- Chris Jastrzembski
Charlotte appears to be adding women's lacrosse
It appears that UNC Charlotte, more commonly known as just Charlotte, is about to announce the addition of women's lacrosse to their athletic offerings.
On the school's jobs page, Charlotte posted a head women's lacrosse coach position on Monday. It's a permanent, full-time job in Charlotte's athletic department. A proposed hire date is listed for June 1.
This saga began way back in December of 2019 when Charlotte's Board of Trustees reportedly approved the addition of women's lacrosse as a sponsored program. As part of the approval for athletics, women's lacrosse would share a new stadium along with practice fields with the 49er men's and women's soccer teams. Those three teams, along with softball, would be housed inside a redesigned Wells Fargo Fieldhouse.
Charlotte, currently a member of Conference USA, was also seeking affiliate membership in the American Athletic Conference. But the university announced they accepted an invitation to join the AAC this past October, meaning conference affiliation won't be a problem. They'll reportedly join in the 2023-24 academic year.
There was no target date set for launching the program at the time. When USA Lacrosse Magazine's Jeremy Fallis reached out to Charlotte for comment, administrators declined until the football team competed in the Bahamas Bowl. They never commented on the situation.
Then on March 8, 2020 at The Crown Lacrosse Classic, a few days before the NCAA canceled all remaining winter and spring championships due to the global Coronavirus pandemic, it appeared that an unofficial announcement of the 49ers adding women's lacrosse was made.
When the pandemic began, there was no update on the status of the addition of women's lacrosse. In the early stages of the pandemic, a few sources told me that any potential schools that were hoping to add men's or women's lacrosse would more than likely be delayed by a couple of years.
Two years later, it appears Charlotte's long-awaited announcement is imminent. Fallis tweeted out that an announcement could come within the next couple of weeks, but there's no timetable for one as of now.
Women's lacrosse is experiencing a program boom in the last few years. Along with Pittsburgh in their inaugural season, Clemson, Eastern Michigan, Fairleigh Dickinson, and Xavier will debut in 2023. Division II Lindenwood and Stonehill will both move up to Division I next season, making it six new teams at the D1 level. South Florida will debut in 2024, while Rhode Island will debut in 2025.
Charlotte will join East Carolina, Florida, James Madison, Old Dominion, South Florida, Temple, and Vanderbilt in the AAC. Cincinnati is currently a member of the conference, but will move their entire athletics department to the Big 12 and will more than likely not be a part of the AAC in women's lacrosse.