Calvin College will add men’s and women’s lacrosse as varsity sports effective with the 2012–2013 academic year. The announcement was made in conjunction with the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA), which announced that the league will add men’s lacrosse and women’s lacrosse as varsity conference sports, effective with the 2012–13 season, the 125th anniversary season for America’s oldest collegiate athletic conference. Calvin has been a member of the MIAA since the 1953–54 academic year.

Calvin has sponsored men’s lacrosse at the club level since 1987 and women’s since 1997. The last time a club sport made the transition into a varsity sport at Calvin was in 1988, when women’s soccer moved to varsity status after competing at the club level.

“Both teams have been longtime club sports at Calvin, so we are excited to make the transition with lacrosse to the varsity level,” said Nancy Meyer, Calvin women’s athletic director. “We are eager to begin the process of seeking out candidates for the head coaching positions of both teams. That search will begin immediately. We will also be looking to actively recruit talented athletes to promote this exciting sport at Calvin.”

Competition in MIAA men’s and women’s lacrosse will begin with the fall nontraditional season in 2012 and conclude with conference regular season and tournament play in the spring of 2013, MIAA Commissioner David Neilson said.

The addition of these sports brings to 20 the number of varsity sports the MIAA will sponsor in 2012–13 and marks the first new sports to be added to the conference’s lineup since it added women’s golf in 1991.

Seven MIAA member schools will sponsor men’s and women’s lacrosse in the 2012–13 season: Adrian, Albion, Alma, Calvin, Hope, Olivet and Trine. With the minimum of seven participating conference schools, the MIAA will receive an automatic qualification to NCAA Division III postseason competition.

“Lacrosse is an emerging sport, and we are looking forward to the impact that the sport will have in the Calvin College community,” said Jim Timmer, Calvin men’s athletic director. “In addition to our league, several of the colleges outside the MIAA in west Michigan are now sponsoring the sport, so it will be exciting to share in the growth of lacrosse locally.”