In a little over two years, plans call for the Vikings to field a women’s lacrosse team. The university decided to start by hiring a coach a year from now. The goal is for the girls on the team to join the university in fall 2023, and the season would start in spring 2024.
The women’s lacrosse team is being added for gender equity reasons and Title IX regulations. The university needs to have another women’s sport on campus to compensate for adding the men’s hockey team. Luke Groth, assistant athletic director for operations, said he believes that the addition of this sport is a new opportunity for the women in highschool who want to pursue their academic and athletic career.
“This new sport would attract more women to Augustana,” Groth said. “This is a new opportunity for them, and it will help grow the sport in the states. A women’s lacrosse team would be a good supplement to men’s hockey and [provide] new opportunities for women.”
He added that the addition of this team will impact Sioux Falls, too.
“Actually, we have a good lacrosse club in Sioux Falls,” Groth said. “It will bring more women to the city and to the campus. It will help grow the sport in the region. Even if this is not a large sport in the Midwest, it shows that the sport has been growing. We are the third school in our league to have a lacrosse team.”
The Vikings still want to become a Division I level school.
“The department is growing, so we are adding four sports in a different timeline, so more scholarships and ressources,” Groth said. “We are growing and going in the same direction for our university plans.”
Augustana will not be building new facilities for lacrosse. The different sports teams of the university will have to share the sports fields.
“We are potentially looking at other fields that we already have, add maybe some new turf, but we will not have an only lacrosse field,” Groth said.
This team will be playing against schools located in Michigan or Ohio, so travel will be necessary. The team will be part of the NSIC conference.
Because lacrosse is less popular in the midwest, the Vikings will have to recruit nationally.
“To recruit the players, we will rely on the coach’s experience,” Groth said. “It will be one of the biggest things. We will also recruit high academic achievement and sport talent. The coach will have to recruit in all the country and get out to the East Coast, where Lacrosse is popular. We have scholarships available, so we will give opportunities to high school people.”