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Southland Conference
Established: 1963
Southland Conference logo

NCAA Division I FCS
Members 12
Sports fielded 17 (men's: 8; women's: 9)
Region South Central
Headquarters Frisco, Texas
Commissioner Tom Burnett (since 2002)
Website http://www.southland.org
Locations
Southland Conference locations

The Southland Conference is a college athletic conference which operates in the south central United States. 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 17 sports, nine 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 Dec. 23, 2002.

The Conference's offices are located in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas.

Contents

History

Founded in 1963, the original members included Abilene Christian College (departed 1973), Arkansas State College (departed 1987), Arlington State College (now The University of Texas at Arlington), Lamar State College of Technology (now Lamar University), and Trinity University (Texas) (departed 1971).

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 fielded an SLC team from 1996-2000 and Jacksonville State from 1997-2002. This has also been the case for some Olympic sports lime Men's Tennis.

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Membership Timeline

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Southland Football

Southland Conference football ranks among the best Division I FCS leagues in the nation, and enjoys an annual expectation of competing for the national championship with multiple teams advancing to the NCAA playoffs each year. In 2002 and 2003, McNeese State finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the nation, and advanced to the 2002 national championship contest, the sixth such title game appearance since the league joined the FCS (then known as Division I-AA) in 1982. All told, Southland teams have played in 84 Division I-AA/FCS playoff games in 23 years, winning 42 of the contests.

Historically, the Southland's successful football heritage has sustained itself through numerous membership and classification changes. Originally an NAIA conference, the Southland joined the NCAA College Division in 1968. The College Division was re-named NCAA Division II in 1973, and the league played two seasons in that class. The Southland became an NCAA Division I league in 1975, and was a charter member of Division I-A (now Division I FBS) when Division I split for football in 1978. It moved to the FCS ranks in 1982, where it has remained to this day.

During its tenure as a Division I and I-A conference from 1975-81, the Southland Conference was instrumental in the startup of the Independence Bowl in 1976. The Southland representative served as the host team of the bowl until 1980, compiling a 2-3 record in the contests. The Conference can lay claim to five national football championships, including College Division championships through former members Arkansas State (1970, UPI) and Louisiana Tech (1972, National Football Foundation). Louisiana Tech also won the first-ever NCAA-sanctioned national title, winning the Division II playoffs in 1973. Tech followed that with the UPI's Division II national championship in 1974. Northeast Louisiana, now Louisiana-Monroe, won the 1987 Division I-AA national title.

McNeese State, which has made 12 appearances in the national playoffs, also played in the 1997 I-AA national championship game, and Stephen F. Austin played in the 1989 title game, one of four playoff runs for the Lumberjacks. Northwestern State has played in six national playoffs, and advanced to the semifinals in 1998, while Sam Houston State has earned four trips to the postseason, including the semifinals in 2004, Nicholls State has participated twice, and Texas State twice, advancing to the 2005 semifinals.

On four occasions, the Southland has placed three teams in the national 16-team playoffs. Six of the eight current football-playing members have qualified for the I-AA/FCS playoffs. In addition, Texas State won NCAA Division II titles in 1981 and 1982 before joining the Southland.

Non-football member Lamar University, which dropped its program in 1989, recently announced its plan to resume its football program in 2010. The Cardinals will play a Southland schedule in 2011.

The Southland has produced 149 first-team football All-Americans during its history, and has sent such talent to the professional ranks including Dallas' Keith Davis (SHSU), Arizona's Josh McCown (SHSU), Buffalo's Terrence McGee (Northwestern State), N.Y. Giant's Gary Reasons (Northwestern State), Baltimore's B. J. Sams (McNeese), Chicago's Mike Green (Northwestern State), Jacksonville's Kenny Wright (Northwestern State), Houston's Chad Stanley (SFA), Philadelphia's Jeremiah Trotter (SFA), San Diego's Clinton Ballard (Texas State) and Chicago's Chris Thompson (Nicholls). In the 2002 NFL Draft alone, five Southland players were selected.

With its current alignment of 12 institutions in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, the Southland is at its largest membership configuration in its 43-year history.

The Conference began its own broadcast entity in 2008, the Southland Conference Television Network, that aired in numerous markets in the league's three-state region as well as on national networks such as Fox College Sports, and ESPN FullCourt and ESPN360.com. In 2008-09, the Network featured 35 broadcasts, mainly football and basketball, and the Conference recently announced 31 live events for broadcast in 2009-10.

