NAIA Lacrosse: St. Gregory’s University (OK) Adds Men’s Lacrosse As Varsity Sport In 2014-15; Growth Of Lacrosse In State Cited As Primary Reason


St. Gregory's Men's LacrosseLacrosse has grown in popularity in Oklahoma, part of a larger national trend. More than 100,000 boys participate in high school lacrosse nationally, according to the NFHS.

It is not currently recognized as one of the NAIA’s championship programs, but there are more than 30 NAIA schools offering men’s lacrosse. Potter said SGU will play a hybrid of NAIA, NCAA and college club teams. The Cavaliers will compete at Fr. Victor Roberts Field, currently the home venue of the men’s and women’s soccer teams.

“We are beginning to see several high schools in our region add lacrosse, so we want to be proactive in being able to offer it here,” said Potter, who indicated that women’s lacrosse may be looked at as a future addition to SGU’s athletic offerings.

St. Gregory’s University will add three varsity sports for the start of the 2014-2015 academic year, athletics director Jeff Potter announced Wednesday. Men’s and women’s swimming and diving in addition to men’s lacrosse will bring SGU’s total offering of athletics programs to 17.

Potter said the university has already begun a search to fill the staffing needs of all three sports.

“Swimming and diving is an underserved sport in our region, and lacrosse has been identified as one of the most rapidly growing games in the United States,” said SGU President Greg Main. “We are excited to be adding these programs and look forward to providing SGU’s quality educational experience to future students who may be interested in them.”

SGU joins Oklahoma Baptist as the only varsity collegiate swim teams in Oklahoma. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), of which SGU is a member, has sponsored swimming since the 1950s. Swimming is similar to track and field in that athletes qualify for the NAIA’s national meet by meeting time standards.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), approximately 33,000 high school students at more than 900 schools participate in swimming programs in Oklahoma’s six-state region.

“We feel like there are several potential students we can attract to SGU who may otherwise leave the state to continue their careers collegiately,” Potter said.

SGU added men’s golf to its list of athletics programs earlier this year and men’s and women’s track, men’s and women’s cross country and women’s golf in 2012.

For more:  http://www.sgucavaliers.com/article/577.php

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