Charlotte 49ers to add women’s lacrosse

women's lacrosse
Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Charlotte 49ers will add women's lacrosse, the fastest-growing sport on college campuses, as its newest sport with competition expected to begin with the 2024-25 academic year.

"We can't wait to start competing in this exciting sport and are committed to building for success," said 49ers Director of Athletics Mike Hill. "We were very deliberate in selecting women's lacrosse because of its explosive growth and popularity locally, regionally and nationally. Fans will love watching the Niners lacrosse team play."

A coaching staff is being hired at this time to start recruiting and building an inaugural roster. Of note, the American Athletic Conference sponsors women's lacrosse. The 49ers announced an upcoming move to The American last year.

Women's lacrosse will become the 19th sport within the 49ers' NCAA Division I Athletics Department. Charlotte currently has 18 sports: nine male and nine female. This is the second women's sport to be added since the start of football in 2013. The 49ers added women's golf in 2017-18.

"This year marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX," said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. "As we celebrate this important milestone in ensuring gender equality in college sports, it seems like a fitting time to add women's lacrosse to our 49ers athletics program. I look forward to cheering on the talented female student-athletes who will soon join our campus community."

In a recent study analyzing 2003-04 to 2017-18, the NCAA determined women's lacrosse as the fastest-growing collegiate sport. During that time frame, the number of schools sponsoring women's lacrosse at the NCAA level nearly doubled from 256 to 505, an increase of 97.3%.

Women's lacrosse thrives in the southeast and mid-Atlantic regions, producing eight of the last 11 NCAA Division I National Champions. Maryland has won five of the 11 NCAA titles, North Carolina has won two and James Madison has won one. In 2021, 13 of 29 NCAA Tournament teams hailed from the mid-Atlantic or southeast regions.

Currently there are 28 women's lacrosse programs at the NCAA Div. I, II or III level in North Carolina. At the high school level, there are more than 100 programs throughout the state. A Charlotte-area school has played for the state championship in each of the last 11 NCHSAA championship tournaments.

Read more on the Charlotte 49ers website.