Johns Hopkins athletic director Bob Scott is convinced that the Blue Jays will be able to remain in Division I in lacrosse, even though the rest of the program competes in Division III.
Proposal 51, to be considered at the 84th annual NCAA convention in Nashville, Tenn., next week, would prohibit Division II or III members from running a Division I program in a selected sport, unless they receive majority approval from the other Division I members who play that sport.
"I've tested the waters, and I think we'll have the support we need if the proposal is enacted," Scott said. "The feeling I get is that the schools we compete against want us to remain in Division I lacrosse, and that support has a pretty broad base."
Locally, administrators at Towson State and UMBC have said their lacrosse coaches want Johns Hopkins to remain in Division I. Last season the Blue Jays played three members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, including Maryland. They also have played members of the Ivy League.
The Blue Jays have been one of the best regular-season attractions when they have played at the Carrier Dome, home of Syracuse, the three-time NCAA champion.
Since the inception of the Division I lacrosse tournament in 1971, Johns Hopkins has played in 14 of the 20 NCAA championship games, claiming seven titles. The rest of its teams play in Division III, where no scholarships are allowed.
Proposal 51 is part of a reform package aimed at having members play all their sports in one division. If passed, a steering committee would canvass the Division I members in a particular sport to see if they favor multi-divisional status for the member in question. It would go into effect Sept. 1, and approval would last five years.
The closest parallels to Johns Hopkins' situation are Hartwick soccer and several small colleges in New York and New England that are Division I ice hockey powers.
Another issue that affects Hopkins and the state's seven other Division III colleges is Proposal 62, which would allow the non-scholarship programs to adopt playing rules different from those used in the other two divisions.
"We are supposed to have two 25-second clocks for football, and not everyone in Division III has that kind of money," said Scott.