The Southland Conference, abbreviated as SLC, is a collegiate athletic conference which operates in the South Central United States (specifically Texas and Louisiana). It participates in the NCAA's Division I for all sports; for football, it participates in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The Southland sponsors 18 sports, 10 for women and eight for men, and is governed by a presidential Board of Directors and an Advisory Council of athletic and academic administrators. Tom Burnett was named the Southland's sixth commissioner on December 23, 2002. From 1996 to 2002, for football only, the Southland Conference was known as the Southland Football League.
|Region||West South Central|
|Former names||Southland Football League (1996–2002, football-only)|
|Commissioner||Tom Burnett (since 2002)|
Founded in 1963, its members were Abilene Christian College (now Abilene Christian University; departed in 1973 for NCAA Division II, but moved to Division I and rejoined the Southland in 2013), Arkansas State College (now Arkansas State University; departed in 1987, now a member of the Sun Belt Conference), Arlington State College (now The University of Texas at Arlington, departed in 2012 now also in the Sun Belt), Lamar State College of Technology (now Lamar University; departed in 1987, but re-joined in 1999), and Trinity University (departed in 1972, now participating in NCAA Division III).
Since its founding, the Southland Conference has been the home for 18 college and university all-sports programs (see membership timeline below). In addition, the conference has also been home to some schools for one sport only. In the case of football, Troy University fielded a team from 1996 to 2000 and Jacksonville State University did so from 1997 to 2002. This has also been the case for some Olympic sports like men's tennis, in which the University of Texas–Pan American (UTPA) and the University of New Orleans (UNO) fielded teams as affiliate members before 2013, when UTPA joined the WAC and UNO became a full Southland member.
The Southland underwent major turmoil in 2021, losing five members. On January 14, the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) announced that four Southland members—Abilene Christian, Lamar, Sam Houston, and Stephen F. Austin—would join that conference in July 2022. Within a week, the Southland expelled those four schools, leading the WAC to move their entry up to July 2021. A fifth member, Central Arkansas, announced on January 29 that it would join the ASUN Conference effective that July. At the time, the ASUN was a non-football conference, but soon entered into a football partnership with the WAC that gave Central Arkansas and two other incoming ASUN members a football home until an ASUN football league was established.
The Southland began the process of rebuilding its core membership in September 2021, announcing that Texas A&M University–Commerce would start a transition from NCAA Division II and join the conference in July 2022. However, shortly after A&M–Commerce was announced as a future member, the SLC experienced further attrition when Incarnate Word announced that it would leave for the WAC after the 2021–22 school year. McNeese was also courted by the WAC, and also flirted with a move to Conference USA, but eventually stayed in the SLC. According to the American Press, the daily newspaper of McNeese's home of Lake Charles, Louisiana, McNeese became "the de facto lead school in the league". It will host the SLC's football media day through at least the 2026 season, as well as the conference tournaments in men's and women's basketball, baseball, and softball through 2026.
|Houston Baptist University||Houston, Texas||1960||2013||Private||4,120||Huskies|
|University of the Incarnate Word||San Antonio, Texas||1881||2013||Private||10,984||Cardinals|
|McNeese State University||Lake Charles, Louisiana||1939||1972||Public||7,648||Cowboys/Cowgirls|
|University of New Orleans||New Orleans, Louisiana||1958||2013||Public||8,151||Privateers|
|Nicholls State University||Thibodaux, Louisiana||1948||1991||Public||6,366||Colonels|
|Northwestern State University||Natchitoches, Louisiana||1884||1987||Public||10,979||Demons/Lady Demons|
|Southeastern Louisiana University||Hammond, Louisiana||1925||1997||Public||14,327||Lions/Lady Lions|
|Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi||Corpus Christi, Texas||1947||2006||Public||11,929||Islanders|
|Texas A&M University–Commerce[a]||Commerce, Texas||1889||2022||Public||12,385||Lions||Lone Star Conference|
(NCAA Division II)
- A&M–Commerce's entry into the Southland Conference is pending NCAA approval of that school's transition from Division II. The school has satisfied one requirement for NCAA approval, namely its Southland Conference invitation.
|Augusta University||Jaguars||Augusta, Georgia||1828||Public||9,274||2021–22||Peach Belt
(NCAA Division II)
|Men's and women's golf|
|Delaware State University||Hornets||Dover, Delaware||1891||Public||5,054||2021–22||MEAC||Women's golf|
|Francis Marion University||Patriots||Florence, South Carolina||1970||Public||4,187||2021–22||Carolinas
(NCAA Division II)
|University of Maryland Eastern Shore||Hawks||Princess Anne, Maryland||1886||Public||2,888||2021–22||MEAC||Women's golf|
School names and nicknames listed here reflect those in use in each institution's final school year of Southland Conference membership.
