Sam Houston will be joining the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) after an announcement was made Thursday morning that they would be leaving the Southland Conference (SLC) officially beginning July 1, 2021.
This move coincides with three other SLC schools joining the WAC with Sam Houston; Abilene Christian University, Lamar University and rival Stephen F. Austin University. Southern Utah University will also be joining the WAC as they will be leaving the Big Sky Conference a year later in 2022.
This transition will end a 34-year run in the SLC which began back in 1987.
“Since I got here in 1982, this is the fourth conference movement that I have been a part of,” athletic director Bobby Williams said. “It’s so exciting to be a part of that.”
With this move, the WAC will be reinstating football for the first time since 2012.
The WAC will have a total of 13 programs once all SLC programs move over in the fall, joining New Mexico State University.
Dr. Alisa White was also at the press conference to help introduce Sam Houston to the WAC.
All sports outside of football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball will be divided into divisions. Sam Houston will be placed in the southwest division, which will include all Texas institutions coming from the SLC, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Tarleton State University.
“The opportunity to bring five quality institutions into the conference, to significantly strengthen the WAC’s national basketball brand and other championship sport profiles, and to bring football back under the WAC umbrella is one that made sense,” WAC Commissioner Jeff Hurd said.
“This move to the WAC will bring a fresh vision for our department and create new revenue stream opportunities while expanding our regional and national profit,” Williams said.
“It’s an exciting time and a great time to be a Bearkat,” Williams said.