Will be expanding the athletic department…adding both men’s and women’s Lacrosse to get up to 27 sports.Although it does not give a date, information I have picked up elsewhere says the programs will be added in time for the 2012 season. Already the top program in the MCLA, the Wolverines are one of the best supported and funded varsity club programs in the nation. They were the first high profile team to wear Adidas gear and have been used in the company's marketing campaigns.
I have long thought that adding more high profile schools at the D1 level will provide the greatest benefit to men's lax. Notre Dame's epic 2010 season did a lot to raise the game's profile and the potential for rivalry games with the Wolverines will continue that. With the Irish's NBC contract, match ups with Big Blue might actually creep onto nationwide broadcast television; the effects of that could be mind shattering indeed.
Michigan's presence also adds a third team in the Big Ten conference (Ohio State, Penn State). Not only does this allow for more Big Ten Network broadcasts, but it also builds incentive for other schools in the conference to add lax. Certainly the additional broadcasting potential and revenue would do wonders during the network's relatively light spring schedule.
Dave Brandon (Michigan AD) sees the Big 10 at 14 teams in the next couple of years, with 16 teams being possible. Only big name teams that have a large market share / successful in sports and in academics. He did not name names, but mentioned only a few schools fit that profile.This hearkens back the mayhem of this summer by indicating that the Big Ten is not ready to stand pat. Further expansion also opens the doors to more lacrosse programs in the conference.
Should this expansion happen, and should Michigan finally take the big step, then it is definitely not hard to imagine the conference working towards sanctioning lacrosse and adding a championship game within the next decade. Exciting times indeed.