The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced two of its sports have achieved a new status at the conclusion of the NAIA National Administrative Council (NAC) virtual meetings, held this week. On Thursday, the association announced that women’s lacrosse will become the 27th championship sport while beach volleyball will move from ‘emerging’ to ‘invitational’ status immediately for the 2020-21 season.

Women’s lacrosse has been one of the fastest growing sports in the NAIA over the course of the last three years. Now, as the numbers of institutions that sponsor the sport as a varsity program has eclipsed the necessary 40 mark, the NAC has voted to grant it full championship status.

“Women’s lacrosse has experienced rapid growth since becoming an NAIA-sponsored sport in 2015-16,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “It’s exciting to witness the program coming full circle and we look forward to crowning the first NAIA lacrosse national champion in the spring.”

The first NAIA Women’s Lacrosse National Champion is slated to be crowned on May 8, 2021 at Memorial Stadium in Savannah, Ga.