March 23, 2017
Dear Marietta College Students:

As we continue to look for ways to engage our students at Marietta College, I am pleased to announce that we will begin playing intercollegiate, varsity lacrosse for men and women during the 2018-19 academic year.

This decision has been under consideration for quite some time and was not made lightly. But there are some clear indicators as to why we should do this now.

First, the return on the investment will be relatively quick. Our Vice President for Finance and Administration Michele Marra, Director of Physical Plant Fred Smith and Director of Athletics Larry Hiser have put together a thorough budget based on conservative, yet obtainable enrollment projections that were benchmarked against the Ohio Athletic Conference. With recruiting to begin in June, we plan to enroll 20 men and 15 women in the fall of 2018. These will be prospects who more than likely would not have attended Marietta College without the recruitment efforts of our coaches. By the fall of 2019, with rosters of 35 and 22, we should begin to see net tuition revenue from this group of students. 

Second, the initial investment in the start-up costs (salaries, benefits, equipment and capital repairs and purchases) will be covered during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 budgets. Also, several alumni are excited about the return of lacrosse and have expressed a willingness to help fund its start up. I am also asking our Advancement Office team to follow up with those individuals, as well as seek out others who might have an interest in investing in our lacrosse programs. To the extent possible, we will offset initial lacrosse costs with donor contributions.

When our teams hit the field in 2019, we will be the 10th and final Ohio Athletic Conference institution to play lacrosse and we plan to be competitive in a short amount of time. More than 200,000 young men and women are playing high school lacrosse in 23 states — many states where we wish to re-establish a foothold are the hotbeds of lacrosse (Maryland, Virginia, Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts). 

Larry Hiser and his staff will be searching hard to find great coaches and recruiters who will work relentlessly to create a program of excellence in all phases of college life for these future Pioneers.

Bill Ruud