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There is more in the email I just got, but not giving away our fundraising secrets...lol

I wanted to provide some information to you about a big announcement coming today at 11am for our athletics department and institution. In what I believe may be the worst kept secret in college athletics, we will be announcing that we have accepted an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC)! I can’t tell you how excited we are to get this officially announced and the ball moving forward. If you desire, you are able to watch this press conference on the WAC Digital Network at https://www.wacdigitalnetwork.com/.
In assessing our athletics department, and the future of college athletics, we are always looking at ways to elevate our athletics program, while at the same time being able to grow the institutional profile. With the ever changing landscape of college athletics and higher education, we felt this was the right opportunity to move forward.
Here are some of the attributes that attracted SFA to join the WAC over other conferences, or to remain in the Southland Conference:
  • Growth states/cities/markets within the current make-up of the conference provide an opportunity to expand and grow the institutional brand and build awareness
  • Joining the WAC allows us to grow our athletics department in a manner that is appropriate for our current climate, while at the same time, allows us to position the institution into growth areas within the country. It will allow us to grow our institutional profile in a way that help position both the athletics department and the institution for success.
  • Making of a very strong mid-major basketball conference (both men’s and women’s)
  • Conference Tournament is held in Las Vegas at Orleans arena, which provides an opportunity for a heavily attended event
  • 28 of the past 45 years, the WAC has sent two teams to the NCAA Tournament
  • The football history of the WAC is very strong with past members such as TCU, Boise State, Hawaii, Fresno State, Rice, and Louisiana Tech among others. The opportunity to be part of restarting the sport with a football rich conference was extremely attractive, and we believe will provide us with a great opportunity to help grow our program with our recent success
  • Strong commitment to academics and athletics, like-minded institutions with growth aspirations and a vision to move forward together
  • Facilities within the league will provide us the necessary opportunity and challenge to move our facilities forward
  • Natural rivalries that will continue, along with the opportunity to start new ones
While we he have a history of success within the Southland Conference, winning almost 100 conference championships in our time as a proud member since 1987, moving to the WAC will only strengthen our resolve to move forward. Our culture of excellence on the competition surfaces provides our department (coaches/student-athletes) with the confidence that we can and expect success.
Facts about the Transition to the WAC
Membership will be effective July 1, 2021, meaning, we will be in the Southland Conference for the next 6 months. Our intention was to remain in the Southland Conference until June 30, 2022, but recent decisions by the remaining Southland Board of Directors have caused us to move that timeline up. We are disappointed in these actions, but also understand and respect the nature of the situation.

The WAC will feature 13 institutions in two divisions: Southwest and West.
  • Southwest Division will include all the Texas institutions: SFA, Sam Houston, Lamar, ACU, Tarleton and UTRGV
  • West Division will include all the other institutions: Grand Canyon, New Mexico State, Cal Baptist, Seattle, Utah Valley, Southern Utah and Dixie State (located in St. George, UT)
  • Note: At this time, Southern Utah is still planning to join on July 1, 2022, and Chicago State will be exiting on June 30, 2022.
  • The two-division structure would maximize geographic proximity in the Southwest, while minimizing travel in non-football/basketball sports. A significant part of that strategy is the formation of an FCS football conference within the WAC that would include 6-9 schools.
  • Current football playing members will be Lamar University, Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston State, Abilene Christian, Southern Utah, Tarleton State, Dixie State
  • New Mexico State will continue to play at the FBS level as an independent.
  • UTRGV has provided a letter of intent to begin an FCS program effective preferably with the 2023 season and no later than the 2024 season.
  • During the initial year of membership football-playing institutions will commit to an analysis of all implications of a move to FBS.
  • The Conference will seek a 14th member which will sponsor football and will align geographically with the Texas Division.
  • All members will be committed to consistent web streaming with applicable broadcast standards to maximize ESPN distribution (or other potential providers) of Conference content.
  • There will be a combined total of 20 Conference sports – 10 men’s and 10 women’s.
  • The Conference basketball tournaments will be played in Las Vegas.
  • The basketball tournament field size will be determined based upon the available arena dates and other factors.
  • All other championship sites and field sizes will be determined by the new membership structure with the expectation for equal divisional geographic distribution and/or rotation.
So, as you can see, there is much to be excited about for our new home! For us, this move provides another step in moving toward our vision of becoming the leading mid-major athletics department in the nation. While we know it won’t be easy, and there will be bumps along the way, we know this decision is the best for us at this time.
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