lacrosse team would have a locker room in the redesigned Wells Fargo Fieldhouse along with men’s and women’s soccer and softball. The Charlotte baseball team is currently transitioning into a new clubhouse space at its field, which would open up office and locker room space in the interim.

Jim Siedliski, American Athletic Conference associate commissioner for Olympic sports, management and operations, was unable to confirm if Charlotte applied to the league. Siedliski said in October that the AAC was looking to add women’s lacrosse teams in the wake of UConn’s departure to the Big East in 2020-21.

The American has until the 2022-23 season to find a sixth team and retain its automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

“We’d love to be at six soon and not wait until 2023,” Siedliski said then. “We don’t have a viable solution at this time, but we’re efforting toward it.”

Charlotte being able to join the AAC would be mutually beneficial. The upstart program needs a new home, because Conference USA does not sponsor women’s lacrosse. Moreover, Charlotte’s profile as an FBS-level school and its generally central location among the remaining lacrosse schools — Cincinnati, East Carolina, Florida, Temple and Vanderbilt — would fit the American’s profile.

The 49ers would become the ninth Division I team in the state, joining Campbell, Davidson, Duke, Elon, ECU, Gardner-Webb, High Point and North Carolina.

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