Since 1952, lacrosse has provided Hollins student-athletes the chance to actively participate and compete in collegiate sports. However, in recent years, as opportunities for student-athletes at Hollins and at other small colleges have evolved, interest in the lacrosse program at Hollins has diminished.
Hollins has worked diligently over many years to build rosters and strengthen the program’s competitiveness. Nevertheless, the university has struggled to maintain a sufficient roster size in support of competitive play. Playing shorthanded on a regular basis puts our student-athletes at great risk both physically and mentally.
Thus, after careful consideration, Hollins University has made the difficult decision to discontinue its lacrosse program effective at the end of the current academic year.
Evaluation of the lacrosse program has been ongoing since 2009. In 2016, after years of struggling to carry a full roster, Hollins Lacrosse paused its Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) play. In 2018, Hollins received a waiver to be exempt from in-conference play and was granted an extension to the waiver in 2022.
“The lacrosse program has long struggled to reach a roster size that would allow us to sufficiently compete and to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes,” said Hollins Director of Athletics Chris Kilcoyne.
On an ongoing basis, Hollins reviews and invests in athletics with a goal of building a sustainable path forward for all sports and enhancing the student-athlete experience.
In addition to reallocating lacrosse resources to other athletic programs, current facility projects, including an outdoor track and field facility, improvements and additions to the riding center, and construction of new spaces for athletic training and strength and conditioning in the athletic center, all reflect the university’s commitment to growing the overall athletics program, Kilcoyne said.
ODAC Commissioner Brad Bankston stated, “League officials have worked with Hollins’ athletic and senior level administrators since 2016 as they’ve assessed the long-term viability of the lacrosse program. The conference supports this decision.”
“This is not a decision we made lightly or without significant consideration,” said Ashley Browning, vice president for enrollment management at Hollins. “We are grateful for the many contributions the lacrosse program and its players have made to Hollins over the years and feel confident that reinvesting resources within the division will help strengthen our collegiate athletic program overall.”
All financial resources currently allocated to lacrosse will be reinvested throughout the athletic program. Hollins administrators are currently exploring options to optimize use of the operational, recruitment, and staffing budgets associated with lacrosse in order to best serve the health and vitality of the remaining athletic programs. Hollins will engage in a limited spring 2023 lacrosse season.
“We expect to be an increasingly competitive ODAC member moving forward,” Kilcoyne said.