Rhode Island to add women's lacrosse for 2025 season
Less than a month after South Florida announced the addition of a women's lacrosse program, another Division I school has done the same.
The Rhode Island Rams announced earlier this month they will be adding women's lacrosse for the 2024-25 academic year. They will become the 125th Division I women's lacrosse program when they debut (considering Hartford stays at the Division I level at the time) and the 11th women's lacrosse program in the Atlantic 10. Only Dayton, Fordham, Saint Louis, and incoming member Loyola Chicago will be schools without women's lacrosse.
"It has been a tremendous pleasure to witness how dedicated our student athletes are, not only to their sport and studies, but to the entire URI community," stated university president Marc Parlange in a press release. "I look forward to welcoming women's lacrosse to the University. It is a growing sport on campuses across the country, and I am proud that we are adding this important program to our NCAA lineup."
Women's lacrosse will become the 19th overall varsity program and the 11th women's program at the university. It's the first varsity program to be added at the school since women's rowing was added in 1996.
It also increases the number of women's lacrosse schools in the state to three. Providence only has men's lacrosse. Rhode Island is the only Division I school in the state to not have men's lacrosse.
"The opportunity to provide more opportunities for our student-athletes is exciting and significant for the overall growth of the University," said Rhode Island Director of Athletics Thorr Bjorn. "The Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was a vital piece of law that has had a profound impact on our society. We are proud to honor the 50th anniversary of Title IX by growing women's athletics at Rhode Island."
Bjorn expects to hire a head coach this summer, per the press release. Additional staff will come within the next two years.
"With the addition of women's lacrosse, Rhode Island will be comfortably in compliance with all standards set forth by the NCAA and Title IX," Bjorn said. "As the profile of the University continues to shift, we had areas that needed to be addressed. With proper planning and the support of President Parlange, we worked to ensure we remain compliant moving forward through the creation of more opportunities for female student-athletes."
No details were announced about potential venue for the Rams (Meade Stadium and the URI Soccer Complex are possibilities). More details regarding the program's rollout will be available in the coming months.
Currently, Rhode Island is the only program debuting in 2025. Pittsburgh is debuting this year, while Clemson, Eastern Michigan, Fairleigh Dickinson, and Xavier will debut in 2023, and South Florida will debut in 2024.