SFA accepts bid to join Southland Conference for 2024-25 season

NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s Department of Athletics has accepted an invitation to join the Southland Conference as a full-time member effective July 1.

“We are in a dynamic, new era of college athletics,” said Michael McBroom, SFA’s director of athletics. “We need stability but also bold and strategic thinking to ensure a bright future for SFA. The SLC is a conference on the rise, with visionary leadership and a strategic plan that aligns with our own goals for our athletics program and the university. This affiliation puts us in an incredibly competitive and historic athletic community, aligns us with regional peers in Texas and Louisiana and allows us a greater opportunity to engage with our alumni, fans and prospective students across the entire region. This was an easy decision for us in that the SLC offered us an opportunity to boldly move forward with confidence and excitement.”

The acceptance into the SLC is a homecoming of sorts, reuniting SFA with the conference where they spent 34 seasons and amassed 111 conference championships. Women’s basketball and volleyball led the way with 18 conference titles, followed by soccer with 14, and women’s indoor and outdoor track with 10 titles each. Women’s cross-country has won eight titles; men’s basketball and men’s cross-country have won five; football, softball and men’s indoor track each have four; and men’s and women’s golf each have three conference titles.

Overall, SFA has earned 285 individual conference titles between men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s cross-country, and men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field.

“We are thrilled to announce SFA’s membership in the Southland Conference, which marks a significant step forward for our athletics program and our university as a whole,” said Dr. Neal Weaver, SFA president. “Joining the SLC not only provides our student-athletes with an enhanced collegiate experience and exposure but also aligns with our commitment to excellence in all areas. We look forward to fostering new and old rivalries, strengthening our community engagement, and showcasing the incredible talent and spirit of our student body.”

SFA’s tenure in the SLC began in 1984 and saw the Jacks become one of the top athletic programs in the conference. SFA aims to continue its high standard for athletic competition and academic performance.

The Lumberjacks will compete in the SLC in football, baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, men’s and women’s golf, volleyball, soccer, softball, beach volleyball and tennis.

Bowling will continue to compete in Conference USA.

“It is a privilege to welcome a proven winner both athletically and academically in SFA to the Southland Conference,” said Chris Grant, SLC commissioner. “As we continue to see a trending evolution in college athletics, we are proud to continue our upward momentum and build upon our rich geographic footprint with an institution that shares like-minded priorities that put the student-athlete first. SFA, both historically and currently in its leadership. has shown a commitment to success in its athletic department that strengthens our league and enhances the competitive spirit within our conference.”

SFA’s inclusion will bring the SLC’s membership to 12 institutions, including seven Texas-based institutions and five in Louisiana. SLC institutions include Houston Christian University, University of the Incarnate Word, Lamar University, McNeese State University, The University of New Orleans, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, Texas A&M University-Commerce, and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will also join the SLC July 1.

SFA’s return to the Southland Conference will dramatically decrease the amount of travel for student-athletes. This initiative also will decrease the number of class days student-athletes will miss as well decrease travel expenses that will be reinvested in the student-athlete experience and provide a greater economic impact for Nacogdoches and East Texas.

Additionally, teams will be able to play all of their conference games in the Central time zone and be closer to home, which will allow for better rest and recovery for student-athletes.

The smaller conference footprint allows more opportunities for families, alumni and future student-athletes to attend SFA games at home and on the road. Competition in this footprint will help the university enhance its brand, image and marketability as it looks to grow enrollment and alumni engagement.

The SLC was founded in 1963. Current conference full-time members have an average tenure of 25 years, providing remarkable stability.
With an office based in Frisco, the SLC is the reason the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision National Championship is contested in Texas, hosting the football title game in Frisco since 2010, and has secured the championship game through 2025. Additionally, the SLC and has made its impact on the NFL, with 11 alumni on NFL rosters in 2021 and seven in 2022.
SLC teams have won 18 games in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, including TAMU Corpus Christi last year. This season, the MSU entered March Madness as a 12-seed, the highest seed a SLC member has earned since 2015. The SLC has sent 16 players to the NBA, including SFA’s Kevon Harris, who currently plays for the Orlando Magic.

The SLC changed its basketball scheduling matrix this year, playing men’s conference contests on Saturdays and Mondays and women’s contests on Thursdays and Saturdays. Conference institutions will host men’s and women’s basketball doubleheaders on Saturdays.

The Monday games allow Southland Conference institutions and men’s basketball student-athletes to receive increased exposure by competing on a day with fewer sporting events, leading to more games on ESPN linear networks and increased viewership on ESPN+. Additionally, with men’s and women’s teams not competing at the same time allows teams and fans to watch both games.

This increased exposure has led to SLC institutions to be featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays 18 times this season.

For more information, contact SFA Athletics at (936) 468-3501.


Stephen F. Austin State University, the newest member of The University of Texas System, began a century ago as a teachers’ college in Texas’ oldest town, Nacogdoches. Today, it has grown into a regional institution comprising six colleges — business, education, fine arts, forestry and agriculture, liberal and applied arts, and sciences and mathematics. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, SFA enrolls approximately 11,000 students while providing the academic breadth of a state university with the personalized attention of a private school. The main campus encompasses 421 acres that include 37 academic facilities, nine residence halls, and 68 acres of recreational trails that wind through its six gardens. The university offers more than 80 bachelor’s degrees, more than 40 master’s degrees and four doctoral degrees covering more than 120 areas of study. Learn more at sfasu.edu.