The Big East has announced serious initiatives for its women’s lacrosse line-up in 2019 by adding Old Dominion to the women’s lacrosse roster, joining current affiliates Butler, Denver, Marquette and Villanova.

It is a natural fit as Old Dominion is already a Big East affiliate in field hockey. The Big East will, at the same time, release five current affiliates — Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida, Temple and Vanderbilt — to the American Athletic Conference, which will sponsor its inaugural season of women’s lacrosse in 2019.

The recent growth of women’s lacrosse programs across the country have crowded conferences, leading to a national interconference realignment.

The 11-team Atlantic Sun Conference, in which Old Dominion currently competes, will divide its programs with the Southern Conference in 2018, to create two six-team leagues.

The ASUN will include Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Stetson, Coastal Carolina, Howard and Kent State. SoCon affiliates will be Central Michigan, Delaware State, Detroit Mercy, Furman, Mercer and Wofford. 2018 and 2019 will be Wofford’s and Kent State’s first seasons of women’s lacrosse, respectively. East Carolina will compete as an independent team in 2018 and then shift to the American Athletic Conference in 2019.

All conferences with a minimum of six teams receive automatic bids to the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championships, so the Big East, AAC, ASUN and SoCon will all receive automatic bids.

“The growth of women’s lacrosse has allowed conferences to review their membership and create alignments of likeminded institutions,” said Big East Associate Commissioner of Olympic Sports Chris Schneider.

Schneider expressed support for the shake-up, thanking the commissioners of the other conferences involved.

“We are excited for the opportunity to expand our relationship with Old Dominion and look forward to welcoming their women’s lacrosse program to the Big East in 2019,” Schneider said. “I’d like to thank AAC Associate Commissioner Jim Siedliski and ASUN Associate Commissioner Mike Hagen for their professionalism and collaboration in the process.”

Georgetown has made six appearances in the Big East Finals, including its 2010 championship season. Last season, Georgetown fell to Denver in the Big East Semifinals.

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