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In an announcement Monday, the Lone Star Conference revealed that it had officially added eight new member institutions into the fold, completing the announced expansion from a few years ago.

Joining Texas A&M University-Commerce into the LSC are Dallas Baptist University, Lubbock Christian University, Oklahoma Christian University, St. Edward’s University, St. Mary’s University, Texas A&M International University, University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, and University of Texas at Tyler. All schools except for UT Tyler are moving from the Heartland Conference, which is now defunct.

This expansion balloons the number of conference members to 19, making the LSC the largest athletic conference in all of NCAA Division II and adding the state of Arkansas into the conference’s sphere of influence.

“This is a historic day for the Lone Star Conference as we welcome eight new members and become the largest and most dynamic conference in NCAA Division II,” LSC Commissioner Jay Poerner said in a statement Monday. “Individually and collectively, our 19 member institutions embody the very best in Division II with a shared commitment to community, academics and athletics excellence.”

The expansion was first announced in the summer of 2017 and only included seven new members. In that time-frame, UT Tyler was added to the roster. None of the new member schools play football, but feature multiple other men’s and women’s sports.

The Lone Star Conference was founded on April 25, 1931. A&M-Commerce (Then known as East Texas State Teachers College) is the only remaining charter member of the LSC.

The Lions have quite a bit of experience playing against these teams, with many of them regular non-conference opponents across multiple sports. 

For basketball and volleyball, the conference is splitting up into three divisions. A&M-Commerce’s division for men’s and women’s basketball will include UT Tyler, Cameron University, Midwestern State University, UA-Fort Smith and Oklahoma Christian. In volleyball, the division remains the same expect for the addition of Texas Woman’s University, which is taking the place of Oklahoma Christian.

Quick Facts

— The UT Tyler Patriots will be participating in their first year of Division II Athletics. The school had previously played in Division III and first achieved full NCAA membership in 2007.

— The Lubbock Christian Chaparral women’s basketball team are the reigning NCAA Division II National Champions following a 95-85 double-overtime victory over Southwestern Oklahoma in the championship game.

— St. Edwards holds the distinction of being the first team to face the A&M-Commerce softball program in 2015. The inaugural doubleheader for the Lion softball team saw A&M-Commerce begin with a 2-0 record after a pair of victories over the Hilltoppers in front of a home crowd

— The addition of Texas A&M International now gives the LSC five members that are a part of the Texas A&M University System along with A&M-Commerce, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Tarleton State University and West Texas A&M University.

— UAFS is only the third Arkansas-based institution to join the LSC. The other two were Ouachita Baptist University and Harding University, which both left the conference in 2000.

— The LSC now has members in four of the top-10 most populous cities in Texas, with members based in San Antonio, Dallas, Austin and Laredo, who are ranked second, third, fourth and tenth, respectively. Oklahoma City, the most populous city in Oklahoma, is now also represented. 

Below is a breakdown of each new member institution.

Dallas Baptist University

Founded: 1898

Enrollment: 4,766

Nickname: Patriots

Location: Dallas, Texas

Sports: Baseball (competes at Division I level), men’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s track and field, women’s volleyball.

Lubbock Christian University

Founded: 1957

Enrollment: 1,775

Nickname: Chaparrals

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Sports: Baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s gold, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, women’s volleyball.

Oklahoma Christian University

Founded: 1950

Enrollment: 2,259

Nickname: Eagles

Location: Oklahoma City, Okla.

Sports: Baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s track and field, softball, men’s and women’s swimming, women’s volleyball (starting in 2020).

St. Edward’s University

Founded: 1877

Enrollment: 4,601

Nickname: Hilltoppers

Location: Austin, Texas

Sports: Baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, softball, women’s volleyball.

St. Mary’s University

Founded: 1852

Enrollment: 2,393

Nickname: Rattlers

Location: San Antonio, Texas

Sports: Baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, softball, women’s volleyball.

Texas A&M International University

Founded: 1969

Enrollment: 7,436

Nickname: Dustdevils

Location: Laredo, Texas

Sports: Baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, women’s volleyball.

University of Arkansas - Fort Smith

Founded: 1928

Enrollment: 6,637

Nickname: Lions

Location: Fort Smith, Ark.

Sports: Baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s volleyball. 

University of Texas at Tyler

Founded: 1971

Enrollment: 10,527

Nickname: Patriots

Location: Tyler, Texas

Sports: Baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field, softball, women’s volleyball.

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