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Temple Joins New Big East In Lacrosse, Field Hockey

While the new American Athletic Conference defines itself, some olympic sports appear ready to find the best home possible in the interim.

Big East

The new Big East Conference has made a couple of additions to their Olympic sports programs to fill out leagues that otherwise might not stand on their own. The moves come as part of the separation agreement with the conference-formerly-known-as-the-Big-East, in which the Catholic 7 agreed to bring in members of that conference (now called "The American") as associate members in certain sports.

The moves add Temple, Rutgers, UConn, Louisville, Cincinnati and Old Dominion in two women's sports, field hockey and lacrosse. The Big East only had three full-members who participated in field hockey (Georgetown, Villanova and Providence) and only three who participate in women's lacrosse (Villanova, Georgetown, and starting next season, Marquette). None of the three schools joining the C7 (Butler, Xavier and Creighton) to form the new Big East participate in Field Hockey or Lacrosse.

All of the schools from The American who participate in those two sports will be added as associate members next season -- including those who might transition to other conferences a year later, like Louisville and Rutgers. Old Dominion, heading to Conference USA next season, will also join up for field hockey and were previously an associate member of the old Big East in that sport.

Louisville is really only passing through the Big East in both sports, since they will be able to play both in the ACC, once they complete that move for the 2014-15 academic year. Rutgers could stick around longer, but the Big Ten is rumored to be considering forming lacrosse leagues after Rutgers and Maryland join in Fall 2014; they would almost certainly take their Field Hockey program to the Big Ten in 2014-15, however.

The move, while not yet made official, is under a verbal agreement and will occur for at least one season. Since very few of the incoming programs to The American sponsor these sports, and because the new Big East's full members can't fill out leagues on their own, it is possible that UConn, Cincinnati, ODU and Temple will be kept around longer than the one-year commitment.

Potential future additions, Richmond and Saint Louis both play women's lacrosse and field hockey.

The Big East field hockey league will consist of the following schools:

  • Villanova - Big East
  • Providence - Big East
  • Georgetown - Big East
  • UConn - American (associate member)
  • Temple - American (associate member)
  • Old Dominion - CUSA (associate member)
  • Rutgers - American/B1G (associate member for one season)
  • Louisville - American (associate member for one season)

In women's lacrosse, the Big East league will be comprised of:

  • Villanova - Big East
  • Georgetown - Big East
  • Marquette - Big East
  • UConn - American (associate member)
  • Temple - American (associate member)
  • Cincy - American (associate member)
  • Rutgers - American/B1G (associate member)
  • Louisville - American (associate member for one season)

Men's Lacrosse Options

There is still no word on how this realignment will affect Big East Men's Lacrosse. With Marquette launching both men's and women's lacrosse next season, the Big East would have five schools playing Men's Lacrosse (Villanova, St. John's, Georgetown, Providence and Marquette). They could similarly "borrow" Rutgers for one more season to form a lacrosse league that would possibly get and keep an NCAA Tournament AQ.

Rutgers would have to play lacrosse in the Big Ten if that conference added the sport, and they would have at least five programs once Rutgers and Maryland join in 2014-15. If the Big Ten opted not to sponsor the sport, the new Big East could potentially keep Rutgers and add Maryland as associate members in men's lacrosse. If they do, then the league will drop back down to 10 members, leaving the Big East looking for new partners.

A conference requires six members who have played together for two years to gain an NCAA Tournament automatic bid in lacrosse. With Rutgers, the new Big East would have 5 members who have played together for at least two seasons, and might be able to petition the NCAA for an immediate AQ, but they would need to find a replacement for Rutgers, should the Big Ten launch a league.

One option might be the University of Richmond, which is launching its own program soon as a member of the Atlantic Sun's new lacrosse league. Richmond is a member of the A10 in all other sports and could potentially be a candidate for later Big East expansion in all-sports.

*VUhoops Editor Chris Lane contributed to this report.