American Football Database
Southland Conference
DivisionDivision I FCS
Members10 (14 beginning July 1, 2013)
Sports fielded17 (men's: 8; women's: 9)
RegionSouth Central
HeadquartersFrisco, Texas
CommissionerTom Burnett (since 2002)

The Southland Conference is a college athletic conference which operates in the south central United States (specifically Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas). 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.


Founded in 1963, its members were Abilene Christian College (now Abilene Christian University; departed 1973 for NCAA Division II, but will move to Division I and rejoin the Southland effective 2013), Arkansas State College (now Arkansas State University; departed 1987, now a member of the Sun Belt Conference), Arlington State College (now The University of Texas at Arlington, which joined the Western Athletic Conference in 2012 and will move to the Sun Belt in 2013), Lamar State College of Technology (now Lamar University, left in 1987 and re-joined in 1999; the only founding school that is currently a member), and Trinity University (departed 1971, 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 above). In addition, the conference has also been home to some schools for one sport only. In the case of football, Troy fielded a team from 1996–2000 and Jacksonville State from 1997-2002. This has also been the case for some Olympic sports like men's tennis, in which the University of Texas-Pan American and the University of New Orleans currently field teams as affiliate members.

Member schools

Current members

Institution Nickname Location Founded Type Enrollment U.S. News Ranking[1] Joined
University of Central Arkansas Bears (men's)
Sugar Bears (women's)
Conway, Arkansas 1907 Public 13,000 &1000000000000032800000060
(Regional: South)
Lamar University Cardinals (men's)
Lady Cardinals (women's)
Beaumont, Texas 1923 Public 14,386 &10000000000000205000000205–270
McNeese State University Cowboys (men's)
Cowgirls (women's)
Lake Charles, Louisiana 1939 Public 8,784 &1000000000000035600000088
(Regional: South)
Nicholls State University Colonels Thibodaux, Louisiana 1948 Public 7,500 &1000000000000036300000095
(Regional: South)
Northwestern State University Demons Natchitoches, Louisiana 1884 Public 10,159 &1000000000000036700000097–128
(Regional: South)
Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles Tulsa, Oklahoma 1963 Private 3,417 &1000000000000032100000053
(Regional: West)
Sam Houston State University Bearkats Huntsville, Texas 1879 Public 17,600 &10000000000000205000000205–270
Southeastern Louisiana University Lions Hammond, Louisiana 1925 Public 16,000 &1000000000000036700000097–128
(Regional: South)
Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjacks (men's)
Ladyjacks (women's)
Nacogdoches, Texas 1923 Public 13,000 &1000000000000036600000092–121
(Regional: West)
Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi Islanders Corpus Christi, Texas 1947 Public 9,600 &10000000000000205000000205–270

* - Lamar re-joined the Southland Conference after competing in different conferences between the 1987-88 and 1998-99 seasons.

Future members

Institution Nickname Location Founded Type Enrollment U.S. News Ranking[2] Year Joining
Abilene Christian University Wildcats Abilene, Texas 1906 Private 4,558 &1000000000000029900000019
(Regional: West)
Houston Baptist University Huskies Houston, Texas 1960 Private 2,567 &1000000000000032400000054
(Regional: West)
University of the Incarnate Word Cardinals San Antonio, Texas 1881 Private 8,455 &1000000000000032800000058
(Regional: West)
University of New Orleans Privateers New Orleans, Louisiana 1958 Public 9,825 &10000000000000205000000205–270

Houston Baptist has announced it will have a football team ready to start play in 2014 and will join the conference July 1, 2013, in all Southland-sponsored sports.[3] On August 20, 2012, the Southland Conference announced that the University of the Incarnate Word will become a member of the league, effective July 1, 2013.[4] Incarnate Word will begin the four-year shift to Division I with the Southland Conference’s assistance and oversight. It is expected that UIW will begin counting as an NCAA Division I team for scheduling purposes in 2014-2015 and will be fully eligible for NCAA championship events in 2017-2018. On August 23, 2012, the University of New Orleans (UNO) announced that it would be joining the Southland Conference, effective the 2013-2014 academic year, after being an independent since 2010.[5] In 2012 Southland issued an invitation to the Abilene Christian University Wildcats, charter members as Abilene Christian College, to rejoin the Conference after an absence of four decades.[6] (on August 21 the Times-Picayune reported that the University of New Orleans "would become the Southland's 14th member, joining Incarnate Word and Abilene Christian").[7] The invitation was officially accepted by the Board of Trustees of Abilene Christian on August 25.[8]

Former members


Locations of current Southland Conference full member institutions.

