From Lion Athletics
Texas A&M University-Commerce is officially a member of the Southland Conference as it reclassifies from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I on Friday.
After accepting an invitation to join the Southland Conference and NCAA Division I on September 28, 2021, the Lions begin the four-year transition process to garnering full-time Division I status.
The Lions join the nine-team Southland Conference along with fellow Texas schools Houston Baptist, Incarnate Word, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as well as McNeese, New Orleans, Nicholls, Northwestern State, and Southeastern Louisiana. Lamar returns to the Southland in 2023-24.
All 14 Lion varsity sports and individual athletes are immediately eligible to compete for SLC Championships.
The first official Division I contest is scheduled for August 18, when the Lion soccer team heads to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to take on Oral Roberts. The Lion soccer team also hosts the first Division I contest on the A&M-Commerce campus against Louisiana-Monroe on August 21.
Though no Lion team nor any individual student-athlete is eligible to compete for NCAA Championships during the four-year transition process, select teams are eligible to compete in alternate postseason invitational tournaments, should they meet the qualifying standards set forth by the organizing entity of each postseason invitational tournament.
The volleyball team is eligible to compete in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC), the men’s basketball team is eligible for the College Basketball Invitational Tournament (CBI), the women’s basketball team is eligible for the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), and the softball team is eligible for the National Invitational Softball Championship (NISC).
A charter member of the Lone Star Conference, the Lions are changing conferences for the first time since the formation of the then five-team Lone Star Conference in 1931. All four other teams in the original iteration of the LSC, now compete in Division I as well.
Across the country, four other schools begin their transition process from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I this year: Lindenwood (Mo.), Queens (N.C.), Southern Indiana, and Stonehill (Mass.). All four institutions along with A&M-Commerce become full Division I members in 2026-27.