Former Southland Conference stars

Former NFL stars from the Southland include Fred Dean, Bill Bergey, Stan Humphries, Fred Barnett, Roger Carr, Marvin Upshaw, Larry Centers, Kavika Pittman, Mike Barber, Bruce Collie, Tim McKyer, Pat Tilley, Jackie Harris, Eugene Seale, Bubby Brister, Billy Ryckman, Rafael Septien, Buford Jordan, Marcus Spears, Terrance Shaw, Jeremiah Trotter, Mike Quinn, Chad Standley, Derrick Blaylock, Keith Davis and Ray Brown.

Current members

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Joined Endowment Nickname
University of Central Arkansas Conway, Arkansas 1907 Public 13,000 2006 $2.7 million Bears and Sugar Bears
Lamar University Beaumont, Texas 1923 Public 13,994 1963 $21 million Cardinals and Lady Cardinals
McNeese State University Lake Charles, Louisiana 1939 Public 8,784 1972 $12.5 million Cowboys and Cowgirls
Nicholls State University Thibodaux, Louisiana 1948 Public 7,500 1991 $8 million Colonels and Lady Colonels
Northwestern State University Natchitoches, Louisiana 1884 Public 10,159 1987 $8.8 million Demons and Lady Demons
Sam Houston State University Huntsville, Texas 1879 Public 15,300 1987 $41.8 million Bearkats
Southeastern Louisiana University Hammond, Louisiana 1925 Public 16,000 1997 $8.4 million Lions and Lady Lions
Stephen F. Austin State University Nacogdoches, Texas 1921 Public 11,408 1987 $13.7 million Lumberjacks and Ladyjacks
University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, Texas 1895 Public 25,297 1963 $60.9 million Mavericks
University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, Texas 1969 Public 28,000 1991 $54 million Roadrunners
Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi Corpus Christi, Texas 1947 Public 8,355 2006 $5.1 million Islanders
Texas State University–San Marcos San Marcos, Texas 1899 Public 30,816 1987 $95.1 million Bobcats
Locations of current Southland Conference full member institutions.

Conference facilities

School Football stadium capacity Basketball arena capacity Baseball park capacity
Central Arkansas Estes Stadium 8,035 Farris Center 6,000 UCA Field 1,000
Lamar Provost Umphrey Stadium 17,500 Montagne Center 10,080 Vincent-Beck Stadium 3,500
McNeese State Cowboy Stadium 17,410 Burton Coliseum 8,000 Cowboy Diamond 2,000
Nicholls State John L. Guidry Stadium 12,800 Stopher Gym 3,800 Ray Didier Field 1,000
Northwestern State Harry Turpin Stadium 15,971 Prather Coliseum 3,900 Brown-Stroud Field 1,200
Sam Houston State Bowers Stadium 14,000 Bernard Johnson Coliseum 6,100 Don Sanders Stadium 1,163
Southeastern Louisiana Strawberry Stadium 7,408 University Center 7,500 Pat Kennelly Diamond at Alumni Field 2,500
Stephen F. Austin Homer Bryce Stadium 14,575 William R. Johnson Coliseum 7,203 Jaycees Field 1,000
UT Arlington Non-football school N/A Texas Hall 4,200 Clay Gould Ballpark 1,600
UT San Antonio Alamodome 65,000 Convocation Center 5,100 Roadrunner Field 800
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Non-football school N/A American Bank Center 8,000 Whataburger Field 5,400
Texas State Bobcat Stadium 15,218 Strahan Coliseum 7,200 Bobcat Baseball Stadium 2,000

Note: The University of Texas at San Antonio starts its football program in 2011 and will use the Alamodome as their home field.[1] The stadium seats 65,000, but seating capacity for UTSA games may be reduced. Lamar is starting football in 2010, they will renovate their field that they last used in 1989.

Championships

  • In 2008, the University of Central Arkansas football team finished first in the Southland Conference standings. However, since UCA was ineligible for NCAA postseason (due to its transition from Division II to I), the Bears were also ineligible for the Southland Conference championship. Texas State was named the official Southland Conference champion and received the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Division I Football Championship.

External links


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