ADA — Ohio Northern University will add both men's and women's lacrosse to its varsity sports program in the coming academic year.
Lacrosse will continue to be played as a club sport until spring 2016, when the Polar Bears will start varsity competition in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
"The desire to add men's and women's lacrosse at Ohio Northern is not new. Lacrosse has been a club sport for several years, and the University's strategic plan recommends adding lacrosse and assessing athletic facilities in order to enhance student services," said Daniel A. DiBiasio, president of Ohio Northern University. "With the recent announcement to install artificial turf on two fields, this allows the Polar Bears to compete in one of Ohio high schools' fastest growing sports."
The lacrosse programs will bring the total number of varsity programs at ONU to 23, matching the championship sports offered by the OAC. Ohio Northern now will offer 12 varsity men's programs and 11 varsity women's programs.
"We are excited to add men's and women's lacrosse as varsity sports at Ohio Northern," said Tom Simmons, ONU director of athletics. "Lacrosse will allow us to recruit additional student-athletes who will be successful both on the field and in the classroom."
The lacrosse teams will be able to play their games on the new turf fields inside both Dial-Roberson Stadium and the ONU Track and Field Complex. The soccer teams will play their games inside the ONU Track and Field Complex.
Ohio Northern is the eighth OAC member to add lacrosse to its athletic offerings for student-athletes. The expansion of varsity programs at ONU is the first since women's golf was added in 1996-97. Lacrosse is the first men's sport added since men's soccer started in 1975.
A national search for head coaches for both men's and women's lacrosse is underway.