After 130 years as an independent program – think the Notre Dame of lacrosse – multiple sources have told Inside Lacrosse that Johns Hopkins plans to announce their intentions Monday of joining the Big Ten as a lacrosse only program in 2015. The move has been speculated for the better part of the last month, particularly in lieu of news that the Big Ten would be forming a women's lacrosse league (of which Ohio State will be a member). It's expected that both Hopkins' mens and women's lacrosse teams will make the move to the Big Ten.
With the addition of Maryland, a perennial lacrosse power, and Rutgers, the Big Ten would, with Hopkins, field the mandatory minimum six teams necessary to earn an automatic qualifier bid to the NCAA Tournament. Penn State and Michigan also field lacrosse teams along with the Buckeyes. This move comes on the heels of Denver announcing a move to the new Big East for lacrosse last Wednesday.
With Hopkins, Maryland, and Penn State, a Big Ten lacrosse league would have instant credibility. Given the Buckeyes' run to the sport's quarterfinals this past fall, it's likely they wouldn't be too far behind from a competitive boost sense. The Big Ten would also net an academic benefit to adding Hopkins to the fold, with the assumption being they'd join the league's Committee on Institutional Cooperation, which includes all 14 members and the University of Chicago. This arrangement allows all member institutions to pool library resources which can even in the digital age can be massively beneficial to academic research.
From a strictly lacrosse vantage, what is there to say about Hopkins? The team's won 44 national championships, including nine NCAA titles (2007 and 2005 most recently). Though the Blue Jays had a rare down year this past season (causing an end to their 41 year NCAA tournament streak), alum Dave Pietramala runs an elite caliber program routinely at the top of the sport. The Buckeyes presently play in the Eastern College Athletic Conference which includes the Air Force Academy, Bellarmine, Fairfield, Hobart, and Michigan. You don't have to be a student of lacrosse to know what an upgrade the proposed new Big Ten would be.