In another shocking development regarding realignment, Lamar announced the Cardinals will move to the Southland for the upcoming 2022-2023 season. The Cardinals were initially scheduled to move back to the Southland Conference for the 2023-2024 season.
In a recent edition of the Extra Points newsletter, Matt Brown spoke with UIW athletic director Richard Duran regarding the institution’s decision to remain in the Southland and forego a planned move to the WAC.
Duran noted the recent changes in realignment being a factor in UIW’s decision to remain in the Southland. Most notably, Lamar’s decision to move back to the Southland following one year in the WAC.
Other factors for UIW leadership were money and the ability to qualify for NCAA championships, with the WAC needing alliances to have an automatic qualifier in football. In contrast, the Southland has enough members that sponsor football for an AQ bid.
The money needed for travel expenses would’ve forced UIW to increase funding for multiple sports to remain level with other schools in the conference. So instead, the Southland provides UIW to stay in a conference with schools facing similar financial situations.
"We're always going to be a school that needs to do more with less," Duran said to Brown, but "we want to be the best D-I school we can possibly be. We completely understand that there's a lot of catch-ups to be had, on the field and with our facilities, but we're growing in the right direction."
Western Athletic Conference
Brown noted in his newsletter that some WAC athletic directors were not upset to see Lamar depart for the Southland and UIW opting not to join the WAC. The main reason is the WAC has been focused on being a two-bid basketball league, and neither Lamar nor UIW provided many benefits to the conference’s strength in basketball.
However, the WAC remains a conference on an unsteady footing regarding FCS. With Sam Houston departing for Conference USA next year and the continual movement in realignment, the WAC needs to keep its remaining members.
The WAC's problem is balancing the desire to expand while keeping other members from seeking membership in an FBS conference. Tarleton and Grand Canyon are two schools continually discussed in realignment rumors, and both seem well-positioned to move to FBS in the near future.
While losing GCU would hurt the WAC in basketball, losing Tarleton could prove costly to the future of football in the WAC.
Tarleton’s offense took a significant blow with the departure of QB Steven Duncan, who is leaving to pursue career opportunities after graduating with his MBA. Holy Cross transfer Marco Siderman and sophomore Alex Thole will compete for the starting QB job during Fall camp.
The Southland Conference is now in a strong position following the most recent round of realignment news. This has been an incredible turnaround for a conference rumored to be disbanding before convincing McNeese State and UIW to stay and welcoming Lamar back to the conference.
With the addition of Texas A&M-Commerce, the Southland has eight schools that sponsor football, and the conference remains on solid footing in all other NCAA sports.
Southwestern Athletic Conference
Prairie View A&M received a commitment from Jones College OL Justin Wilson. The Heidelberg, Miss. native played in all 15 games for the Bobcats the last two seasons.
The Panthers have also agreed to a game at Arizona in 2028, according to FBSSchedules.com. In addition, the Panthers' marching band, the “Marching Storm,” will travel and perform at halftime of the road contest.
Lone Star Conference
UT Permian Basin announced new premium and general tailgating opportunities for the 2022 season. According to the release, the experience will be known as Freddyville and include food, live entertainment, activities for all ages, and a family friendly atmosphere.
Texas A&M-Kingsville DL Javirea Moore announced he has entered the transfer portal on social media. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound sophomore from Lancaster High School did not see any playing time with the Javelinas.
Javelinas DB Kobe Milligan also announced that he has entered the transfer portal on his social media account. The Lancaster High School product did not see any playing time last season.
American Southwest Conference
Mary Hardin-Baylor received a commitment from Carthage College transfer RB Noel Wright II, according to TrueToTheCru.com. The Houston C.E. King High School standout led CCIW with 671 yards and five touchdowns rushing on 133 attempts.
Former Crusader and DCTF Small College Defensive Player of the Year, S Jefferson Fritz, was selected the American Southwest Conference Male Athlete of the Year after helping lead UMHB to its second official national title last year.
Howard Payne WR Jake Parker has signed a contract with the Schw?bisch Hall Unicorns of the German Football League, according to the YellowJackets website. The two-time All-American had previously received invitations to rookie training camps for the New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Sooner Athletic Conference
Southwestern Junior College Football Conference
Tyler promoted Brady Davis to offensive coordinator. Davis spent last season as QB coach for the Apaches following a collegiate career at Illinois State and a spot in the Dallas Cowboys rookie minicamp before deciding to begin his coaching career.
TVCC released a list of 17 Cardinals players who have signed to continue their careers with a four-year institution. These include QB Bronson McClelland (Tarleton), OL Quinton Williams (Louisiana), OL Cam Vaughn (Northwestern State), OL Jaydn Jaramillo (Southwestern Oklahoma State), OL Jaden Edmondson (Texas A&M-Commerce), OL Nonso Omezi (Texas A&M-Commerce), TE Nate Jones (Louisiana Tech), LB Tristan Fletcher (Kansas), WR Carl Chester (Tulsa), OL Tristan Smith (Arkansas State), RB Cam Collier (North Alabama), WR Julian Johnson (North Texas), DL XXavier Watson (Prairie View A&M), LS Seth Willis (Texas Southern), OL Mykel Janise (Wyoming), TE Tyler Hatcher (Louisiana), OL Caleb Hernandez (UTSA).
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