Post Classifieds

LSC realignment may end divisional format

By Caleb Slinkard
On July 26, 2010

After months of discussion and debate surrounding the future of the Big 12, Pac-10 and numerous other NCAA Bowl Division conferences, the Lone Star Conference will have a shake-up of its own. Three Oklahoma-based schools- Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Southwestern Oklahoma State University and East Central University- are leaving the LSC to join with six Arkansas schools and create a new Division II conference. While the name and headquarters of this new conference are unknown, the schools plan to petition the NCAA to create the conference.

LSC Commissioner Stan Wagnon was confident that the Lone Star Conference will remain strong.

"I feel strongly that a solid core of members will emerge from these changes, and my focus at this point is to assist those members in making significant strides toward becoming the nation's premier NCAA Division II conference," Wagnon said.

The moves do raise several questions for the Lone Star Conference, which may look at removing the divisional format.

"In the past few months leading up to these recent developments, the conference has been considering a move away from the divisional model with hopes of bringing about more unity and a streamlined identity that is more attractive from branding and marketing perspectives," Wagnon said. "Historically, the conference has never fully embraced the divisional concept. The conference implemented divisions in 1997 and applied that model to six of its 16 sports, and today we are using the divisional model in only four sports: football, men's basketball, women's basketball and softball."

The six Arkansas schools are the University of Arkansas-Monticello, Arkansas Tech, Harding, Henderson State, Ouachita Baptist and Southern Arkansas, all of which are currently members of the Gulf Coast Conference. According to a press release by Southwestern Oklahoma State University, the universities "plan to submit a conference strategic plan, a conference constitution and conference by-laws to the NCAA by Dec. 1, 2010."

"The intent of the conference is to group together similar institutions in terms of budgets and goals," said the presidents, chancellors and directors of athletics from the universities in a joint statement. "Furthermore, the conference is intended to be made up of universities that field an intercollegiate football program. Our most important goals in this new endeavor are to limit time away from class and limit our travel costs."

The membership changes will not affect the 2010-11 season. The universities are under obligation to the LSC until June 30th, 2012 but could leave earlier.

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