19 in ’19

LSC to add eight new schools


Courtesy / Hilltopper Athletics

BJ Laudermilk, Sports Editor

At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, the Lone Star Conference will add eight of the nine current members of the Heartland Conference, expanding to nineteen league members, the largest in NCAA Division II.

A unanimous vote this summer by the LSC Council of Presidents offered 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.

“This is an exciting time for the Lone Star Conference,” LSC Commissioner Jay Poerner said. “The addition of these eight schools makes the LSC the largest and most dynamic conference in NCAA Division II.”

Five of the new schools come from the state of Texas, two are additions from Oklahoma, and the other will be the lone conference representative from the state of Arkansas. Come 2019, there will be 13 Texas members, three Oklahoma members, two New Mexico members, and one Arkansas member.

“These 19 institutions will represent the very best in Division II through a shared commitment to excellence in academics, athletics and student-athlete development,” Poerner said.

Just last year, the conference expanded by two, adding the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and Western New Mexico University. In its 86-year history, the Lone Star Conference has had 38 institutions compete as conference members, and in two years’ time, the league will have half of its overall membership. A&M-Commerce is the only founding member of the LSC remaining in the conference to this day.

“We are very proud to be a new member of what we consider to be arguably the best conference in the country,” University of Arkansas- Fort Smith Athletics Director Curtis Janz said. “We look forward to being a member of a conference that strives for excellence in every aspect from the conference office to communication and competition. I believe we can compete at a very high level in the Lone Star Conference and have our student-athletes experience the very best of NCAA Division II.”