Stay or Go – McNeese Announces Conference Alignment Decision
Since 1972 the McNeese Cowboys have been members in good standing of the Southland Conference. Recently, with many college football teams announcing plans to join other conferences or form new leagues many in the Lake Area had wondered if the Cowboys might be considering making a similar move.
There were reports that McNeese was being considered as a candidate to join the WAC or Western Athletic Conference. You might recall there was a point in time when the WAC actually had some good football teams. BYU, Boise State, Arizona, Arizona State, Rice, TCU, Wyoming, and SMU have all been a part of that conference's storied past.
However, that was then and this is now. In 2012 the WAC opted out as far as college football was concerned. That's probably why so many member schools moved on to other conferences. But it was announced in January that the league would be bringing back football. Which would certainly make the conference more attractive to member schools.
So, which would it be for the Cowboys? They've been members of Southland for decades yet many of their former Southland Conference foes had already announced they were jumping ship for the WAC. Among the former Southland schools that already announced their intentions were Abilene Christian, Sam Houston State, Lamar, and Stephen F. Austin.
Yesterday, in a joint announcement with the Southland Conference officials with McNeese State told the assembled media that the University would remain as part of the Southland Conference and continue to compete in the Football Championship Series.
As you might expect the announcement was met with a lot of support from Southland Conference member schools and Southland Conference Administrators. Plus, it was announced that the Cowboys and Cowgirls athletic teams would be hosting several big conference events in the coming years.
We're not sure if the events such as hosting the men's and women's basketball tournaments, as well as the Southland Conference baseball and softball tournaments were added to the conversation to sweeten the deal but regardless the decision to stay will be a financial boon for Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana.
It was also announced the Southland Conference Media Days will be returning to Lake Charles. In fact, the city will host the event for the next five years.
I think McNeese Athletics and the Southland are a good fit. The competition among member schools is always great. The league takes care of its teams. And, I think if you really consider all the travel and the expense that jumping to the WAC would have added I believe the powers that be at the University made the best decision they could possibly make.
Speaking of McNeese and football, the Pokes will be at Houston Baptist on Saturday. Kickoff from Huskey Stadium in Houston is set for 2 pm.