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Report: Lamar leaving WAC to re-join Southland

You... you can do that?

Lamar will leave the WAC to re-join the Southland Conference, according to multiple reports on Thursday.

The first thought for many in the college sports community: You.... you can do that?

The Cardinals were part of a brigade of four Southland schools that joined the WAC last year, moving west alongside Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin and Abilene Christian. (Tarleton, another Texas school, moved up from Division II in 2020.) McNeese also considered joining the WAC, but instead worked out a deal with the Southland where its Lake Charles, La., campus will be the sun that the Southland revolves around

Lamar announced the move on Jan. 14, 2021, and joined the rebooted conference last fall. It didn't go well. The Cardinals went 2-9, with one win coming against the not-officially-recognized North American University, which wasn't recognized by the league. In WAC play, Lamar went 0-4 with all but one loss coming by 21 points or more. The Cardinal men's basketball team also went winless in WAC play.

Located in Beaumont, Texas, Lamar was always an awkward fit in the WAC. A short drive to the Louisiana border, rejoining the Southland will put the program at the center of the Southland's footprint, as opposed to being the easternmost school in the WAC. 

In fact, all nine present and future campuses will be within a 5-hour drive of Lamar's Beaumont campus, including Division II call-up Texas A&M-Commerce.

The Southland is also, to put it bluntly, a better competitive fit for the program. The university re-launched football in 2010 after a 30-plus year absence and has enjoyed two winning seasons since. 

The WAC has a stated goal of re-joining FBS by the end of this decade.

Lamar is the third school to bail on the WAC shortly after joining. New Mexico State and Sam Houston were part of the wave of FBS realignment kicked up by the SEC's annexation of Texas and Oklahoma last summer; the Aggies and Bearkats will join Conference USA on July 1, 2023.

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