June 28, 2013

Loyola to Formally Join Patriot League on July 1

from Staff Reports | LaxMagazine.com

Loyola joins the Patriot League as a full member for both men's and women's lacrosse on July 1. 
© John Strohsacker

After years of having its men's and women's lacrosse team play in separate conferences than the remainder of its athletic department, Loyola University is set to formally join the Patriot League for all sports on Monday, July 1st. 

The Greyhounds announced that they would be leaving the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) more than 10 months ago, but their lacrosse teams - the marquee sport for the north Baltimore school - had never played in that league, despite its sponsoring of the sport.

Men's lacrosse - which won the 2012 NCAA championship - was a member of the Eastern College Athletic Conference, while the women's team was an associate member of the Big East.

The men had been independent for the first 20 years of its time as a Division I school before joining the Colonial Athletic Association for one season in 2002. After playing 2003 and '04 without a conference, the Greyhounds joined the ECAC in 2005, making the NCAA tournament five times while a league member and earning its first NCAA championship at the Division I level last spring.

Loyola's women's team has been a member of the Big East Conference since the 2006 season.Previously, they had been a member of the CAA (1992-2002) and the South Atlantic Conference (1987-91). They made the NCAA tournament in each of the last three seasons of their tenure in the league.

Loyola formally joins the Patriot League along with Boston University, bringing the conference's membership to 10: American University, Boston University, Bucknell University, Colgate University, College of the Holy Cross, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, Loyola, the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy.

The Greyhounds will participate in 17 League sports: men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's golf, men's and women's lacrosse, women's rowing, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's swimming and diving, men's and women's tennis, women's indoor and outdoor track and field and women's volleyball. The League does not sponsor a championship for men's rowing, but Loyola will continue to row a regionally competitive schedule in the sport.

"It is an honor to join the Patriot League's distinguished member institutions, all of which consistently demonstrate a profound commitment to excellence both in the classroom and on the field," said Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., Loyola's president. "That commitment is one we share at Loyola, and we see this move as a vital opportunity to continue to elevate our already outstanding athletics programs in keeping with our goal of becoming the nation's leading Catholic, comprehensive university."

Jim Paquette, Loyola's assistant vice president and director of athletics added, "Loyola athletics' primary mission is to support the development of student-athletes who thrive academically, athletically, spiritually, and socially. The Patriot League embraces and supports those values, and we are thrilled to become partners with the league. Its members' histories of academic and athletic excellence are impressive, and consistent not only with Loyola's past achievements, but our future ambitions as well."

Both BU and Loyola will be immediately eligible for Patriot League titles and NCAA Tournament berths in each of their incoming sports.

The Patriot League was formed as an all-sport conference in 1990-91 after beginning as a football only conference (Colonial League) in 1986. Army, Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Lafayette and Lehigh were founding members of the League, and Navy joined the Patriot League for the 1991-92 academic year. Prior to the addition of BU and Loyola, American was the last full member to join the Patriot League (2001-02).

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