The University of Utah will have a new sport for the 2018-19 school year: men's lacrosse. The school's board of trustees on Friday morning passed a measure to add the growing sport to Utah athletics' 18 Division I offerings unanimously, prompting ...and more »
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By KYLE GOON | The Salt Lake Tribune
First Published 1 hour ago • Updated 1 hour ago
Michael Mangum | Special to the Tribune Utah Utes freshman midfielder Noah Hill (28) has the ball knocked out of his pocket with pressure from Texas Longhorns junior face off specialist Thomas Loudermilk during their game at Ute Soccer Field in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 13, 2017.
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The University of Utah will have a new sport for the 2018-19 school year: men's lacrosse.
The school's board of trustees on Friday morning passed a measure to add the growing sport to Utah athletics' 18 Division I offerings unanimously, prompting cheers of celebration among them.
It's a bold move for Utah, which will become the western-most university with men's lacrosse as well as the first Pac-12 program. But in comments to the trustees, athletic director Chris Hill said lacrosse marked a chance for Utah to become "an innovator" within the league.
"We have not doing this before, but it will put our program in a leadership position," Hill said. "It will give us an opportunity to be recognized nationally as a leader in providing great opportunities for our students."
The Utes will hold a press conference officially announcing lacrosse's addition Friday at 10 a.m.
Hill said many sports have approached him about joining the athletic department over the years, but lacrosse was in a unique position to succeed. The program has significant financial backing: The university will receive a $15.6 million endowment (registered to an anonymous donor) to sustain the sport's costs. The addition of women's beach volleyball and the U. of U.'s male-majority enrollment also enabled Utah to add lacrosse while remaining Title IX compliant.
Utah will retain club coach Brian Holman, who was hired last August from an assistant role at North Carolina. The sport will play its first season in the spring of 2019, planning for a 40-man roster. Hill said he expected the sport wouldn't start out with a full allotment of 12.6 scholarships, but would grow into it.
Utah becomes one of only three men's lacrosse programs west of the Mississippi River, including Denver and Air Force. It is not yet known what conference affiliation the Utes will have in lacrosse.
This story will be updated.
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