SFA Athletics leaves Southland, joins Western Athletic Conference

Hoisting their Southland Conference trophy in the air, the Lumberjack basketball team celebrates their successful season last March. Starting in Fall 2021, athletics will be competing in the Western Athletic Conference.

SFA announced on Thursday morning at the NRG Center in Houston that in July of this year the University and its athletic programs will be joining the Western Athletic Conference, or WAC 

Joining SFA in leaving the Southland Conference for the WAC are Abilene Christian University, Lamar University and, SFA’s biggest rival, Sam Houston State University. The final school joining the new WAC is Southern Utah, which comes from the Big Sky Conference. 

The additions of these programs to the WAC will bring football back into the conference, which has been discontinued since 2012. The conference has a rich football history despite it’s the sport’s absence for the last eight years. The WAC is the former home of schools such as Texas Christian University and Boise State. 

The level of competition for basketball is elevated in the WAC, with schools like New Mexico State having made recent NCAA tournament appearances. The remainder of this season will stay in the Southland Conference, and the transition to the WAC will start in the fall. 

“Joining the WAC is tremendous opportunity to elevate our athletics program and competition,” University President Dr. Scott Gordon said. “This move will increase our institutional profile, increase our exposure in some of the fastest growing population areas in the country and at the same time enhance our revenue. The strong commitment of the WAC to academics and athletics as well as our ability to keep our natural rivalries and start new ones is exciting.” 

In 28 of the last 45 years, the WAC has sent at least two teams to the NCAA tournament.  

“What an exciting day to be a Lumberjack,” Ryan Ivey, director of SFA Athletics, said. “This move to the WAC will allow us to take a step forward in achieving our vision of becoming the leading mid-major athletic department in the nation. Having the opportunity to join a strong conference alongside like-minded institutions is paramount to our future growth. This move will allow us to elevate our athletic department and provide an opportunity to grow our institutional profile through our athletic department.” 

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