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posted 02.01.2012 at 2.18 p.m. by Clare Lochary

University of Colorado to Add WD1 Lacrosse

Updated - 02.01.2012 at 9.00 p.m.

It's official. The University of Colorado at Boulder is adding a NCAA Division I women's lacrosse program that will begin play in the spring of 2014.

In a story posted on the official website of Colorado athletics, CU athletic director Mike Bohn said the presence of a “strong [lacrosse] club team on campus reflects a strong interest from students, but more importantly it’s the fastest growing sport within the state of Colorado amongst girls.”

“We recognize the importance of bolstering our participation numbers and meeting our Title IX obligations,” Bohn said.

CU considered adding six or seven other sports, but settled on women's lacrosse.

“We factored in the weather and the fact that it’s a spring sport and the existing facilities and infrastructure that exist within our program,” Bohn said. “All of that provides an appropriate fit for us to take advantage of the growth in the state and the popularity of the sport.”

The Buffs are expected to join the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, a league that includes fellow Pac-12 members Stanford, Cal and Oregon and will include USC in the spring of 2013. Denver, UC Davis, Saint Mary’s, San Diego State and Fresno State are also in the MPSF.

Original story - 02.01.2012 at 2.18 p.m.

According to a report from The Boulder Daily Camera, the University of Colorado at Boulder athletic department has decided to add women’s lacrosse as a varsity sport beginning in 2014. Athletic director Mike Bohn told staffers of the decision at a staff meeting Tuesday, and an official announcement is expected Wednesday. Bohn first indicated that CU intended to add a new women’s sport in January. The addition of women’s lacrosse stems from CU’s lucrative decision to leave the Big 12 Conference in favor of what is now the Pacific 12. If the report is correct, the Buffs would be the second Division I women’s lacrosse program in Colorado, after the University of Denver, which has sponsored the sport since 1999.

The state of Colorado has long been a bastion of lacrosse in the West, thanks to the Pioneers men’s and women’s program, thriving club and high school teams, and the rabid local fandom for both the Colorado Mammoth (NLL) and the Denver Outlaws (MLL). There are currently 11,499 members of the US Lacrosse Colorado chapter, which is the ninth-largest in the nation and the second-largest of the non-East Coast chapters. (Northern California, with 13,034 is the largest non-East Coast USL chapter.) If the Buffs’ proposed debut happens on schedule, their first season will occur the same year as the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse Men’s World Championship in Denver, which is expected to be the largest international lacrosse event in history. The University of Colorado sponsors club teams in both the MLCA and the WLCA. The 2012 and 2013 WCLA Championships, sponsored by US Lacrosse, will take place in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The University of Colorado is the state university system’s flagship university, boasting an enrollment of 30,000 students and an athletic department that currently sponsors 11 sports. The Buffs usually compete in the Pac-12, although the women’s lacrosse team is expected to compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

In 2012, there will be 92 women’s lacrosse teams competing in Division I. In 2013, the sport is expected to reach 101 participants with the addition of Southern California, Marquette, Delaware State, Coastal Carolina, Winthrop, Stetson, Campbell and Kennesaw State. In 2014, lacrosse fans can look forward to Mercer (Ga.) University’s varsity debut, and now, the Buffs.