Contrary to recent developments within the Big Ten Conference, there are no plans at the University of Wisconsin to add any sports.

On the heels of adding Maryland and Rutgers in 2014, the Big Ten on Monday announced it was sponsoring men’s and women’s lacrosse and bringing Johns Hopkins into the mix as an affiliate member on the men’s side in 2014-15.

With six men’s and six women’s teams, the Big Ten can sponsor a conference championship and qualify for the NCAA tournament.

UW is standing pat.

“We’re very happy with our sport options,” deputy athletic director Sean Frazier said this week of the

23 programs, a manifest that hasn’t been altered in more than a decade. “We’re very comfortable with where we’re at.”

Lacrosse is extremely popular on the East Coast and is growing in stature in Wisconsin, but UW athletic director Barry Alvarez said last month he likes the funding levels for all his current sports — 11 men, 12 women — “because it allows them to compete at a high level nationally.”

UW cut five sports in 1991 — baseball, men’s and women’s fencing and men’s and women’s gymnastics — in order to address a budget deficit in excess of

$2 million.

Three sports were added at UW between 1996 and 2002 — softball, women’s hockey and women’s lightweight rowing — in moves that helped the school satisfy a Title IX complaint filed with the U.S. Office of Civil Rights.

Terry Gawlik, the UW senior associate AD for sports administration, said this week the topic of adding sports doesn’t come up very often.

“The last time, we added one,” she said.

Covers University of Wisconsin hockey and football.

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(2) comments


Lacrosse, both for men and women, would be an excellent addition for the Badgers. It is relatively inexpensive as far as team sports go (far less so than baseball), and as this article notes, growing in popularity. Moreover, it is very strong in the Eastern USA where UW will lose some presence by being put in the West of the Big 10 conference. Additionally, it would be the magic 6th team that means an automatic berth for the Big 10 and qualify for the NCAA. In these troubled financial days, perhaps a major sponsor, donor, alum, needs to step up and give the necessary money to make this happen.


I knew nothing about this sport till my daughter got in the Middleton program this year. Quite a fun and exciting sport (once you understand the rules). Since then I found an adult league in Fitchburg this summer to get into. Hoping more positive news about the WIAA eventually officially sponsoring the sport.

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