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Report: University of Denver to announce move to Big East in Lacrosse

Denver in the NCAA Lacrosse quarterfinals
Denver in the NCAA Lacrosse quarterfinals
Matt Velasquez

In terms of conference alignment bloat/ distance, and in terms of improving the Big East as a lacrosse conference, this news is exciting. Denver is looking to join a new conference home.

Multiple sources have indicated to Inside Lacrosse that Denver is preparing to announce it will join the Big East for men's lacrosse.

The Pioneers are coming off of their second NCAA Championship Weekend run in three years and are likely exploring options for new conference affiliation as the ECAC loses a signature member in Loyola, which will join the Patriot League in 2014.

The ECAC's future looks to become even less stable as persistent rumors of a Big Ten Lacrosse conference could mean Ohio State and Michigan's departure from the ECAC. That would have left Denver alongside remaining members Air Force, Hobart, Bellarmine and Fairfield, needing a sixth team to keep its automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament beyond 2016.

The Denver Pioneers were one of the teams that replaced St. John's in the Eastern College Athletic Conference in 2010, when the Big East offered lacrosse as a league sport. Now, the Big East looks like a stable ground as lacrosse grows into a viable sport under well-known conference banners.

The Big East (or "the Big East that will be") has St. John's, Georgetown, Providence, Marquette, and Villanova as conference members.

Johns Hopkins, a Division III school in other sports, is the big fish in the lacrosse conference alignment game. The Hopkins Blue Jays (located in Baltimore) have played for 130 years and won 44 "national" titles, 9 since the NCAA sanctioned the sport.

Denver, a private school, would be a solid addition to the Big East in the growing sport of lacrosse. The remaining teams in the ECAC after Denver moves - in 2014 or 2015 - would be Bellarmine in Kentucky, Fairfield, Hobart College in upstate New York (and half of Hobart and William Smith Colleges), and the US Air Force Academy.