ACC Expansion: Maryland To Big Ten Leaves Spot Open In ACC Men's Lacrosse

Winslow Townson

Maryland is off to the Big Ten, leaving the ACC one short of NCAA Tournament automatic-qualifier status. Does this open up the possibility of a school like Boston College, N.C. State or Florida State fielding a varsity men's lacrosse program to even the number of conference programs to an even six?

The ACC thought they had achieved NCAA Tournament automatic-qualifier status in men's lacrosse with the additions of Notre Dame and Syracuse to the league. The Irish and Orange, two perennial powers both set to join the conference as early as next season, swelled the number of ACC men's lacrosse programs to six -- the minimum number of programs needed to receive an auto-bid to the NCAA Tournament.

That was before Maryland decided to up and leave the conference. Maryland's decision to leave the ACC for the Big Ten leaves the ACC one short of the minimum needed to receive an automatic NCAA berth. Louisville, the ACC's newest member, does not sponsor varsity men's lacrosse.

Sure, the NCAA Tournament automatic-qualifier status is more or less a formality for the ACC's five programs as Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Syracuse and Notre Dame all typically find their way into the NCAA Tournament every year anyway. Though a conference of five members is much more unwieldy than, say, a conference of six, where the conference champ receives an auto-bid to the NCAA Tournament.

To be clear: conference expansion and realignment has nothing to do with lax bros. But Maryland's defection from the ACC does creat an opportunity for a school like Florida State, N.C. State or Boston College to round out the number of varsity men's programs in the conference to an even six. We all know former Boston College A.D. Gene DeFilippo's stance on the issue of men's varsity lacrosse, but perhaps the school has found a more receptive administrator to the idea in Brad Bates.

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