Sources have confirmed to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football that Sul Ross State is expected to transition to NCAA Division II and join the Lone Star Conference on July 1, 2024. The Lobos have been charter members of the American Southwest Conference since 1996. The decision marks a return to the LSC for the Lobos, who was a member of the conference from 1950-1976 when the LSC competed in NAIA.
How the addition of SRSU changes the LSC’s alliance with the Great Northwest Athletic Conference remains unknown. However, sources indicate that one option under consideration is to retain Central Washington and Western Oregon as affiliate members, which would leave Simon Fraser seeking a new conference for football.
The Lobos’ move to Division II is another significant hit to the American Southwest Conference. Texas Lutheran, Southwestern, Austin College, and McMurry are joining Trinity and Lyon in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference beginning with the 2026 season.
That leaves the ASC with four football teams: Mary Hardin-Baylor, Hardin-Simmons, Howard Payne, and East Texas Baptist. The conference risks losing its automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs in 2026 unless it expands or joins another conference in an alliance.
One possible alliance would be with the Southern Athletic Association, which will lose Trinity to the SCAC and is dealing with rumors of Birmingham-Southern closing unless it receives $37.5 million in funding from the Alabama Legislature. If the legislature approves, the money would serve as a stopgap while BSC continues its massive fundraising efforts.
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