JMU lacrosse announced it joined the AAC Friday beginning July 1, 2022.

JMU women’s lacrosse will join the American Athletic Conference (AAC) as an affiliate member, AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco and JMU Athletics announced Friday morning. 

The Dukes will officially be in the AAC beginning July 1 — after the 2022 season concludes. Lacrosse is the first JMU athletic program not sponsored by the Sun Belt to find a conference. 

The AAC now consists of seven women’s lacrosse programs. Temple, East Carolina, Cincinnati are full members, while JMU, Florida, Vanderbilt and Old Dominion are affiliate members, meaning only one athletic program, women’s lacrosse, is in the conference. South Florida women’s lacrosse will join the AAC in 2024 as a full member. 

The conference has sponsored Division I women’s lacrosse since 2019; last year, half of the conference — Florida, Vanderbilt and Temple — qualified for the 29-team NCAA tournament. 

JMU leaves the CAA four years after a national championship and coming off a conference crown last spring. The Dukes will still face CAA opponents this season. 

“Alignment with like-minded universities becomes paramount for the future of our program,” JMU lacrosse head coach Shelley Klaes told JMU Athletics. “The conference’s relationship with ESPN will add momentum to our championship journey and allow our team to showcase our talent to JMU Nation and beyond.”

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