New Jersey Institute of Technology has announced that it will add Division I men's lacrosse for the 2015 season, according to Inside Lacrosse, becoming the 69th program in D-I and the 11th added since 2010.
The news is somewhat surprising given the short timetable. For the most part, the schools that have gone D-I in recent seasons have left a couple of years' cushion between announcement and on-field debut. For example, High Point, which had a very successful debut this year, unveiled its program in September 2010. Marquette, another school that made its debut this spring, introduced its program in December 2010.
Newark-based NJIT, which fully moved to D-I in 2009, has the ambitious vision of hiring a coach and getting its club team to a D-I level in less than 15 months.
NJIT competes as an independent; it is unclear whether it will join a conference in lacrosse for its debut. The school was a member of the Great West Conference until this year, when the other four members of the conference left.
About 10 miles from New York City, NJIT is in a prime location to draw talent from the lacrosse hotbeds of Long Island and upstate New York.
The other school adding D-I men's lacrosse in 2015 is Massachusetts-Lowell. Four are going live next spring: Boston University, Furman, Monmouth and Richmond.
Although lacrosse is the fastest-growing college sport, only one Football Bowl Subdivision school -- Michigan -- has started a men's program in the past 32 years. Just 13 of the 126 FBS schools offer it, and a much-debated question is which, if any, will be the next.
"Lacrosse is a very exciting sport," said NJIT athletic director Kaplan. "They've done a really good job with their Championship Weekend. It's interesting when you look at the top 10 teams, line up those guys by academics, the top teams are all very well-respected academic institutions — why wouldn't you want to be there?"
Read the Inside Lacrosse report on NJIT here.