Abilene Christian, Incarnate Word to Join Southland Conference, Receive Division I Admission

By Paul Seaver

College basketball at the Division I level got larger on Monday, as both Abilene Christian and Incarnate Word have joined the Southland Conference.

As the ongoing carousel of conference realignment continues to spin, leagues are looking to replace teams and spots that were lost. Texas State, UT-San Antonio, and UT-Arlington have all departed from the league, but now two of the three spots have been filled with these new additions.

The process for the two new schools is simple. They will spend the next five seasons ranked as a Division I transitional program. They will begin playing a Division I schedule during the 2014-15 season and will be fully eligible for the postseason in 2017-18.

Abilene Christian has spent time as a Division I program in the past, yet you have to go all the back to the 1960s. The school was originally part of the Southland Conference during that time.

Located in Abilene, Texas, the school’s mascot is called “Willie the Wildcat” and their colors and purple and white. Due to their transitional process, Wille’s national debut will likely take some time.

As for Incarnate Word, they have a more traditional approach, being known simply as, the Cardinals. The school which was founded in 1881, is located in San Antonio, Texas.

Lamar, which is coached by Pat Knight, the son of legendary coach Bob Knight, won the Southland Conference Tournament title this past March, advancing to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 16 seed.


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