The Lamar Cardinals will rejoin the Southland Conference beginning on July 1, 2023, it was announced Friday.
The school returns to its long-time home after a brief dalliance with the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). The American Press reported the framework of the story Thursday afternoon, with CBS affiliate KFDM in Beaumont and its sports director, Mike Friedman, confirming the story late Thursday.
“The Cardinals were with us when our conference was born nearly sixty years ago, and we are delighted to welcome them back,” said Southland Conference Commissioner Chris Grant. “The Southland Conference is committed to redefining the future of FCS and the student-athlete experience.”
“We are grateful for our time in the WAC, but we are thrilled for our return to the Southland Conference fueled by the league’s combination of dynamic leadership, membership stability, regional rivalries, and vision for the future,” said Lamar University President Jaime Taylor.
“Sports have the unique power to unite and energize a campus and community. Since taking office in June, I’ve heard from LU’s extended family, who asked us to reexamine our conference affiliation,” Taylor added. “Commissioner Grant’s invitation to return to the Southland has come at a time of transformation at Lamar University, and we’re certainly happy to be coming home.”
The WAC released a statement shortly after Lamar’s announcement.
“The Western Athletic Conference has a long history of success and we will continue to assess the ever changing landscape and make decisions that give our membership the best opportunity to compete for championships and provide a high level student athlete experience,” said WAC Commissioner Brian Thornton. “Our institutions are unified in their commitment to the WAC remaining one of the premier mid-major conferences in the country.”
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.
Future Lamar Football Schedules
In other words, Lamar just couldn’t compete in the WAC……not only did they suck at football but their hoops team went 2-27 as well, they aren’t ready for the FCS level. The WAC will be stronger without Lamar.
Sure seems that way!! :-)
Sucks for Stephen F. Austin, as 2 of their major rivals (Sam Houston, and now Lamar) will leave the WAC in July 2023
Also I wonder if this will mark the return of the WAC/A-Sun football alliance, as the WAC will only have 6, and the A-Sun only 5 football members.
It’s a good idea to facilitate regular Season cross Conference Competition. First, encouraging the Unis to pursue their interconference Scheduling Themselves, then as a Conference facilitating individual Game Scheduling.
In the latest NCAA Division 1 Manual, effective 2021-2022, I looked up the Section on how many Schools, in 1AA (fcs) Specifically FB, were required to play in Conference to receive an automatic bid to the post season 24 Team Playoff. 1AA(fcs) FB was not singled out as requiring more or less than 6 Teams playing that Sport in Conference.
NCAA Division 1 Manual Effective 1. August 2021:
Section 18.5 Automatic Qualification by Conference
18.5.1 Division 1 Championship
Subsections (a) (b) Bylaw 31.3.4
After writing all this, I realized You are probably focusing on the ASUN & BigSouth Conferences, not on the WAC, OVC, MEAC which are @ 8, 6, 6 FB Members in 2022. Unless more Conference switching occurs next Winter, Spring (WHO KNOWS?) each would have the minimum 6 FB Teams in 2023.
The WAC, for whatever Reasons, ( I don’t know them) was annihilated from 1A (fbs) FB by the two faced behavior of Texas State U. Bobcats & U.Texas SA Roadrunners who moved up to the WAC 1A (fbs) from having No FB or Division 2 FB. Then, abandoning the WAC after only 2-3 Seasons for the SunBelt C. & C-USA. The MWC took the opportunity following the SBC & CUSA Leadership to take the better 4 Unis of the remaining 6 in the WAC (Fresno SU., U.Nevada, UtahSU., SJoseSU) disqualifying the WAC as a 1A(fbs) Conf. & consigning NMSUAggies to Independent Purgatory & U.Idaho to Purgatory or a 1AA (fcs) State.
Did Lamar State University do it’s Research, study out their path forward when they selected to transition to the Western Athletic Conference?
It doesn’t appear so…
The Weakness of the 2 least prestigious 1A Conferences: The Sunbelt Conference raiding Conference USA all with not even a Year of Notice before litigating to get out of current Conference Affiliations are the Icebergs around the Ships of 1A (fbs) Football & around almost every 1AA (fcs) Conference out there.
The CAA & ASUN combined decimated the BigSouth, taking 3-4-5? of their Core Teams away from them in less than 12 Months ( I cannot remember all the Teams who have left the BigSouth! ).
The BigSouth convinces Bryant University to leave the NEC with Months notice…
The Southland Conference doesn’t have a consistent FB Power among it’s 6 legacy Members + 1 unproven Newbie.
Maybe Lamar State U. can build a consistent Presence in the East Texas & Louisiana footprint of it’s Conference…
At least Lamar State U Cardinals gave the WAC a Year’s Notice. That bodes well…