- Arkansas State changed its nickname to Red Wolves after leaving the Southland Conference.
- Louisiana–Monroe changed its nickname to Warhawks after leaving the Southland Conference.
- Southwestern Louisiana changed its institutional name to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1999, after leaving the Southland Conference. Still later, the school changed its athletic branding to "Louisiana", with no city identifier.
- Texas State dropped the directional identifier (Southwest) from its institutional name in 2013, a year after leaving the Southland Conference.
Former associate membersEdit
|Centenary College of Louisiana||Gentlemen||Shreveport, Louisiana||1825||Private/United Methodist||500||2000–01||2002–03||American Southwest
(NCAA Division III)
|Jacksonville State University||Gamecocks||Jacksonville, Alabama||1883||Public||9,490||1996–97||2002–03||ASUN||football|
|University of Louisiana at Lafayette
(formerly University of Southwestern Louisiana)
|Ragin' Cajuns||Lafayette, Louisiana||1898||Public||16,885||1982–83||1986–87||Sun Belt||women's sports|
|University of New Orleans||Privateers||New Orleans, Louisiana||1958||Public||9,825||2012–13||2012–13||Southland||men's tennis|
|Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi||Islanders||Corpus Christi, Texas||1947||Public||9,600||2003–04||2005–06||Southland||men's tennis|
|University of Texas–Pan American[fa 1]||Broncs[fa 2]||Edinburg, Texas[fa 3]||1927||Public||17,048||2000–01||2012–13||WAC||men's tennis|
(formerly Troy State University)
|Trojans||Troy, Alabama||1887||Public||29,689||1996–97||2000–01||Sun Belt||football|
- Texas–Pan American (UTPA) ceased to exist at the start of the 2015–16 school year, when it merged with the nearby University of Texas at Brownsville to create the new University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).
- Nearly a year before the merger, the University of Texas System announced that UTRGV would directly inherit the UTPA athletic program. The new nickname of Vaqueros was announced in November 2014.
- The UTRGV athletic program continues to be based at the former UTPA main campus in Edinburg.
Full members Full members (non-football) Associate members (football only)
1. - Southwestern Louisiana became the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (Louisiana–Lafayette, now athletically branded as simply Louisiana) in 1999.
2. - Northeast Louisiana became the University of Louisiana at Monroe (Louisiana–Monroe) in 1999.
The Southland Conference sponsors championship competition in eight men's and 10 women's NCAA sanctioned sports. The most recently added sport is beach volleyball, with SLC competition starting in 2019–20.
|Track and Field (Indoor)|
|Track and Field (Outdoor)|
Men's sponsored sports by schoolEdit
|School||Baseball||Basketball||Cross Country||Football||Golf||Tennis||Track & Field
|Track & Field
|Total Southland Sports|
|Texas A&M–Corpus Christi||N||N||6|
Men's varsity sports not sponsored by the Southland Conference which are played by SLC schools:
Women's sponsored sports by schoolEdit
|School||Basketball||Beach Volleyball||Cross Country||Golf||Soccer||Softball||Tennis||Track & Field
|Track & Field
|Volleyball||Total Southland Sports|
|Texas A&M–Corpus Christi||10|
|Maryland Eastern Shore||1|
Women's varsity sports not sponsored by the Southland Conference which are played by SLC schools:
Former and current players from the Southland that would go on to star in the National Football League include Gary Barbaro, Mike Barber, Fred Barnett, Bill Bergey, Derrick Blaylock, Bubby Brister, Ray Brown, Roger Carr, Mark Carrier, Larry Centers, Bruce Collie, Keith Davis, Fred Dean, Jackie Harris, Stan Humphries, Buford Jordan, Wade Key, Josh McCown, Tim McKyer, Jeff Novak, Kavika Pittman, Mike Quinn, Billy Ryckman, Ricky Sanders, Eugene Seale, Rafael Septién, Terrance Shaw, Marcus Spears, Chad Stanley, Pat Tilley, Jeremiah Trotter, Marvin Upshaw, Lardarius Webb and Spergon Wynn. The Southland was instrumental in founding the Independence Bowl, and the Southland champion served as the automatic home team for that bowl from 1976–1980. On May 21, 2014, the Southland Conference approved the use of instant replay at all its home games becoming the first FCS league to fully commit to having all games utilize instant replay.
