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Friday, April 12, 2024
<p>Florida secured a first-round victory over the Mercer Bears Friday. Photo from UF-Cincinnati game March 26.</p>

Florida secured a first-round victory over the Mercer Bears Friday. Photo from UF-Cincinnati game March 26.

The Florida lacrosse team announced it is moving to the Big 12 Conference in 2025. The Gators have been playing in the American Athletic Conference since 2019 and have won the conference three times. They have won the conference tournament four times.

“The American was a great conference, we had great success in that conference,” head coach Amanda O’Leary said. “But I think the Big 12 gives us the opportunity to expand our out of conference game schedule.”

The conference change will allow the Gators to play 12 out-of-conference games.

O’Leary thinks that moving to the Big 12 will benefit Florida recruiting and gives the opportunity of conference expansion.

“The opportunity to play in California, the opportunity to play in Colorado, they’re hotbeds of women’s lacrosse right now,” O’Leary said. “The exposure for us to be able to get out there and play conference games allows young potential student athletes to come watch us.”

Along with UF, the University of California Davis, San Diego State, Cincinnati, Colorado and Arizona State will compete in the Big 12 next season.

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The Big 12 guaranteed the Gators won’t have to travel to the West Coast more than twice a year.

This will be the first year of Big 12 women’s lacrosse. In the regular season, teams will play five games in a single round-robin format, with the top four teams in the conference advancing to the Big 12 Championship.

Before joining the AAC in 2019, the Gators were in the Big East and the American Lacrosse Conference. Overall, they have a 77-7 record in conference play, and the program has recorded a 25-1 record in six years of conference play in the AAC.

The conference change has been in the works for around a year, according to O’Leary.

“[The Big 12] is a major conference and has great name recognition,” she said.

Florida will play its next game on Saturday against the University of Maryland at noon.

Contact Lacey Rogers at Follow her on X @laceyyrog.

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Lacey Rogers

Lacey Rogers is a third-year journalism major and sports reporter for The Alligator. She is a huge Washington Capitals fan and hopes to work for them after she finishes school.

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