Western Athletic Conference (WAC) commissioner Jeff Hurd welcomed five new members into the league at a late-morning press conference that was held Thursday at NRG Center in Houston.
Four of the new entrees, Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston, Lamar and Abilene Christian — the “Texas 4” — are currently members of the Southland Conference.
The fifth institute to accept an invitation was Southern Utah, who is a now a member of the Big Sky Conference.
The new blood will enable the WAC to add football to its sports menu — the league last had a football champion crowned in 2012.
The WAC will compete in the Football Championship Subdivision.
In addition to the universities that joined the WAC on Thursday, Dixie St. (Utah), New Mexico St., and Tarleton St. (Stephenville) sponsor football.
SFA president Dr. Scott Gordan and athletic director Ryan Ivey were in attendance for the historic announcement.
"Joining the WAC is a tremendous opportunity to elevate our athletic program and competition", said SFA president Dr. Scott Gordon in a media release. "This move will increase our institutional profile, increase our exposure in some of the fastest growing population areas in the country and at the same time enhance our revenue. The strong commitment of the WAC to academics and athletics as well as our ability to keep our natural rivalries and start new ones is exciting."
The current set up has a 13-team that will compete in two divisions.
Other WAC member schools include California Baptist (Riverside, Calif.), Chicago St., Grand Canyon University (Phoenix), Seattle University, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Utah Valley University (Orem, Utah)
The “Texas 4” submitted a departure date from the Southland Conference of June 30, 2022. There is a possibility that could be moved up to June 30, 2021, however.