The American Athletic Conference will welcome a new sport into the fold for the 2018-2019 season as the conference announced today that it will begin sponsoring women’s lacrosse.
The conference will feature six teams, four of which are already full-time members of the American: UConn, Cincinnati, East Carolina and Temple as well as Florida and Vanderbilt.
Five of the teams, all of them besides East Carolina, currently compete in the Big East Conference. The Pirates will begin their first program’s first intercollegiate season in 2018.
The American will get an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, which will be decided by a conference tournament at the end of the regular season. With just six members, each team will likely play a home-and-home with each other for a 10-game conference schedule.
While it’s on the small side, a six-team conference isn’t abnormal for women’s lacrosse. After losing five schools, the Big East will only have five schools remaining, barring expansion. Similarly, the Northeast Conference only has eight members.
With women’s lacrosse to join the American, UConn only has three sports playing outside the conference. Both ice hockey teams plays in Hockey East, while Field Hockey remains in the Big East.
The Huskies’ lacrosse team was formed in 1997 and plays at the Sherman Family Complex during the spring semester. They are coached by Katie Woods, now in her eighth season with the program. Last year, the team finished 8-8 and missed the Big East Tournament.
The change in conferences gives UConn a much better chance to reach the NCAA tournament, as they now only need to win a six-team tournament in order to claim the automatic bid.