Lamar Athletics will make return to Southland Conference

Published 12:02 am Saturday, April 9, 2022

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BEAUMONT – – Southland Conference Commissioner Chris Grant and Lamar University President Jaime Taylor today announced an agreement to bring the founding member school back to the Southland to compete in all sports beginning with the 2023-2024 academic year.

“The Cardinals were with us when our conference was born nearly sixty years ago, and we are delighted to welcome them back,” said Grant, whose tenure as commissioner began just three days ago. “The Southland Conference is committed to redefining the future of FCS and the student-athlete experience.”

Based in Beaumont, Lamar University originally joined the league in 1963-64 and, after a brief hiatus, rejoined the Southland in 1998-99. During that time, Cardinal fans witnessed 109 regular-season championships across LU’s 17 varsity sports. It left the Southland for the Western Athletic Conference in January 2021.

“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 Taylor.

The university’s move is seen as part of a broader trend in the changing landscape of college athletics, as schools and conferences grapple with the implications of factors such as NIL agreements, the transfer portal, and the reimagining of the NCAA. Forging strong partnerships with like-minded peer institutions is fundamental to ensuring future opportunities for student-athletes to compete and prepare for success in life.

Taylor says, “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. 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.” Lamar University has hired CarrSports Consulting to help guide the athletic program through this transformation.

“In college athletics, the only constant is change, so our Board of Directors remain committed to each other, and building upon our strong foundation that enables our universities to capitalize on the best opportunities together,” concluded Grant. “There are big things happening in the Southland Conference, so all I can say is ‘stay tuned.”