In April of this year, Lamar announced it will leave the WAC and return to the Southland Conference in 2023. Today, the school announced it is joining the Southland effective immediately, a year earlier than originally planned.
The decision to make the early move comes after Jeff O’Malley joined the university as the new Director of Athletics on July 1.
“We are very excited to take advantage of this opportunity to make the move to the Southland Conference for the 2022-23 season for all sports,” O’Malley said. “This is the best fit for the future of Lamar University Athletics, our fans and our student-athletes. I would like to thank Commissioner Grant and the leadership of the conference for working with us and providing a chance to join the league immediately.”
Lamar’s decision comes less than a month after UIW decided to stay in the Southland and not join the WAC. In November of 2021, UIW accepted an invitation to join the WAC effective July 1, 2022. On June 24, 2022, UIW informed the WAC that it will not proceed with becoming a member and will remain in the Southland Conference.
The WAC announced its football schedule (which included UIW and Lamar) earlier this year. The conference now has to make adjustments again.
Lamar joined the WAC with three other Southland members (SHSU, ACU, SFA) just last summer. But since then, SHSU is joining the FBS in 2023, Lamar is heading back this season, and UIW declined its invite last-minute.
The WAC is now down to six schools in 2022: ACU, SHSU, SUU, SFA, Tarleton, & Utah Tech. Then it’s down to five in 2023 subtracting SHSU unless it adds members. The WAC is combined with the ASUN for one auto-bid this year and beyond.
The Southland grows to eight members this year: HBU, Lamar, McNeese, Nicholls, NW State, SLU, Texas A&M-Commerce, UIW.