Institution Nickname Location Joined Left Current Conference
Abilene Christian College1 Wildcats Abilene, Texas 1963 1973 Lone Star
Arkansas State University Indians2 Jonesboro, Arkansas 1963 1987 Sun Belt
University of Louisiana at Monroe
(formerly Northeast Louisiana University)
Indians2 Monroe, Louisiana 1982 2006 Sun Belt
Louisiana Tech University Bulldogs (men's)
Lady Techsters (women's)
Ruston, Louisiana 1971 1987 WAC (C-USA in 2013)
University of North Texas
(formerly North Texas State University)
Mean Green Denton, Texas 1982 1996 Sun Belt (C-USA in 2013)
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
(formerly University of Southwestern Louisiana)
Ragin' Cajuns Lafayette, Louisiana 1971 1982 Sun Belt
University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks Arlington, Texas 1963 2012 WAC (Sun Belt in 2013)
University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners San Antonio, Texas 1991 2012 WAC (C-USA in 2013)
Texas State University–San Marcos
(formerly Southwest Texas State University)
Bobcats San Marcos, Texas 1987 2012 WAC (Sun Belt in 2013)
Trinity University Tigers San Antonio, Texas 1963 1972 SCAC
  1. Abilene Christian will re-join the Southland Conference in 2013
  2. Arkansas State and Louisiana–Monroe have both changed their nicknames since leaving the Southland Conference, respectively to Red Wolves and Warhawks.

Membership timeline

University of New OrleansUniversity of the Incarnate WordHouston Baptist UniversityOral Roberts UniversityTexas A&M University–Corpus ChristiUniversity of Central ArkansasSoutheastern Louisiana UniversityJacksonville State UniversityTroy UniversityNicholls State UniversityUniversity of Texas at San AntonioStephen F. Austin State UniversitySam Houston State UniversityNorthwestern State UniversityTexas State UniversityUniversity of Louisiana at MonroeUniversity of North TexasMcNeese State UniversityLouisiana Tech UniversityUniversity of Louisiana at LafayetteUniversity of Texas at ArlingtonLamar UniversityLamar UniversityArkansas State UniversityAbilene Christian UniversityAbilene Christian UniversityTrinity University (Texas)

Full members Full members (non-football) Associate members (football only)

  • Southwestern Louisiana became the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (Louisiana–Lafayette) in 1999.


The Southland Conference sponsors championship competition in eight men's and nine women's NCAA sanctioned sports.[9] Future full member New Orleans is an Associate member for men's tennis.

Teams in Southland Conference competition
Sport Men's Women's
Cross Country
Track and Field (Indoor)
Track and Field (Outdoor)


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 Stanley, Derrick Blaylock, Keith Davis, Ricky Sanders, Jeff Novak, Spergon Wynn, Wade Key and Ray Brown.

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.[10]


Among notable NBA stars attending Southland Conference schools include Karl Malone (Louisiana Tech), Joe Dumars (McNeese State), Jeff Foster (Southwest Texas State) and Andrew Toney (Southwestern Louisiana).

Former member Louisiana-Monroe (then Northeast Louisiana) advanced to the 1985 NCAA Women's Final Four.


  • Southland Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
  • Southland Conference Women's Basketball Tournament
  • Southland Conference Baseball Tournament


School Football stadium Capacity Basketball arena Capacity Baseball park Capacity
Abilene Christian Shotwell Stadium 15,075 Moody Coliseum 4,600 Crutcher Scott Field 4,500
Central Arkansas Estes Stadium 8,035 Farris Center 6,000 Bear Stadium 1,000
Houston Baptist Begins football in 2014 Sharp Gymnasium 1,500 Husky Field 1,000
Incarnate Ward Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium 6,000 McDermott Convocation Center 2,000 Sullivan Field 1,000
Lamar Provost Umphrey Stadium 16,000 Montagne Center 10,080 Vincent-Beck Stadium 3,500
McNeese State Cowboy Stadium 17,410 Burton Coliseum 8,000 Cowboy Diamond 2,000
New Orleans Tad Gormley Stadium Begins intercollegiate football in 2015 26,500 Lakefront Arena 10,000 Maestri Field 4,000
Nicholls State John L. Guidry Stadium 12,800 Stopher Gym 3,800 Ray E. Didier Field 1,000
Northwestern State Harry Turpin Stadium 15,971 Prather Coliseum 3,900 H. Alvin Brown–C. C. Stroud Field 1,200
Oral Roberts Non-football school Mabee Center 10,575 J. L. Johnson Stadium 2,418
Sam Houston State Bowers Stadium 14,000 Bernard Johnson Coliseum 6,110 Don Sanders Stadium 1,163
Southeastern Louisiana Strawberry Stadium 7,408 University Center 7,500 Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field 2,500
Stephen F. Austin Homer Bryce Stadium 14,575 William R. Johnson Coliseum 7,203 Jaycees Field 1,000
Texas A&M–Corpus Christi Non-football school American Bank Center 8,000 Whataburger Field 5,400

Note: Future members in gray.


Southland Conference Television Network

The Conference began its own broadcast entity in 2008, the Southland Conference Television Network. It airs in over 20 markets in the league's four-state region, plus on national networks such as Fox College Sports, and ESPN FullCourt and ESPN3. In 2008-09, the Network featured 35 broadcasts, then followed with 31 live events in 2009-10 and 31 in 2010-11. The schedule includes regular season football games, regular season and tournament basketball, and the championships in women's soccer and women's volleyball.

Some events are carried exclusively by ESPN3, including the 2012 softball and baseball championships.


External links

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