Frisco, TX (Sports Network) - The Southland Conference announced Monday that
the University of Incarnate Word has accepted membership, beginning July 31,
The conference also previously extended an offer of membership to Abilene
Christian, which was a charter member of the Southland when it formed in 1963.
Incarnate Word's membership will coincide with the San Antonio-based
institution's four-year transition to NCAA Division I from Division II. The
Cardinals will begin counting as an NCAA Division I team for scheduling
purposes in 2014-15 and will be fully eligible for NCAA championship events in
Incarnate Word will be the Southland's 12th member and participate in all of
the conference's 17 sponsored championships. In men's sports, they are
baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, tennis, and indoor and
outdoor track and field. On the women's side, they are basketball, cross
country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field,
However, UIW's football program won't join Southland play until 2014.
"As many know, the Southland Conference presidents have studied the
possibilities of membership addition, as well as the impacts of Division I
conference realignment, for nearly two years," Southland commissioner Tom
"As is the case with other membership additions, the board has only shown
interest in institutions that clearly bring added value to the league. That
includes strong academic performance, athletic competitiveness and
achievement, excellent playing facilities, geographic fit, media market size
and presence in the market, and strong fan support. UIW is a historic and
accomplished institution, and has the potential and resources to be a
competitively successful member of the Southland Conference and NCAA Division
The Southland schools with football programs are Central Arkansas, Lamar,
McNeese State, Nicholls, Northwestern State, Sam Houston State, Southeastern
Louisiana and Stephen F. Austin.
Current member Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and recent addition Oral Roberts do
not sponsor football. Houston Baptist, which will become a member for the
2013-14 school year, will be adding the sport.
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