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Conference realignment continues to spin at the FCS level

With less than two months until opening kickoff, the WAC and Southland have to rip up their schedules. Again.

While the FBS world waits for the Big Ten and Notre Dame to make their next moves (or not), the globe continues to spin at the FCS level.

On Monday, Lamar announced it will rejoin the Southland Conference for the 2022-23 academic year, a year earlier than previously announced. The move includes all 17 Cardinal teams.

Lamar was scheduled to open its season Sept. 1 at Abilene Christian, a WAC conference opponent. That game now will not happen.

The Beaumont, Texas, based school is the second Lone Star school to U-turn out of the re-booted WAC and re-join the Southland. Late last month, Incarnate Word announced it would not join the WAC as previously planned and instead remain in the Southland.

Lamar was part of a group of five schools to play in the WAC's "first" season, going 2-9 overall and 0-7 in conference play. Along with the defections of UIW and Lamar, the WAC has also lost Sam Houston to Conference USA, the end of a long chain of reactions created by the SEC's annexation of Texas and Oklahoma. 

The Southland Conference very nearly split apart last fall as part of those moves, but remained viable thanks to a deal it struck with McNeese to play basically all its conference tournaments on the Cowboys' campus.

With its universe now orbiting around Lake Charles, La., the Southland has now picked up an old member less than an hour's drive across the Texas border. Lamar had been a member of the SLC upon re-launching its program in 2010 before playing the 2021 season in the WAC.

"We are fired up at the enthusiasm Lamar University is showing in their accelerated return to competition in the Southland," said Commissioner Chris Grant. "It's another sign of the impact of our conference's focus on the student-athlete experience and our truly collaborative approach to leadership that recognizes the unique value of each school. Welcome back, Big Red!"

The WAC had already struck a scheduling agreement with the ASUN because neither league has enough members to play a full schedule on its own. Now that alliance is down one more.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.

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