Sources have confirmed to Dave Campbell’s Texas Basketball that Sul Ross State is expected to transition to NCAA Division II and join the Lone Star Conference on July 1, 2024. The Lobos have been charter members of the American Southwest Conference since 1996. The decision marks a return to the LSC for the Lobos, who was a member of the conference from 1950-1976 when the LSC competed in NAIA.
The LSC’s basketball membership has been fluid over the last few years. The conference expanded from 11 members to 19 with the addition of Dallas Baptist, Lubbock Christian, Oklahoma Christian, St. Edward’s, St. Mary’s, Texas A&M International, and Arkansas-Fort Smith from the Heartland Conference in 2019.
In addition, the conference saw two members leave for a transition to NCAA Division I beginning with Tarleton departing in 2020, followed by Texas A&M-Commerce following last season. The LSC will again have an odd number of teams and likely reorganize their divisions with the addition of the Lobos. Dallas Baptist only competes in men’s basketball, and Texas Woman’s only fields a women’s team in basketball.
The American Southwest Conference will be trimmed to eight members that sponsor basketball in 2024, with McMurry departing to join the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
The ASC has lost two other members over the last three years. Louisiana College decided to move back to NAIA and join the Sooner Athletic Conference in 2021, and Belhaven departed for the Collegiate Conference of the South after last year.