High Point, JU, and VMI Join Atlantic Sun Conference for 2014

High Point University and the Virginia Military Institute will begin play in the Atlantic Sun Conference in the league's first season of men's lacrosse in 2014. With six initial members, the conference will immediately be eligible for a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

"This is another great step for High Point University lacrosse and growth of collegiate men's lacrosse in the South," said HPU Athletic Director Craig Keilitz. "We're grateful to the Atlantic Sun for the great job the conference staff has done to make this happen. We're excited to start conference play against such an excellent group of athletic and academic institutions next spring."

The Atlantic Sun has two full-time member institutions with men's lacrosse: Jacksonville and Mercer. High Point, VMI, Richmond and Furman will join as affiliates for men's lacrosse. The Panthers are currently playing as an independent in their inaugural season.

With six members under the banner of an established conference, the A-Sun is immediately eligible to apply for an automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship in 2014. The six teams will play each other once in the regular season, along with the championship to be scheduled in May of 2014. The A-Sun becomes the 10th conference in NCAA Division I to sponsor men's lacrosse as a championship sport

"We are very proud to continue a tradition of growth in the Atlantic Sun Conference with the addition of men's lacrosse as our newest championship sport," said A-Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart. "The A-Sun continues to be a leader in building opportunities for student-athletes and we are very excited about working with the distinguished institutions who will be joining us to provide this additional conference championship."

High Point is in its first men's lacrosse season with the team picking up its first program win on Feb. 9 over Towson. Head coach Jon Torpey has been building the program over the past two years. The High Point roster is 40 players deep and features 38 freshman and sophomores. The two upperclassmen on the roster are junior captains Bucky Smith and Garrett Swaim.

"I am very excited to join the Atlantic Sun," Torpey said. "This is a great addition for lacrosse in the south and we are looking forward to playing for a bid to the NCAA Tournament. It will be fun to establish rivalries in the region and have something to play for late in the season."

Mercer and Jacksonville are both in their third seasons of men's lacrosse. Richmond and Furman will begin Div. I play in 2014.

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MACON, Ga. -- Beginning in the 2013-14 academic year, the Virginia Military Institute men's lacrosse team will make the switch from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to the Atlantic Sun Conference, a move that was announced Monday morning by the VMI athletic department and Atlantic Sun Conference.

The A-Sun becomes the 10th conference in NCAA Division I to sponsor men's lacrosse as a championship sport, joining the America East, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big East, Colonial Athletic Association, ECAC Lacrosse League, Independents, Ivy League, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Northeast Conference, and the Patriot League. For the 2012-13 academic year, there are 61 NCAA-sanctioned Division I men's lacrosse teams.

"We are very proud to continue a tradition of growth in the Atlantic Sun Conference with the addition of men's lacrosse as our newest championship sport," said A-Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart. "The A-Sun continues to be a leader in building opportunities for student-athletes and we are very excited about working with the distinguished institutions who will be joining us to provide this additional conference championship. From our debut as the first Division I conference to sponsor sand volleyball last spring, to this spring's initial women's lacrosse championship and on to men's lacrosse next spring, we are committed to expanding competitive opportunities and forging partnerships that will allow us to meet that goal."

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2013-02-11



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