Campbell announced it will sponsor women’s lacrosse beginning in 2012-13.

Women’s lacrosse will be Campbell’s 21st varsity sport. Campbell will be the sixth Big South Conference member to field the sport for the 2013 season, joining current members High Point, Liberty and Presbyterian, plus Coastal Carolina and Winthrop – both of which have announced 2013 starting dates.

“This is another opportunity for Campbell to reach out and to recruit more outstanding young women to the university,” said Dennis Bazemore, interim director of athletics and vice president for student life.

The school plans to hire a head coach by Sept. 1 to begin the recruiting process and prepare for the program’s initial varsity season.

Currently, 91 NCAA Division I schools field women’s lacrosse teams, including four in North Carolina – Davidson, Duke, High Point and North Carolina. Six North Carolina schools also participate at the Division II level – Belmont Abbey, Lees-McRae, Lenoir-Rhyne, Pfeiffer, Queens (North Carolina) and St. Andrews. In addition, 16 Division I members in South Carolina, Virginia and the District of Columbia will have women’s lacrosse programs in 2013.

Sixty-three high schools in the state sponsor the sport, including 14 in neighboring Wake County.

Four full members must sponsor a sport for the Big South Conference to hold a championship in that sport. Six teams are required for the Conference to be eligible for an automatic qualifier to the NCAA Championships. The Big South does not currently sponsor women’s lacrosse.

Campbell will re-join the Big South as a full member on July 1 after its 17-year tenure in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Campbell was a charter member of the Big South from 1983 to 1994 before joining the Atlantic Sun.