The Lamar Cardinals will rejoin the Southland Conference in 2022, one year earlier than previously announced.
Lamar, which departed the Southland Conference for the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) last season, played only one season in the WAC before announcing a return to the Southland Conference in 2023.
However, Lamar has now decided to up that timetable by a year and will rejoin the Southland Conference effective immediately.
“We are very excited to take advantage of this opportunity to make the move to the Southland Conference for the 2022-23 season for all sports,” Lamar Director of Athletics Jeff O’Malley said. “This is the best fit for the future of Lamar University Athletics, our fans and our student-athletes. I would like to thank Commissioner Grant and the leadership of the conference for working with us and providing a chance to join the league immediately.”
O’Malley joined Lamar University as the new Director of Athletics on July 1, 2022.
“We are fired up at the enthusiasm Lamar University is showing in their accelerated return to competition in the Southland,” said Southland Conference Commissioner Chris Grant. “It’s another sign of the impact of our conference’s focus on the student-athlete experience and our truly collaborative approach to leadership that recognizes the unique value of each school. Welcome back, Big Red!”
The Cardinals turned in a 2-9 campaign in their initial WAC season, falling in all seven league contests. Lamar’s lone Division 1 win came in a 17-10, overtime result at Northern Colorado. WAC opponents turned in an average margin of victory of 32.6 points per game against the Cardinals in 2021.
Last November, the UIW Cardinals accepted an invitation to the WAC, but then opted to remain in the Southland Conference with an announcement last month.
As a result of those moves, the Southland Conference will have eight football-playing members in 2022. Lamar and UIW will join Houston Baptist, McNeese, Nicholls, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana, and Texas A&M-Commerce.
The Southland Conference, as well as the WAC and likely the ASUN, will now have to issue revised 2022 football schedules following the UIW and Lamar announcements.