RICHARDSON - Lone Star Conference Commissioner Stan Wagnon has responded to news of one school leaving the league and possibility another.
Incarnate Word announced Monday they had accepted an invitation to join the Southland Conference, who has invited LSC powerhouse Abilene Christian University to join as well. The ACU Board of Trustees will meet this weekend to decide.
Wagnon said Tuesday that the future starts now for the Lone Star Conference and members who wish to build this league into the NCAA’s premier Division II conference must remain unified and press forward. Within the past few years, the LSC has lost five Oklahoma schools.
If ACU leaves, that brings to 9 the number of members. Since 1931, Texas A&M University-Commerce has been the longest serving member of the league.
Wagnon's full statement below:
“The Lone Star Conference has been notified by University of the Incarnate Word of its intentions to affiliate its athletic programs with the Southland Conference, effective next year. We anticipate the school soon will take official action to notify us of its intention to withdraw from LSC membership with an effective date of June 30, 2013. We expect UIW to compete in all approved LSC athletic competitions with other members up to the effective date, as required by LSC policy.
Also, the league has been alerted by Abilene Christian University that its board will consider at a meeting this weekend a similar invitation to join the Southland. Should ACU choose the Southland for its conference affiliation, we anticipate its school leaders will notify us soon thereafter of ACU’s intention to withdraw from LSC membership under the same parameters and timeline as UIW. Regardless, this week signals the end of a lengthy chapter of speculation about these two schools reclassifying to Division I.
The future starts now for the Lone Star Conference. We’re a Division II conference, and a proud one at that. As a group, we believe in the balance between academics and athletics that is afforded student-athletes in Division II, along with the high-level competition we provide. We’re committed to offering our constituents the very best aspects of Division II membership. The LSC members that wish to build this league into the NCAA’s premier Division II conference must remain unified and press forward. I am confident we have core group of institutions that want to continue on the path we’re pursuing, and I look forward to working with them as we add new members and keep building upon the 81-year legacy of this conference."