Sports

Ohio Valley, Southland conferences form partnership

McNeese State’s Isaiah Chambers makes the stop on Lamar during their March 13 Southland Conference matchup at Cowboy Stadium.
source Rick Hickman

Two conferences struggling to find an identity and stay relevant on the college football landscape are forming a partnership.

The Ohio Valley and Southland conferences announced Monday plans for a football scheduling alliance between the two leagues for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The two commissioners, Tom Burnett of the Southland and Beth DeBauche of the OVC, made the announcement jointly.

Teams from each league will fill non-conference dates with games from the other Football Championship Subdivision league. Each will play one game at home and one away, with a focus on competitive balance and reasonable travel.

This will stop the Southland from having to play three league teams twice in one season, like they were forced to do this year. The Western Athletic Conference and Atlantic Sun formed an alliance this season on the FCS level after five SLC clubs left in June for those two leagues.

“I think this is a good thing for us,” said McNeese Athletic Director Heath Schroyer. “It allows us to play like teams and not have to play other conference schools twice in one year. That was never going to be sustainable.

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“Playing other FCS opponents and having new teams to bring in should help in scheduling and bring in new rivals who are in a similar situation.”

Schroyer is headed to Dallas Tuesday for conference meetings when more details about the alliance will be discussed.

“We greatly anticipate the possibilities of a beneficial partnership with the Ohio Valley Conference,” said Burnett in a release. “The Southland presidents and athletic directors have found this to be an exciting competitive opportunity with their OVC peers, and we all look forward to some outstanding and meaningful FCS crossover games during the next two seasons. We all appreciate the strong level of interest and cooperation between our two leagues.”

“Our Presidents, Chancellors and Athletic Directors have enthusiastically supported this alliance,” said DeBauche. “We are delighted to work together to promote one another and provide a quality student-athlete experience. This partnership strengthens not only both football leagues, but the FCS overall with quality non-conference matchups. Given the changing Division I landscape, this demonstrates ways that conferences can collaborate to support one another.”

The two Conferences have combined for four FCS National Championships and more than 100 playoff wins since the subdivision was formed in 1978.

OVC

Eastern Illinois

Murray State

Southeast Missouri State

Tennessee State

Tennessee Technological

University of Tennessee at Martin

SLC

Houston Baptist

Incarnate Word

McNeese State

Nicholls State

Northwestern State

Southeastern Louisiana

Texas A&M-Commerce

Written by Jim Gazzolo

Categories: Sports

Tagged as: , , ,

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