Today the Big East announced that Florida and Vanderbilt will join the Big East for women's lacrosse beginning with the 2015 season.
It's a move that makes perfect sense for both the traditional SEC teams and the Big East. The Gators and the Commodores have been playing lacrosse in the American Lacrosse Conference. The other members of the ALC are Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Northwestern, and Johns Hopkins. You might recognize four of those schools as Big Ten schools, and that conference will start sponsoring women's lacrosse with the 2015 season. That leaves Florida, Vanderbilt, and Johns Hopkins without a conference next season. On the Big East's end, Louisville will depart for the ACC in 2015, while Rutgers moves to the Big Ten. Bringing in Florida and Vanderbilt replaces the departing schools to keep the conference's ledger at eight teams, with Marquette, Georgetown, and Villanova as the only full time members of the Big East holding down the fort with five affillate members.
From a Marquette oriented perspective, this stacks the deck a little bit in league play. Florida has only been playing women's lacrosse for five seasons, but they've made the last four NCAA tournaments and won the ALC regular season and tournament championships in 2014, not to mention finishing third in the final Brine Media Top 20 poll. Vanderbilt has a much longer history of women's lacrosse with 17 seasons under their belts. They've seen six NCAA tournaments, with the last appearance coming in 2010, but they're coming off of a 5-12 season in 2014.
Marquette enters their third season in Division 1 in 2015, and their second season as a member of the Big East.