Among notable NBA stars attending Southland Conference schools include Karl Malone (Louisiana Tech), Joe Dumars (McNeese State), Jeff Foster (Southwest Texas State, now known as Texas State), and Andrew Toney (Southwestern Louisiana, now known as Louisiana).
Former member Louisiana–Monroe (then Northeast Louisiana) advanced to the 1985 NCAA Women's Final Four.
Spending and revenueEdit
Total revenue includes ticket sales, contributions and donations, rights/licensing, student fees, school funds and all other sources including TV income, camp income, food and novelties. Total expenses includes coaching/staff, scholarships, buildings/ground, maintenance, utilities and rental fees and all other costs including recruiting, team travel, equipment and uniforms, conference dues and insurance costs.
Schools highlighted in pink are departing SLC members.
|Conference Rank (2017)||National Rank (2017)||Institution||2017 Total Revenue from Athletics||2017 Total Expenses on Athletics|
|11||318||Texas A&M Corpus Christi||$10,958,225||$10,958,225|
Note: Data from U.S. Department of Education Equity in Athletics Data Analysis Cutting Tool Database. Ranking based on revenue position in selection of records using NCAA Division I-FBS, NCAA Division I-FCS, and NCAA Division I without football criteria. (346 records were retrieved.) OPE Equity in Athletics Data Analysis Cutting Tool used in order to provide ranking for private institutions in the conference.
Departing member Incarnate Word indicated in pink; future member Texas A&M–Commerce indicated in gray.
Southland Conference Television NetworkEdit
The Conference began its own syndicated broadcast entity in 2008, the Southland Conference Television Network. It aired in over 25 markets in the league's four-state region, plus on national networks such as Fox College Sports, ESPN GamePlan, and ESPN3. In 2008-09, the network featured 35 broadcasts, and over 30 in each of the next four seasons.
For 2013 and 2014, the syndicated network was restricted to only regular season football games. The remainder of the schedule was available on ESPN3 or regional sports networks, including regular season and tournament basketball as well as championships in soccer, volleyball, softball and baseball. ESPN3 also carried an exclusive package of football games beyond the syndicated network's schedule.
SLCTV dissolved on July 1, 2015. Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, the Southland Conference entered into an agreement with the American Sports Network to syndicate and televise selected games, while also continuing its association with ESPN3. A separate deal will allow for Louisiana-based Cox Sports Television to air select games.
After ASN folded following the 2016-17 academic year, the Southland announced a television agreement with Eleven Sports. During 2017-18, conference-controlled games aired on ESPN3, Eleven Sports, Fox Sports Southwest and Cox Sports Television. For 2018-19, ESPN productions began to be split between ESPN3 and ESPN+ platforms.
|Institution||University System||Endowment||U.S. News
|Houston Baptist University||Not Applicable||$90,638,537||73
|University of the Incarnate Word||Not Applicable||$125,271,000||68
|McNeese State University||University of Louisiana System||$71,001,000||87
|University of New Orleans||University of Louisiana System||$23,250,028||RNP
|Nicholls State University||University of Louisiana System||$8,500,663||87
|Northwestern State University||University of Louisiana System||Not Available||RNP
|Southeastern Louisiana University||University of Louisiana System||$14,503,193||RNP
|Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi||Texas A&M University System||$13,673,273||RNP
- George Becnel (July 13, 2015). The Southland Conference: Small College Football, Big Dreams. AuthorHouse. pp. 394, 519. ISBN 978-1-5049-1887-9.
- "UT Arlington accepts invitation to join Western Athletic Conference". UT Arlington Athletics News. July 14, 2011. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
The University of Texas at Arlington announced today that it has accepted an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) starting on July 1, 2012.
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- Gazzolo, Jim (November 9, 2021). "McNeese sticks with Southland in move that will bring millions in for SW La. tourism". American Press. Lake Charles, LA. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
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- "About the Southland". Archived from the original on August 4, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
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Opened during the 1993 season, the 500-seat ballpark boasts one of the better playing surfaces in the state.
- Erica Bivens (August 12, 2018). "Construction on Health and Human Performance Education Complex progressing at McNeese". KPLC. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
- "Lakefront Arena". The University of New Orleans. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
Configured for Privateers basketball Lakefront Arena has 8,701 theatre style seats, along with 84 chairback seatsfor the Courtside Krewe, for an official capacity of 8,785.
- "University of New Orleans Privateers 2015 Baseball Quick Facts" (PDF). University of New Orleans Athletics. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
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