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The Dolphins Go Swimming: Le Moyne Jumps to Division 1 Lacrosse

In huge but not surprising news, Le Moyne College announced that they would be making the jump from Division 2 and the Northeast-10 Conference to Division 1 and the Northeast Conference (NEC) effective July 1st, 2023. Both Le Moyne’s Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse programs are more than ready to compete at a Division 1 level. Starting this summer, Le Moyne will formally begin its reclassification process to become a Division 1 institution. Rumors have been swirling since last summer about an eventual move, but it was made official by Le Moyne officials today. “The move to Division 1 and the Northeast Conference is a milestone event for Le Moyne College,” Le Moyne president Linda LeMura said. “Since the college’s founding in 1946, athletics has been a vital component of our Jesuit ideal of cura personalis — care for the mind, body and soul. By making this move, we are building on a strong foundation of excellence that has been a hallmark of our student-athletes and our programs.”

Starting in the fall of 2023, student-athletes will begin competition in the Northeast Conference but will be ineligible for any post-season play. Starting with the 2025-2026 school year, all Le Moyne athletic programs will be eligible to compete in the NEC postseason but will remain ineligible for NCAA competition until the 2027-28 academic year. This is due to the four-year reclassification period for schools transitioning to Division 1. Three other lacrosse institutions, Merrimack, Queens, and Lindenwood, are currently going through that process themselves. 

“On behalf of the Northeast Conference Council of Presidents, we are thrilled to welcome Le Moyne College to the NEC family,” NEC commissioner Noreen Morris said. “During our membership evaluation process, it became abundantly clear there was tremendous mission alignment between the NEC and Le Moyne from an academic, athletic and community perspective. I would like to thank President Linda LeMura, Board Chair Pete DiLaura and Athletic Director Bob Beretta for their leadership through this process. Due to their significant planning and preparation, it’s evident the Dolphins are poised to make the jump to Division I. We look forward to kicking off our relationship this fall.”

Division 1 adds two highly successful programs that have both won National Championships at the Division 2 level and are currently hunting for the national championship this year. On the men’s side, the lacrosse team is ranked No.1 nationally and is the odds favorite for the NCAA National Championship. The women’s team is currently ranked fifth in the country and is in the 12-team field for this year’s NCAA Tournament.

An interesting tidbit is that this isn’t the first time the women’s team has participated at the Division 1 level. From 1994-2008 the women’s team won multiple MAAC Championships before transitioning to the NE-10 to join the rest of the institution’s teams.

While Division 1 grows, Division 2 is dealt another blow as we see another highly successful school leave for bigger opportunities in Division 1. With Le Moyne joining Merrimack, Queens, and Lindenwood, four highly ranked men’s and women’s lacrosse teams will no longer be in the mix. Will this be a continuing trend? Possibly. Rumors have been swirling about other institutions making the jump, but only time will tell. Division 2 has seen phenomenal growth in the past 15 years, and with Le Moyne transitioning out, there is no doubt that you will see more teams in the mix to win their first national championship. We are looking forward to see Le Moyne bring their lacrosse pedigree over to the Division 1 level.