|Members||13 (8 in 2021)|
|Region||West South Central|
|Former names||Southland Football League (1996–2002, football-only)|
|Commissioner||Tom Burnett (since 2002)|
The Southland Conference, abbreviated to SLC, is a collegiate athletic conference which operates in the South Central United States (specifically Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas). It participates in the NCAA's Division I for all sports; for football, it participates in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The Southland sponsors 18 sports, 10 for women and eight for men, and is governed by a presidential Board of Directors and an Advisory Council of athletic and academic administrators. Tom Burnett was named the Southland's sixth commissioner on Dec. 23, 2002. From 1996 to 2002, for football only, the Southland Conference was known as the Southland Football League.
Founded in 1963, its members were Abilene Christian College (now Abilene Christian University; departed in 1973 for NCAA Division II, but moved to Division I and re-joined the Southland in 2013), Arkansas State College (now Arkansas State University; departed in 1987, now a member of the Sun Belt Conference), Arlington State College (now The University of Texas at Arlington, departed in 2012 now also in the Sun Belt), Lamar State College of Technology (now Lamar University; departed in 1987, but re-joined in 1999), and Trinity University (departed in 1971, now participating in NCAA Division III).
Since its founding, the Southland Conference has been the home for 18 college and university all-sports programs (see membership timeline below). In addition, the conference has also been home to some schools for one sport only. In the case of football, Troy University fielded a team from 1996 to 2000 and Jacksonville State University did so from 1997 to 2002. This has also been the case for some Olympic sports like men's tennis, in which the University of Texas–Pan American (UTPA) and the University of New Orleans (UNO) fielded teams as affiliate members before 2013, when UTPA joined the WAC and UNO became a full Southland member.
- Abilene Christian, Lamar, Sam Houston State, and Stephen F. Austin will leave the Southland Conference and join the Western Athletic Conference in July 2021. Original plans were for these schools to leave in 2022, but their departure was moved forward to 2021 when the Southland expelled all four schools.
- Central Arkansas will leave the Southland Conference for the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2021
- Abilene Christian re-joined the Southland Conference in 2013 after joining the NAIA and Lone Star Conference after the 1972–73 season.
- Lamar re-joined the Southland Conference after competing in the American South and Sun Belt conferences between the 1987–88 and 1998–99 seasons.
School names and nicknames listed here reflect those in use in each institution's final school year of Southland Conference membership.
|Arkansas State University||Jonesboro, Arkansas||1909||1963||1987||Public||Indians[a]||Sun Belt|
|Louisiana Tech University||Ruston, Louisiana||1894||1971||1987||Public||Bulldogs
|University of North Texas||Denton, Texas||1890||1982||1996||Public||Mean Green||C-USA|
|University of Louisiana at Monroe||Monroe, Louisiana||1931||1982||2006||Public||Indians[b]||Sun Belt|
|Oral Roberts University||Tulsa, Oklahoma||1963||2012||2014||Private||Golden Eagles||Summit League|
|University of Southwestern Louisiana[c]||Lafayette, Louisiana||1898||1971||1982||Public||Ragin' Cajuns||Sun Belt|
|Texas State University[d]||San Marcos, Texas||1899||1987||2012||Public||Bobcats||Sun Belt|
|University of Texas at Arlington||Arlington, Texas||1895||1963||2012||Public||Mavericks||Sun Belt|
|University of Texas at San Antonio||San Antonio, Texas||1969||1991||2012||Public||Roadrunners||C-USA|
|Trinity University||San Antonio, Texas||1869||1963||1972||Private||Tigers||SCAC|
(NCAA Division III)
- Arkansas State changed its nickname to Red Wolves after leaving the Southland Conference.
- Louisiana–Monroe changed its nickname to Warhawks after leaving the Southland Conference.
- Southwestern Louisiana changed its institutional name to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1999, after leaving the Southland Conference. Still later, the school changed its athletic branding to "Louisiana", with no city identifier.
- Texas State dropped the directional identifier (Southwest) from its institutional name in 2013, a year after leaving the Southland Conference.
