July 8, 2013

Bellarmine to Accept Atlantic Sun Membership for 2014-15

from LaxMagazine.com staff reports 

Bellarmine coach Kevin Burns and the Knights will join the Atlantic Sun after playing 2014 in the ECAC.
© John Strohsacker

Bellarmine has been accepted as an affiliate member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, the conference announced Monday.

The Knights will join Furman, High Point, Jacksonville, Mercer, VMI and Richmond beginning in the 2014-15 academic year, according to a press release.

The Atlantic Sun will sanction its first season of men's lacrosse in the spring of 2014. The conference recently completed its first season of women's lacrosse.

Bellarmine will continue to play in the East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) for 2014, joining the Atlantic Sun for its second season of play.

This move leaves just one school -- Air Force, which also has explored membership in the Atlantic Sun -- among current ECAC schools to not have a new home for the 2015 lacrosse season.

Denver and Loyola are leaving the ECAC for the 2014 season to join the Big East and Patriot League, respectively. Fairfield (CAA), Hobart (NEC), Ohio State (Big Ten) and Michigan (Big Ten) will play alongside Bellarmine and Air Force in the 2014 ECAC schedule before parting ways.

The move places Bellarmine, located in Louisville, Ky., in closer geographic proximity to its conference foes than in the ECAC, which sprawled from upstate New York (Hobart) to Colorado (Denver and Air Force).

The Atlantic Sun also will immediately have an automatic qualifier for the NCAA tournament, having six members for 2014 even before adding the Knights a year later.

"We are very excited to begin a new chapter for Bellarmine lacrosse," Bellarmine coach Kevin Burns said. "After exploring many options it was clear that the Atlantic Sun Conference was the right conference both academically and athletically for our program. The A-Sun and its member schools are committed to creating one of the premier lacrosse conferences in Division I, and we're looking forward to building a great tradition."

This will be the third conference home for the Knights, who played their first season in 2005 and have a 60-67 record over their nine-year history. After two years as an independent, Bellarmine played in the Great Western Lacrosse League from 2007-2009 before the remaining schools in that league were absorbed into the ECAC in 2010.

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