RICHARDSON, Texas – Rogers State University is one of eight schools joining the Lone Star Conference as a full member in fall 2019 as the conference on Wednesday announced its expansion to 19 member institutions.

The LSC Council of Presidents voted unanimously this summer to offer full membership to Rogers State and seven other institutions, including UA Fort Smith, Dallas Baptist University, Lubbock Christian, Oklahoma Christian, St. Edward’s, St. Mary’s and Texas A&M International.

“This is an exciting time for the Lone Star Conference,” LSC Commissioner Jay Poerner said. “The addition of these eight schools makes the LSC the largest and most dynamic conference in NCAA Division II. These 19 institutions will represent the very best in Division II through a shared commitment to excellence in academics, athletics and student-athlete development. I am thankful to the leadership of the LSC Council of Presidents for its guidance in leading this expansion effort.”

With 19 members, the LSC will become the biggest conference in NCAA Division II. Founded in 1931, the Lone Star Conference started as a five-member conference of Texas-based schools and with the latest expansion will become a 19-member league with 13 members in Texas, three in Oklahoma, two in New Mexico and one in Arkansas. Current members of the Lone Star Conference include Angelo State, Cameron, Eastern New Mexico, Midwestern State, Tarleton State, Texas A&M-Commerce, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Texas Woman’s, UT Permian Basin, West Texas A&M and Western New Mexico.

RSU Director of Athletics Chris Ratcliff said the move allows the university to compete at the highest level of NCAA Division II competition in both athletics and academics.

“RSU strives to compete for national championships while graduating its student-athletes, and we feel by joining the Lone Star Conference we can accomplish these goals,” Ratcliff said. “We are excited for the next chapter of RSU Athletics. The Lone Star Conference’s reputation for championship level success is unparalleled in NCAA Division II. The Lone Star Conference’s reputation for academic achievement is admired by all throughout the nation. By joining the LSC, we will be able to provide our student-athletes every opportunity to compete at the highest level of Division II competition.”

RSU President Dr. Larry Rice said the Lone Star Conference, like RSU, maintains deep commitments to student-athletes development focused on academic excellence, sportsmanship, ethical conduct and community service.

“The Lone Star Conference allows student-athletes to compete at the highest levels, while providing them a strong base from which to excel in the classroom and be productive citizens in their respective communities,” Rice said. “This mirrors our principles at RSU, and we look forward to a productive partnership with the premiere conference in NCAA Division II.”

The LSC conducts conference championships in 17 sports (eight men and nine women). Men's championships include football, cross country, basketball, baseball, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, golf and tennis. Women's titles are determined in volleyball, soccer, cross country, basketball, softball, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, tennis and golf.

The Hillcats will continue to sponsor 14 NCAA Division II sports, including men's and women's soccer, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, men's and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field.

Adding the eight institutions marks the LSC’s first expansion since UT Permian Basin and Western New Mexico joined the conference in 2016. The league has had 38 institutions compete as members over its 86-year history.

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