Johns Hopkins University will formally explore conference affiliation for its men's lacrosse program, President Ronald J. Daniels announced last month in an email to members of the university community.
Although JHU has competed as an independent with no conference or league affiliation for the entire 130-year history of its men's lacrosse program, the changing landscape of the sport has prompted the university to consider its options, Daniels said.
"Some traditional foes have recently announced changes in their own affiliations, changes that might limit their flexibility to continue scheduling games with us," Daniels wrote. "At the same time, growth of the sport at the Division I level has resulted in the formation of more leagues with automatic qualification for the NCAA tournament, potentially limiting post-season opportunities for at-large qualifiers."
Daniels said that Johns Hopkins has not received any formal invitations to join a conference but has been approached by more than one seeking to gauge JHU's interest in becoming an associate member.
He announced that he was forming a special committee to look into conference affiliation options. The committee will work closely with JHU athletics director Tom Calder and men's lacrosse coach Dave Pietramala, and will submit its findings and recommendations to Daniels by May 15.
"We have made no commitments," he wrote. "We have made no decisions. We have concluded only that it is time to consider this question in the Johns Hopkins way: with care, deliberation, and transparency."
Johns Hopkins first fielded a men's lacrosse team in 1883, seven years after the founding of the university. The Blue Jays have won 44 national titles, including nine since men's lacrosse became a sanctioned NCAA sport, and have participated in 41 consecutive NCAA tournaments, a streak that began in 1972.
There are currently 63 Division I men's lacrosse programs, four of which compete as independents: Johns Hopkins, High Point, Marquette, and Mercer. The remaining 59 teams belong to one of nine conferences.
Among the committee's tasks will be to seek the views of members of the university community, both on campus and among alumni and friends. A website for sharing thoughts has been created at http://web.jhu.edu/administration/president/lacrosse_committee.
Members of the committee are Jerry Schnydman (co-chair), A&S '67, former executive assistant to the president and secretary to the board of trustees; Chris Watson (co-chair), trader at SAC Capital Advisors, member of the executive committee of the Blue Jays Unlimited board of advisers; Chuck Clarvit, A&S '78, CEO of Vinci Partners, member of the board of trustees; David Cordish, A&S '60, MLA '69, chairman and CEO, Cordish Enterprises LP; Tristan Davies, A&S '87 (MA), senior lecturer in the Writing Seminars, faculty athletics representative; Mary Ann McGuire Dickson, A&S '97, director of Global Banking and Markets, Client Prioritization Americas, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and former president of Blue Jays Unlimited; and Alan Fish, vice president for real estate and campus services.