PISCATAWAY, N.J. (June 3, 2013) – The Rutgers men’s lacrosse team will be a member of the newly formed Big Ten lacrosse conference beginning with its inaugural season for the 2014-15 academic school year, the league announced Monday. The Scarlet Knights join a six-team conference that includes sport affiliate member Johns Hopkins, as well as Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State.
Men’s and women’s lacrosse will become the 27th and 28th Big Ten sponsored sports. Big Ten rules allow for a conference championship when six institutions sponsor a program in any given sport. The six programs that will comprise Big Ten men’s lacrosse boast 56 national championships, with schools that have competed for more than a century.
With the addition of Maryland and Rutgers in 2014, the broad-based athletic programs of the 14 Big Ten institutions will sponsor nearly 350 teams in 42 different sports with almost 9,500 student-athletes, more than any other conference.
Rutgers on the Move to the Big Ten:
Head Coach Brian Brecht
"We are entering an exciting era here at Rutgers. This past fall, the university announced that it will join the Big Ten Conference, which arguably combines the highest level of both academics and athletics for our student-athletes. Now, the Big Ten adds lacrosse, as well as Johns Hopkins, to provide our conference with six lacrosse playing schools to compete for an automatic qualifying spot to the NCAA Championship. The strength and branding of the Big Ten Conference will no doubt help grow Rutgers lacrosse, as well as Division I lacrosse. It's a great day for our current student-athletes that are in our locker room, as well as the talented student-athletes we look to recruit for the future. The young men and their families that join the Rutgers lacrosse family will not only be receiving a great education, but will have the best athletic experience playing at the highest level of Division I lacrosse as a part of the most prestigious conference in the country."
Chuck Apel (1974-77, Player)
Two-time All-American (1975, 1977) – 1977 North/South Game Participant
“Admission to the Big Ten will be great for Rutgers as more people will realize what a great school it is and for athletics playing against other outstanding programs. I think all facets of the school will benefit from this move.”
Keith Cromwell (1998-2001, Player)
Assistant Coach, 2012 – Three-time All-American (1999-2001) – 2001 North/South Game Participant
“I can't begin to tell you how excited we, as alumni, are to be a part of the Big Ten Conference. Rutgers has a great history of lacrosse and has always been an outstanding academic institution. I look forward to Rutgers attracting the best student-athletes as everything is in place to take our lacrosse program to the next level.”
Jack Emmer (1964-67, Player)
1967 All-American – 1967 North/South Game Participant – Former Head Coach (Army, Washington & Lee, SUNY Cortland) – Coached 16 Teams to the Postseason – National Lacrosse Hall of Fame
“With the addition of Johns Hopkins to the Big Ten lacrosse conference, the Big Ten instantly becomes a power conference with six universities with great athletic histories. In the lacrosse world, for Rutgers to be associated with Johns Hopkins, Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State and Maryland is very attractive to outstanding future student-athletes. To establish the Big Ten as a valid six team conference may also influence other Big Ten schools to consider adding varsity lacrosse to their athletic programs. Brian Brecht has shown strong leadership in developing Rutgers into a competitive lacrosse program and this sanctioned league affiliation enhances the opportunities to grow Rutgers lacrosse into a national title contender.”
Lou Fusilli (1986-89, Player)
1989 North/South Game Participant – 1989 Team Captain
"I think joining the Big Ten Conference is one of the best moves that Rutgers Athletics has ever made. The lacrosse program will benefit immensely. The exposure it will get from competing with the highly-successful athletic programs of the Big Ten schools, in addition to the level of competition it will face, will bring the program to the next level. These are very exciting times to be involved with Rutgers lacrosse!"
Reid Jackson (1991-94, Player)
Three-time All-American (1992-94) – 1994 North/South Game Participant
“After 130 years as an independent, Johns Hopkins choosing the Big Ten solidifies the conference. It makes for a great schedule of games and strengthens the recruiting process for all of the teams. As a player you always want to play the best.”
Robert Lemken (1991-94, Player)
1994 Team Captain
“It means the world to our program. The Big Ten is synonymous with academic and athletic excellence. The programs that make up the Big Ten Conference immediately make it one of, if not the most, competitive NCAA recognized conferences there is. It has everything from up and coming programs like Ohio State and Penn State, who are coming off of NCAA tournament bids, to a Michigan program, while in its infancy, is recruiting well and has commitment from the university. Lastly, you add storied programs in Maryland and Johns Hopkins and you instantly have a league that will without question have more than one team capable of winning the national championship every year. When you look at it through this lens, this means the world to Rutgers. We now have the opportunity to elevate our program through the exposure that playing in the Big Ten Conference will provide due to its prestige and television network. Our lacrosse program is now on a national stage and having a leader like Coach Brecht who understands this means everything to this program. As a member of the Rutgers Lacrosse family, this new chapter with all of the opportunities it provides couldn’t be any more exciting.”
Will Mangan (2009-12, Player)
2012 All-American – 2012 North/South Game Participant – 2012 BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year
“As an alumnus, I'm extremely excited that Rutgers will have the opportunity to play against the best competition while continuing to build as a program under Coach Brecht.”
Richard Mercurio (1972-75, Player)
Member of Three NCAA Tournament Teams
“It is a very exciting era for Rutgers lacrosse. Joining the Big Ten has everyone in the lacrosse world talking about the conference and the teams that will be in it. That in itself can be positive for the program. The Big Ten is a very recognizable and respected conference. It brings creditability academically, competitively and needless to say financially. With teams like Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, the potential for alumni support can broaden. Being part of this conference will attract some of the best high school lacrosse players.”
Mark Moreau (1986-89, Player)
Two-time All-American – 1989 North/South Game Participant
“I am excited for the current and future Scarlet Knights as they will have the opportunity to compete in a premiere lacrosse conference. With the support of our strong alumni group and the leadership of Coach Brecht, the sky is the limit for the Scarlet Knight lacrosse program.”
Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersAthletics) and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates regarding Rutgers men’s lacrosse, follow the program and Brecht on Twitter (@RUMLax and @RUlaxCoach) and Facebook. Fans can receive timely information, including special offers and giveaways throughout the year on our social media outlets along with www.ScarletKnights.com.