Former associate members
|Centenary College of Louisiana||Gentlemen||Shreveport, Louisiana||1825||Private/United Methodist||500||2000–01||2002–03||American Southwest
(NCAA Division III)
|Jacksonville State University||Gamecocks||Jacksonville, Alabama||1883||Public||9,490||1996–97||2002–03||Ohio Valley (OVC)||football|
|University of Louisiana at Lafayette
(formerly University of Southwestern Louisiana)
|Ragin' Cajuns||Lafayette, Louisiana||1898||Public||16,885||1982–83||1986–87||Sun Belt||women's sports|
|University of New Orleans||Privateers||New Orleans, Louisiana||1958||Public||9,825||2012–13||2012–13||Southland||men's tennis|
|Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi||Islanders||Corpus Christi, Texas||1947||Public||9,600||2003–04||2005–06||Southland||men's tennis|
|University of Texas–Pan American[fa 1]||Broncs[fa 2]||Edinburg, Texas[fa 3]||1927||Public||17,048||2000–01||2012–13||WAC||men's tennis|
(formerly Troy State University)
|Trojans||Troy, Alabama||1887||Public||29,689||1996–97||2000–01||Sun Belt||football|
- Texas–Pan American (UTPA) ceased to exist at the start of the 2015–16 school year, when it merged with the nearby University of Texas at Brownsville to create the new University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).
- Nearly a year before the merger, the University of Texas System announced that UTRGV would directly inherit the UTPA athletic program. The new nickname of Vaqueros was announced in November 2014.
- The UTRGV athletic program continues to be based at the former UTPA main campus in Edinburg.
Full members Full members (non-football) Associate members (football only)
1. - Southwestern Louisiana became the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (Louisiana–Lafayette, now athletically branded as simply Louisiana) in 1999.
2. - Northeast Louisiana became the University of Louisiana at Monroe (Louisiana–Monroe) in 1999.
The Southland Conference sponsors championship competition in eight men's and 10 women's NCAA sanctioned sports. The most recently added sport is beach volleyball, with SLC competition starting in 2019–20.
|Track and Field (Indoor)|
|Track and Field (Outdoor)|
Men's sponsored sports by school
|School||Baseball||Basketball||Cross Country||Football||Golf||Tennis||Track & Field
|Track & Field
|Total Southland Sports|
|Sam Houston State||N||7|
|Stephen F. Austin||N||7|
|Texas A&M–Corpus Christi||N||N||6|
Men's varsity sports not sponsored by the Southland Conference which are played by SLC schools:
|Central Arkansas||Sun Belt||No|
Women's sponsored sports by school
|School||Basketball||Beach Volleyball||Cross Country||Golf||Soccer||Softball||Tennis||Track & Field
|Track & Field
|Volleyball||Total Southland Sports|
|Sam Houston State||10|
|Stephen F. Austin||10|
|Texas A&M–Corpus Christi||10|
Women's varsity sports not sponsored by the Southland Conference which are played by SLC schools:
|Sam Houston State||Southland Bowling League||No|
|Stephen F. Austin||Southland Bowling League||No|
- Women's Bowling - The Southland Conference provides administrative support for the Southland Bowling League, but the SBL operates independently from regular conference operations. The women's bowling league was established in 2015 and currently includes Southland Conference members Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin, plus Arkansas State, Louisiana Tech, Tulane, Valparaiso, Vanderbilt, and Youngstown State.
Former and current players from the Southland that would go on to star in the National Football League include Gary Barbaro, Mike Barber, Fred Barnett, Bill Bergey, Derrick Blaylock, Bubby Brister, Ray Brown, Roger Carr, Mark Carrier, Larry Centers, Bruce Collie, Keith Davis, Fred Dean, Jackie Harris, Stan Humphries, Buford Jordan, Wade Key, Josh McCown, Tim McKyer, Jeff Novak, Kavika Pittman, Mike Quinn, Billy Ryckman, Ricky Sanders, Eugene Seale, Rafael Septién, Terrance Shaw, Marcus Spears, Chad Stanley, Pat Tilley, Jeremiah Trotter, Marvin Upshaw, Lardarius Webb and Spergon Wynn. The Southland was instrumental in founding the Independence Bowl, and the Southland champion served as the automatic home team for that bowl from 1976–1980. On May 21, 2014, the Southland Conference approved the use of instant replay at all its home games becoming the first FCS league to fully commit to having all games utilize instant replay.
Among notable NBA stars attending Southland Conference schools include Karl Malone (Louisiana Tech), Joe Dumars (McNeese State), Scottie Pippen (Central Arkansas), Jeff Foster (Southwest Texas State, now known as Texas State), and Andrew Toney (Southwestern Louisiana, now known as Louisiana).
Former member Louisiana–Monroe (then Northeast Louisiana) advanced to the 1985 NCAA Women's Final Four.
