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Akron to reintroduce baseball, add women’s lacrosse in 2019

The announcement, made Tuesday afternoon, will increase Akron’s number of varsity sports to 19.

Ahart attempts to steal second base. (Jeff Harwell-Akron Athletics)

What was once old is new again.

The University of Akron athletic department announced Tuesday afternoon it will bring back baseball —previously disbanded in 2016— for the 2019-2020 academic year. season. Women’s lacrosse will also be added in the same time period.

The baseball team would rejoin the Mid-American Conference and play its home conference and non-conference games at Canal Park. The university is currently considering options for conference affiliation in women’s lacrosse, but the team is expected to compete at InfoCision Stadium.

There are already two other full-time MAC members in women’s lacrosse in Central Michigan and Kent State. CMU participates in women’s lacrosse with the Atlantic Sun Conference, while Kent State is expected to join the same conference for the same sport in 2019.

The Mid-American Conference does not sponsor women’s lacrosse. The conference does sponsor baseball, but no longer requires it to be part of full conference membership.

"We have heard loud and clear the community's desire to bring baseball back to UA and we have been examining ways to do that in a financially responsible manner,” UNiversity of Akron President Matthew J. Wilson said in a press release. “Prospective students have voiced the same desire. We also want to offer an additional avenue for female student-athletes to simultaneously benefit from a quality education at The University of Akron and on-the-field Division-I competition. After much discussion and planning, we believe that we have identified some creative ways to achieve our objectives while focusing on student-athletes from Ohio. Now, we hope that the community will come forward and assist the University in restoring baseball and adding women's lacrosse

The deal to bring both programs to the university is unique, in that schoalrships wil be provided by “community financial support”, rather than by the university.

The university aims to bring on 35 student-athletes for baseball and 30 for women’s lacrosse and will use a “Ohio-based recruiting strategy” to “open up opportunities for student-athletes within the State of Ohio to compete at the Division I level.”

The university’s board of trustees is set to consider the addition of both sports on Oct. 11.