College lacrosse refers to lacrosse played by student athletes at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. In both countries, men's field lacrosse and women's lacrosse are played in both the varsity and club levels. College lacrosse in Canada is sponsored by the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association (CUFLA) and Maritime University Field Lacrosse League (MUFLL), while in the United States, varsity men's and women's lacrosse is sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
In the U.S., as of the 2011–12 academic year, there were 61 NCAA-sanctioned Division I men's lacrosse teams, 46 Division II men's lacrosse teams and 189 Division III men's lacrosse teams, as well as 92 Division I women's lacrosse teams, 67 Division II women's lacrosse teams, and 216 Division III women's lacrosse teams. There were also 28 men's programs and 17 women's programs at two-year community colleges organized by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and a growing number of National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) four-year small college programs.
As of 2011–12, there were 213 collegiate men's club teams competing through the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA), including most major universities in the United States without NCAA Men's programs, organized into two divisions and ten conferences. Schools that feature a NCAA Division I athletic program typically play in Division 1, where schools who have NCAA Division II, Division III, or NAIA distinction play in Division 2 of the MCLA. The MCLA is structured to give the high number of lacrosse players playing at the high school level, an outlet to play competitive collegiate lacrosse regardless of their location. High caliber programs competing in the MCLA often operate as "virtual varsity" teams, often competing against NCAA Division II and III teams. The MCLA currently holds its national championship tournament at Dick's Sporting Goods Park located in the Denver suburb of Commerce City, Colorado. This tournament is a 16-team tournament for both Division I and Division II programs and features a live broadcast of semi-final and championship contests.
In 2011–12, there were another 127 schools with men's club teams in the National College Lacrosse League (NCLL), again, often at schools with existing NCAA programs. As of 2011–12, there were also 266 collegiate club teams for women organized by the Women's Collegiate Lacrosse Associates (WCLA).