FRISCO, Texas – The Southland Conference and the University of the Incarnate Word announced Monday afternoon that the institution will become a member of the league, effective July 1, 2013. The membership will coincide with the San Antonio-based institution's four-year transition to NCAA Division I.
Currently a member of the Division II Lone Star Conference, Incarnate Word will begin the four-year shift to Division I with the Southland Conference's assistance and oversight. It is expected that UIW will begin counting as an NCAA Division I team for scheduling purposes in 2014-15, and will be fully eligible for NCAA championship events in 2017-18.
Incarnate Word will participate in all of the Southland's 17 sponsored championships, including men's sports baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, tennis, and indoor and outdoor track and field. On the women's side, UIW will compete in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball. In 2013-14, the athletic program will receive Southland schedules in all sports, except football, as the UIW program will begin league play in the fall of 2014.
"The Southland Conference Board of Directors is very pleased to extend an offer of membership to the University of the Incarnate Word," said Dr. Baker Pattillo, Southland Board Chairman and the president at Stephen F. Austin State University. "Further, we are honored to learn of the institution's acceptance of our offer, and we are gratified by the approval of the UIW Board of Trustees and the visionary leadership of the university's administration. The Southland presidents look forward to a beneficial partnership with UIW, its athletic program and the San Antonio community."
"We are truly blessed to be joining such an outstanding conference like the Southland," said UIW president Dr. Louis Agnese Jr. "We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with the Southland Conference that will be equally rewarding to our students and the residents of San Antonio."