National Lacrosse Participation Tops 800,000
By Brian Logue
SPARKS, Md. — National lacrosse participation topped 800,000 active players for the first time since US Lacrosse began monitoring participation levels in 2001. For the year, total participation grew 2.2 percent to a total of 802,044 players competing on organized teams.
Youth lacrosse continues to be the largest segment of play in the country with nearly 450,000 players under the age of 15. For the second consecutive year there were 14 states with at least 10,000 players, led by New York with 56,335 players.
At the high school level, lacrosse remains the fastest-growing team sport according to date from the National Federation of State High School Associations. Over the five-year period from 2010-2015, the number of schools with boys’ lacrosse rose 29.5 percent and the number of girls’ programs grew 29.8 percent. Indoor track was the only other sport with a double-digit percentage increase in new teams.
The growth rates were even higher at the NCAA level. From 2010 to 2015, the number of new men’s programs grew 33.6 percent and the number of new women’s programs grew 36.6 percent.
There were also several milestone moments in 2015 that highlighted the growth of the sport:
• Ohio became the 20th state to have its high school association to adopt lacrosse as a full championship sport. Ohio will host its first state-sanctioned championships in 2017. (Note: Illinois recently did the same will be the 21st state when it holds its first championship in 2018).
• Arizona State University announced the addition of women’s lacrosse as a varsity sport, and as a result the Pac-12 will become the third Power Five conference (joining the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big Ten) to sponsor lacrosse as a championship sport.
• The University of Denver won the NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse title, becoming the first school west of the Mississippi River to win the national championship at that level.
• The creation of the United Women’s Lacrosse League (UWLX), the first women’s professional lacrosse league, was announced.