By Kristen Jacob Smith
The Division II men’s lacrosse championship bracket will expand from four to eight teams beginning with the 2013 season.
“The expansion provides more opportunities to student-athletes and institutions to compete in the postseason NCAA tournament, which is what they work hard for all season," said John Jez, Division II Men's Lacrosse Committee chair and head men's lacrosse coach at C.W. Post. "Overall, this is a great thing for the sport of lacrosse and all Division II men’s lacrosse student-athletes, and we are confident the new additions will create an exciting environment.”
Sport sponsorship has recently grown by about two institutions per year, and the growth is expected to continue at the grass-roots level. Forty-four Division II schools currently sponsor men’s lacrosse.
Also, more than 22,000 fans attended the Division II Men’s Lacrosse Championship final in 2010 as part of the all-division men’s lacrosse festival weekend in Baltimore.
Division II men's lacrosse held its first NCAA tournament in 1974 as an eight-team bracket. The format remained the same until 1980 when the field dropped to just two teams. In 2001, a legislative change resulted in a move to a four-team bracket, which is the current model to date.
The proposal to expand, originally submitted by the Division II Men’s Lacrosse Committee, was initially approved by the Division II Championships Committee at its February meeting. Final approval came from the Division II Planning and Finance Committee during on April 27.
The NCAA Division II Men’s Lacrosse Championship game will be May 29 in Baltimore as part of a doubleheader with the Division III final at M&T Bank Stadium.