RICHARDSON, Texas (August 30, 2017) – The Lone Star Conference will expand to 19 member institutions as league officials announced Tuesday that eight schools have accepted invitations to join the LSC in the fall of 2019, including Lubbock Christian University.
"We eagerly anticipate joining the Lone Star Conference in 2019, as we work to continue to provide our student athletes with opportunities to compete at the highest levels of NCAA Division II," said LCU President Tim Perrin. "LCU has a remarkable record of athletic success and this is an exciting next step for the university. At the same time, we are most grateful for the Heartland Conference and for the wonderful associations we have enjoyed there."
The LSC Council of Presidents voted unanimously this summer to offer full membership to the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, Dallas Baptist University, Lubbock Christian University, Oklahoma Christian University, Rogers State University, St. Edward's University, St. Mary's University, and Texas A&M International University.
"We look forward to collaborating on and off the athletic field knowing that our student athletes will benefit from this expansion," said Texas Woman's Chancellor Carine M. Feyten, chair of the LSC President's Council.
With 19 members, the LSC will become the biggest conference in NCAA Division II. The LSC, founded on April 25, 1931, started as a five-member conference of Texas-based schools and with the latest expansion will become a 19-member league with 13 members in Texas, three in Oklahoma, two in New Mexico, and one in Arkansas.
"This is an exciting time for the Lone Star Conference. The addition of these eight schools makes the LSC the largest and most dynamic conference in NCAA Division II. These nineteen institutions will represent the very best in Division II through a shared commitment to excellence in academics, athletics and student-athlete development," said LSC Commissioner Jay Poerner. "I am thankful to the leadership of the LSC Council of Presidents for its guidance in leading this expansion effort."
LCU made the move in 1970-71 to move from the NJCAA to the NAIA. They were NAIA members until 2013, spending the final 19 seasons as members of the Sooner Athletic Conference. LCU transitioned to NCAA Div. II and claimed full membership with postseason eligibility in 2015 (2015-2016 season) as members of the Heartland Conference. The Chaps and Lady Chaps first played a Heartland Conference schedule in the fall of 2013 (2013-2014 season), and since then have claimed first place finishes and conference regular season titles in men's soccer (2013), women's basketball (2013-2014, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016), baseball (2014 and 2017) and softball (2014 and 2015). Men's and Womens Basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's golf, baseball and softball have each qualified (or had qualifiers) for NCAA postseason play in the two seasons LCU has been eligible for NCAA postseason. Women's basketball hit the highest plateau in 2016, claiming the program's first NCAA Division II National Championship title.
"We are very grateful to the Heartland Conference, it's administrative staff, and all the institutions that have been a part of this league for the past four seasons," said LCU's director of athletics Paul Hise. "The conference supported our institution as we transitioned into NCAA Division II and helped guide us through the entire process. As we look forward to the 2019-2020 season, we are excited to compete in one of the premier Division II conferences in the nation. We believe the move into the Lone Star Conference will give our student-athletes and coaching staff some great opportunities to compete at the highest level while also creating new rivalries. We believe this change will also add to the overall student-athlete experience at LCU and we are looking forward to being a part of this historic conference."
Adding the eight institutions marks the LSC's first expansion since UT Permian Basin and Western New Mexico joined the conference in 2016. The league has had 38 institutions compete as members over its 86-year history.
The LSC conducts conference championships in 17 sports (eight men and nine women). Men's championships include football, cross country, basketball, baseball, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, golf and tennis. Women's titles are determined in volleyball, soccer, cross country, basketball, softball, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, tennis and golf.