- Southland Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
- Southland Conference Women's Basketball Tournament
- Southland Conference Baseball Tournament
- Southland Conference Softball Tournament
Spending and revenue
Total revenue includes ticket sales, contributions and donations, rights/licensing, student fees, school funds and all other sources including TV income, camp income, food and novelties. Total expenses includes coaching/staff, scholarships, buildings/ground, maintenance, utilities and rental fees and all other costs including recruiting, team travel, equipment and uniforms, conference dues and insurance costs.
|Conference Rank (2017)||National Rank (2017)||Institution||2017 Total Revenue from Athletics||2017 Total Expenses on Athletics|
|3||215||Sam Houston State||$17,913,191||$17,623,293|
|5||244||Stephen F. Austin||$15,518,495||$15,518,495|
|11||318||Texas A&M Corpus Christi||$10,958,225||$10,958,225|
Note: Data from U.S. Department of Education Equity in Athletics Data Analysis Cutting Tool Database. Ranking based on revenue position in selection of records using NCAA Division I-FBS, NCAA Division I-FCS, and NCAA Division I without football criteria. (346 records were retrieved.) OPE Equity in Athletics Data Analysis Cutting Tool used in order to provide ranking for private institutions in the conference.
Departing members in red.
- Texas A&M–Corpus Christi uses off-campus Whataburger Field as their home field for some high-profile games and some tournaments.
- Abilene Christian moved its football program into the new Wildcat Stadium for the 2017 season, following 57 seasons at Shotwell Stadium (which remains in use for local high school games).
- Abilene Christian's new Elmer Gray Stadium opened on April 10, 2015. The stadium is used for both Track & Field and Soccer. The new stadium replaces the original Elmer Gray Stadium, which was demolished to make way for Wildcat Stadium.
Southland Conference Television Network
The Conference began its own syndicated broadcast entity in 2008, the Southland Conference Television Network. It aired in over 25 markets in the league's four-state region, plus on national networks such as Fox College Sports, ESPN GamePlan, and ESPN3. In 2008-09, the network featured 35 broadcasts, and over 30 in each of the next four seasons.
For 2013 and 2014, the syndicated network was restricted to only regular season football games. The remainder of the schedule was available on ESPN3 or regional sports networks, including regular season and tournament basketball as well as championships in soccer, volleyball, softball and baseball. ESPN3 also carried an exclusive package of football games beyond the syndicated network's schedule.
SLCTV dissolved on July 1, 2015. Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, the Southland Conference entered into an agreement with the American Sports Network to syndicate and televise selected games, while also continuing its association with ESPN3. A separate deal will allow for Louisiana-based Cox Sports Television to air select games.
After ASN folded following the 2016-17 academic year, the Southland announced a television agreement with Eleven Sports. During 2017-18, conference-controlled games aired on ESPN3, Eleven Sports, Fox Sports Southwest and Cox Sports Television. For 2018-19, ESPN productions began to be split between ESPN3 and ESPN+ platforms.
|Institution||University System||Endowment||U.S. News
|Abilene Christian University||Not Applicable||$425,000,000||21
|University of Central Arkansas||Not Applicable||$25,952,861||68
|Houston Baptist University||Not Applicable||$90,638,537||73
|University of the Incarnate Word||Not Applicable||$125,271,000||68
|Lamar University||Texas State University System||$106,826,000||RNP
|McNeese State University||University of Louisiana System||$71,001,000||87
|University of New Orleans||University of Louisiana System||$23,250,028||RNP
|Nicholls State University||University of Louisiana System||$8,500,663||87
|Northwestern State University||University of Louisiana System||Not Available||RNP
|Sam Houston State University||Texas State University System||$97,510,000||RNP
|Southeastern Louisiana University||University of Louisiana System||$14,503,193||RNP
|Stephen F. Austin State University||Not Applicable||$81,300,000||75
|Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi||Texas A&M University System||$13,673,273||RNP
- George Becnel (13 July 2015). The Southland Conference: Small College Football, Big Dreams. AuthorHouse. pp. 394, 519. ISBN 978-1-5049-1887-9.
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The University of Texas at Arlington announced today that it has accepted an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) starting on July 1, 2012.
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Opened during the 1993 season, the 500-seat ballpark boasts one of the better playing surfaces in the state.
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Configured for Privateers basketball Lakefront Arena has 8,701 theatre style seats, along with 84 chairback seatsfor the Courtside Krewe, for an official capacity of 8,785.
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Fans will get their first glimpse at the new board and all it has to offer when the Wildcats play their first game in the new stadium on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, against Houston Baptist.
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