Tarleton State to join FCS as independent for 2020 football season

By Brian Wilmer -

Tarleton State will move to Division I and join the FCS as an independent program, beginning with the 2020 football season, it was reported Monday night. Cory Hogue of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football was the first to report the story.

The Texans are based in Stephenville, Texas, which is roughly 80 miles southwest of Fort Worth. The school’s other revenue-producing sports will join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), a plan similar to that of soon-to-be-fellow FCS independent Dixie State, along with FBS independent New Mexico State.

“This is an exciting time for Tarleton as we look to enhance our institutional profile as an NCAA Division I university,” said Tarleton State University President Dr. James Hurley in  a release late Monday night. “I would like to thank Commissioner Jeff Hurd, the WAC Presidents and everyone involved at today’s meeting for their hospitality. Today was an important milestone in our quest to show the country that Tarleton is next level ready.”

Tarleton advanced to the third round of the 2018 Division II championship, where it fell, 13-10, to Minnesota State. The Texans are 4-0 this season, including a 37-26, season-opening win at FCS opponent Stephen F. Austin. Tarleton currently plays in the Lone Star Conference of Division II.

No future scheduled opponents have been released for Tarleton State at this time.

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Comments (6)

Wow, my mom taught there… a few towns over from where I went to HS. I know that their sports are are very competitive, but this seems like it will be a big jump up for the non-football sports? Even if the WAC isn’t quite what it used to be.

I would have guessed they’d join the Southland conference in all sports given that Southland is all Texas, Louisiana, and 1 Arkansas schools…? Also, unless I’m misunderstanding, it appears that the Southland has 11 football schools and 13 in several other sports. I know scheduling may work differently in FCS than FBS, but wouldn’t it make sense to add someone and get to 12 and 14 respectively? And Abilene Christian who is in the Southland used to be in Tarleton’s current conference and was sort of s rival.

I wonder what the story is there…

The big thing is that The WAC are losing two members after this season. Cal State Bakersfield is leaving for the Big West and UMKC is leaving to go back to the Summit. This lead the WAC to have to expand, where they got Dixie State in Saint George, Utah back in February, but still needed one more member to regain the amount of teams they had this year. That is why Tarleton State is moving to the WAC.