Southland Conference officially welcomes Texas A&M-Commerce

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Southland Conference teams 2022-23

FRISCO, Texas – The Southland Conference officially welcomes Texas A&M University-Commerce as the league’s ninth member on Friday. Nine months after putting pen to paper on their invitation paperwork, the Lions will begin a four-year transition into Division I and begin competition in the Southland in the 2022-23 academic year.

“It is a distinct honor to join the Southland Conference,” Texas A&M-Commerce President Mark J. Rudin proclaimed in accepting the Southland’s invitation. “This decision was made with feedback from several key constituent groups at the university – led by our student body leadership. Careful and thoughtful consideration was given to assessing the opportunity to compete at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics. As we finalized our decision, it became evident that this exciting initiative is squarely aligned with our institutional mission to Educate, Discover, and Achieve.”

“The presidents of the Southland Conference welcome Texas A&M-Commerce to the league and look forward to the university becoming a valued member of NCAA Division I,” McNeese State President and Southland Board of Directors Chair Dr. Daryl Burckel said. “From the beginning of our review, the Board of Directors quickly recognized the dynamic leadership of President Rudin, the institution’s strong academic record and its consistent athletic successes. Further, the university’s administrators, head coaches, staff and student-athletes have exhibited a consistent alignment in their views of this outstanding university and its Division I future in athletics.”

The Lions have seen remarkable success in recent years, including winning the 2017 NCAA Division II Football National Championship, highlighting five consecutive postseason football berths since 2015. Overall, 53 A&M-Commerce athletic teams have earned NCAA postseason bids since 2015, including a record 11 teams in 2018-19. Other performance highlights include individual NCAA track and field national championships, an NCAA softball regional championship, and multiple recent NCAA berths in volleyball, and men’s and women’s basketball.

Texas A&M-Commerce is currently slated to participate in its first Southland Conference contest in women’s soccer on September 9 against defending regular-season and conference tournament champion Northwestern State.

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