KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced that the 2016 and 2017 NAIA Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse National Invitationals will be hosted by VisitGreenvilleSC in Greenville, S.C. The events will be played at Sirrine Stadium with the 2016 invitational taking place May 4 – 7. The 2017 event is slated for May 3 – 6.
Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse are currently in year one of a two-year process towards becoming an NAIA National Championship sport. Specific benchmarks developed by the NAIA’s National Administrative Council, which is represented by member athletic administrators, will help guide the sports through the protocol, cumulating in championship status as early as the 2018 season.
“We are looking forward to opening a new chapter in NAIA history with the sport of lacrosse and the partnership with Greenville,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “We’re confident that with the community’s track record of supporting local sporting events that our student-athletes, coaches and fans will get a first-class experience.”
Sirrine Stadium has a long and established history in the Greenville community. The venue was a joint project between the city of Greenville and Furman University in the mid-1930’s. Sirrine Stadium saw its first official game played on Oct. 31, 1936, as the Furman football team defeated then-Davidson College (S.C.).
The stadium, which recently underwent renovations to the stadium entrance and press box, is now the home of the Greenville Senior High School Red Raiders. The venue regularly hosts football, soccer and lacrosse events. It now has a capacity of 15,000.
VisitGreenvilleSC is a non-profit, economic development organization that is responsible for promoting the greater Greenville area as an attractive destination for meetings, conventions, tradeshows, sporting events, and leisure travelers. As the official sales and marketing organization of the City and County of Greenville, the goal of VisitGreenvilleSC is to increase visitor-generated revenue from local, regional and national markets, thereby strengthening Greenville’s economy.
“Greenville’s excited to host the NAIA’s Lacrosse Championships,” Chris Stone, President of VisitGreenvilleSC, commented. “Our community has a strong track record of sports event successes, including Lacrosse. Teams and attendees will find Greenville a delightful surprise!”
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the NAIA and to host their Inaugural Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse National Invitationals,” said Robin Wright, VisitGreenvilleSC Senior Sales Manager. “As Lacrosse is a growing sport in the Southeast, Greenville has a vibrant, passionate lacrosse community that is eager to step up to assist to make sure this is hugely successful.”
There are 27 men’s lacrosse and 30 women’s lacrosse programs that compete in the NAIA. The 2016 invitational format for both men and women is an eight-team, single-elimination event. Four automatic berths will be given to the affiliated conferences/groups, while the four remaining spots are for at-large teams, determined by the final Coaches’ Poll on April 24.
Since 1937, the NAIA has administered programs and championships in proper balance with the overall educational experience. In 2000, the NAIA reaffirmed its purpose to enhance the character-building aspects of the sport. Through the Champions of Character program, the NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
To learn more about NAIA lacrosse, click here.
To learn more about VisitGreenvilleSC, click here.