Conference realignment has resulted in all kinds of things: Conferences dissolving, conferences bloating, new conferences being formed, and teams changing leagues at a rate that exceeds the deliciousness of a pizza tree with pepperoni leaves. Until today, though, something was notably absent from conference realignment: Bartering like a cowboy in a dry goods store.
Utilizing a cooperative approach that has already proven beneficial in another sport, the Atlantic Sun Conference and Southern Conference have reached a joint agreement designed to support the regional growth in men’s and women’s lacrosse.
Under the new agreement, the Southern Conference will assume stewardship of men’s lacrosse from the Atlantic Sun in 2014-15, making it the SoCon’s 20th varsity sport. The A-Sun will continue to sponsor women’s lacrosse, with programs in both conferences having automatic access to participation opportunities in either sport.
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“This arrangement will ensure that new lacrosse programs, men and women, will have a conference home that includes an automatic bid to the NCAAs and a regional conference schedule that makes sense,” Southern Conference Commissioner John Iamarino said. “We are grateful for the spirit of cooperation from the A-Sun and all its men’s lacrosse programs. Our objective is to build upon the foundation they’ve established to grow the sport on these campuses.”
“We strongly believe that the student-athletes, the athletic programs currently sponsoring and those investigating sponsoring men’s and women’s lacrosse, and the institutions those teams represent are all served very well in this partnership,” Atlantic Sun Conference Commissioner Ted Gumbart said.
“The collaborative effort in building a new automatic bid opportunity for both women’s and men’s lacrosse-playing members has been outstanding and we look forward to working together with the Southern Conference towards continued growth in sponsorship and competitive opportunities for all the institutions in our leagues.”
So, the Atlantic Sun is the Southern Conference. Got it. This is the plot to The Usual Suspects, right? Good.