MOUNT VERNON – Cornell College will field men's and women's lacrosse teams starting with the 2014-15 academic year.
The new programs will help Cornell in its goal to provide an exceptional experience for any student interested in athletics, said Cornell Director of Athletics John Cochrane.
"Interest in lacrosse has grown tremendously across the country in the last decade, including in areas where we already recruit students," Cochrane added. "Having lacrosse as an option will help us attract even more talented student-athletes."
Lacrosse is the fastest growing NCAA Division III varsity sport in the Midwest. Within the past year, men's and women's varsity programs have been added at Beloit, Augustana, Loras and the University of Dubuque. Wartburg is also adding women's lacrosse.
Lacrosse is the next sport likely to be added within the Midwest Conference. In the interim, lacrosse-only conferences are competing throughout the Midwest.
At the high school level, lacrosse is well established and growing in the major Midwestern metropolitan markets, including Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Denver, providing a recruiting pool for new programs.
The addition of the sport is made possible by the installation of synthetic grass this summer at Cornell's Ash Park Field.
Cornell has fielded a lacrosse club team for several years. The college is seeking to hire men's and women's lacrosse coaches, who will begin recruiting during the 2013-14 academic year.
With the addition of the lacrosse programs, Cornell will sponsor 19 intercollegiate sports in 2014-15.