The Lone Star Conference made it official on Thursday afternoon with a press release confirming Central Washington, Western Oregon, and Simon Fraser will become affiliate members of the LSC for football beginning with the 2022 season.
"We are excited to welcome the Central Washington, Simon Fraser and Western Oregon football programs to the Lone Star Conference. As affiliate members these three institutions will strengthen our football membership and add to the rich history and already strong competition in our league," LSC Commissioner Jay Poerner said in a news release. "We look forward to their continued association with the LSC."
The three former Great Northwest Athletic Conference football schools have a multi-year agreement with the LSC which allows the new schools to become eligible for the LSC championship and allow their athletes to earn weekly and postseason LSC awards.
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While the dust has mostly settled on realignment involving the Power 5 conferences, the winds of change continue at gale force speed throughout the small college ranks following recent news concerning the Lone Star Conference, Sam Houston, and Incarnate Word.
LSC and GNAC to align for football
Dave Campbell’s Texas Football has learned from sources the Lone Star Conference, and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference will announce an alliance within the next two weeks.
The LSC and GNAC are currently in the midst of a non-conference scheduling alliance through the 2023 season. However, the alliance is likely to become a conference alliance for football only moving forward.
Both conferences have been depleted during the most recent conference realignment phase, with Tarleton having left the LSC for FCS in 2020 and Texas A&M-Commerce set to join the Southland Conference in 2022.
The GNAC currently has three football members after Azusa Pacific dropped football during the CoVID-19 pandemic.
A conference alignment would bring Angelo State, Eastern New Mexico, Midwestern State, UT Permian Basin, Texas A&M-Kingsville, West Texas A&M, and Western New Mexico from the LSC together with Central Washington, Simon Fraser, and Western Oregon from the GNAC.
The move is necessary for the struggling conferences, but the alliance will significantly add to each school’s travel budget with teams from Kingsville, Texas, to Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
Sam Houston and UIW reportedly on the move
As reported by Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, Dave Campbell’s Texas Football has confirmed that Incarnate Word and McNeese are set to join the Western Athletic Conference.
According to a report on Monday night by Brett McMurphy of Action Network, Sam Houston is reportedly on the move from the WAC to Conference USA.
The moves leave the Southland Conference with only five football members in Nicholls, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana, and Houston Baptist, with Texas A&M-Commerce set to join in July 2022.
With only five football playing members, the Southland would lose its automatic bid to the FCS playoffs.
SHSU’s departure from the WAC is a surprise to many after the Bearkats moved to join the WAC in July 2021, along with ACU, Lamar, and SFA.
This story will be updated as necessary.
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