Report: Southland Conference Headed for Breakup

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The Southland Conference is reportedly on the verge of a breakup, with four member schools set to leave and seek membership within the Western Athletic Conference. 

The American Press reports that four Texas-based Southland schools: Abilene Christian, Lamar, Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin, will announce their intent to leave the Southland Conference in July of 2022, and join up with the WAC. 

The exodus would bring football back to the WAC, which hasn’t sponsored the sport since 2012. Reports indicate that the WAC is seeking to grow and reach the FBS level in football within a decade. Southern Utah, currently a member of the Big Sky Conference, has also been mentioned as a potential new member of the WAC.

Pending defections, the Southland would have just six football-playing schools — the minimum number of schools required for an automatic bid to the postseason. 

Southland Commissioner Tom Burnett told the American Press that the shifting conference landscape is something he’s come to expect.

"History of this league has seen a lot of changes and a lot of teams coming and going,” Burnett said. “If it comes to that, we will expect to have the same type of success at attracting new schools as we have in the past.”

The Southland may consider such options as adding new schools from other FCS conferences or the Division-II level. A name change is also on the table, to provide the league with a fresh identity.  

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