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The Johns Hopkins University women’s lacrosse team has been accepted by the Big Ten Conference as a sport affiliate member and will begin play in the league during the 2017 season, university President Ronald J. Daniels announced.
Johns Hopkins recently completed its first season as a Big Ten sport affiliate member in men’s lacrosse.
The Blue Jay women will join current Big Ten members Maryland, Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers in competing for the Big Ten Championship in women’s lacrosse. The team will officially become a Big Ten sport affiliate member on July 1, 2016.
“For decades, Hopkins’ women’s lacrosse has upheld a tradition of excellence on the field and in the classroom,” Daniels said. “We believe that tradition will fit seamlessly into the Big Ten, and are thankful for the invitation from the conference. This is an exciting time for our student-athletes, alumni and fans and we look forward to the challenges and opportunities our sport affiliate membership in the Big Ten will present.”
Johns Hopkins recently completed its 40th season of women’s lacrosse. The Blue Jays transitioned from Division III to Division I in 1999 and competed as an independent at the Division I level from 1999 to 2001. In 2002, Johns Hopkins joined the American Lacrosse Conference and maintained that membership through the 2014 season before competing as an independent again in 2015.
The ALC disbanded at the conclusion of the 2014 season as the Big Ten began sponsoring women’s lacrosse in 2015. In addition to Johns Hopkins, the ALC included current Big Ten members Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State and Penn State.
“We are thrilled to add the Johns Hopkins women’s lacrosse program as a sport affiliate member and look forward to seven women’s teams competing for the Big Ten Championship beginning in 2017,” said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. “The Blue Jay men’s lacrosse program just completed a successful first season of conference competition, part of an outstanding inaugural year of Big Ten lacrosse. We are excited to add another strong program from a premier institution with a passionate fan base to continue growing the sport of lacrosse both in the conference and on the national scene.”
Under the guidance of head coach Janine Tucker, Johns Hopkins has qualified for the NCAA Division I Tournament five times (2004, 2005, 2007, 2014 and this year) and, through its recent affiliation with the ALC, has a long scheduling history with current women’s lacrosse members of the Big Ten. The Blue Jays played regular season games against eventual national champion Maryland and Rutgers in 2015 and also played Penn State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. In all, Johns Hopkins has played 60 all-time games against current Big Ten teams.
“We are honored to join the Big Ten Conference and thrilled to be affiliated with such incredible institutions,” Tucker said. “I am grateful for the tremendous support we received from our administration, including President Ron Daniels and Director of Athletics Tom Calder, during this process. Competing for a conference championship against some of the top teams in the nation is an exciting opportunity and one that should only enhance our recruiting efforts.”
The Big Ten Tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Currently, 26 teams are selected to compete each year in the Division I Women’s NCAA Tournament; the Big Ten placed four teams (Maryland, Northwestern, Ohio State and Penn State) in the NCAAs in its inaugural season of competition.
“The Big Ten has quickly established itself as one of the premier women’s lacrosse conferences in the nation,” Calder said. “We are fully committed to competing at the highest level and providing Janine Tucker and our women’s lacrosse program the resources and opportunities necessary to do that. Aligning our program with the Big Ten is an exciting and positive step in our quest to compete for a national championship.”
Johns Hopkins posted a 14-4 record in 2015, owns a 29-9 record in the last two seasons and an all-time record of 399-250-4 (.614). The Blue Jays are 181-113 (.616) since moving to Division I.
Tucker recently completed her 22nd season as the head coach at Johns Hopkins and boasts a record 249-129 (.659). She has guided Johns Hopkins to all five of its NCAA Division I Tournament appearances and ranks 19th all-time in NCAA women’s lacrosse history with her career 249 victories.