The Villanova men's lacrosse team will become a charter member when the Big East begins a lacrosse league in spring 2010.

The Wildcats will join national champion Syracuse, Rutgers, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Providence and St. John's in the new league. Each team will play each other once.

The conference's 16 athletic directors approved the league during recent meetings. The conference will apply for an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Villanova has competed in the Colonial Athletic Association since 2002. The Wildcats began varsity play in 1981 after competing as a club sport from 1961 to '80.

"We are very excited about the formation of the men's lacrosse league," Villanova coach Mike Corrado said. "This is a great step for the future of our program and for the college lacrosse world."

Villanova women's lacrosse also will join the Big East in 2010. The Wildcats' program began in 1990 and played as a Division I independent the past two seasons.

"We are looking forward to formally joining one of the elite conferences in the country," coach Jebb Chagan said. "The opportunities and challenges that the Big East Conference will provide are both exciting and ambitious." *