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ACU among three universities in SLC study

Presidents of the NCAA Division I Southland Conference met yesterday to discuss business, including a search committee focused on the managed growth of the 49-year-old league. Division II-affiliated Abilene Christian University was a founding member of the SLC in 1963.

“I received a phone call late Wednesday afternoon from Southland Conference commissioner Tom Burnett, informing me of the league presidents’ desire to make a campus visit to three universities, including ACU,” said Abilene Christian president Dr. Phil Schubert (’91). “This is the next step in our process of exploring options in terms of NCAA affiliation and in determining what is best for Abilene Christian. We have not received an invitation to join the Southland Conference and haven’t been told one is forthcoming. We look forward to showing our campus to the search committee, and to the discussions that will take place when committee members are in Abilene.”
Two other institutions are in the SLC study: University of the Incarnate Word (located in San Antonio) and the University of New Orleans.
“The Board of Directors has spent a considerable amount of time since last summer reviewing all possible membership options available to the conference,” said SLC commissioner Burnett. “It’s been a deliberate, thoughtful exercise that has allowed the board to consider what’s best for the long-term viability of the association, not just a quick fix. The presidents were very clear in expressing their interest in learning more about these institutions, and they look forward to these visits.”
“We are pleased to take the next step in our NCAA affiliation discussion. I’m looking forward in the next few weeks to the Southland Conference search committee getting a close-up look at our great university,” said ACU director of athletics Jared Mosley (’00). “While we are excited about this news, we also look forward to the upcoming 2012-13 season in the Lone Star Conference and NCAA Division II.”
Three SLC universities are planning to join other conferences: Texas State University, The University of Texas at San Antonio and The University of Texas at Arlington are leaving July 1, 2012, for a one-year stay in the Western Athletics Conference. In July 2013, UTA and TSU will then move to the Sun Belt Conference and UTSA will become a member of Conference USA.
The SLC recently invited Oral Roberts University and Houston Baptist University to join its league, which is headquartered in the Dallas suburb of Frisco.
An earlier post on this blog, ACU Assesses Legacy, Future of Wildcat Athletics, looked at the landscape surrounding Abilene Christian’s two-year study of its successful intercollegiate athletics program, historically one of the most well-rounded in the country. Only four institutions – USC, Stanford, UCLA and swimming powerhouse Kenyon College – have won more NCAA national team championships than the Wildcats.