SFA preparing for July move to WAC

Updated: Jun. 20, 2021 at 10:45 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The days of the SFA athletic department in the Southland Conference are limited.

On July 1 the university will officially be part of the Western Athletic Conference. The team will be heading to the league along with fellow Southland schools, Sam Houston State, Lamar and Abilene Christian.

The move announcement was made January 14. It was a year earlier than planned. The Texas 4, as they have been labeled on social media, requested to end their relationships with the Southland after the 2021-22 seasons. The remaining Southland members voted to end their memberships after this year.

”The timeline has been sped up for us,” Director of Athletics Ryan Ivey said. “It is just now condensed instead of the luxury of taxing more time to go through everything but it is all fun. I get to work in college athletics and that is fun. I get to help mold young student-athletes.”

Work is being done to prepare for the move to the WAC. Crews are trying to get caught up and finish the new basketball performance center. Weather has caused a delay but it should be fully complete by mid-September. The court inside the William R. Johnson Coliseum will see a makeover A new turf field and track are being installed at Homer Bryce Stadium. When it comes to the teams, the coaches are trying to keep everything the same while they handle all the behind the scenes work to get a schedule put together quicker than originally planned.

“There have been lots of meetings,” SFA men’s basketball coach Kyle Keller said. “We have been looking at the travel and it will be further this year. It will be different for sure and different styles of play. It is still basketball and we still think you have to win in the paint.”

“We had our coaches meeting three weeks ago and it got more real because you are in a room with new coaches and new administrations,” SFA women’s basketball coach Mark Kellogg said. “There was some excitement when you see who we are playing and where we are going.”

The move to the WAC will end a relationship with the Southland Conference that SFA has maintained since 1987. Some rivalries will live on with Sam Houston heading west as well but others will change. This year there will be no Battle for Chief Caddo with SFA and Northwestern State not playing.

”It is a chance for all of us to come together and say, ‘alright what haven’t we gotten before that we really want and what can we do now to position ourselves to do that,’” Ivey said. “Really it is a lot of strategic thinking and forward thinking as well.”

It is forward thinking that in the distant future could see SFA on an even bigger national stage, such as the FBS football stage.

There are going to be some things to look at from a financial commitment but we are in a place now where it is feasible to make that move that wasn’t so in the past,” SFA football coach Colby Carthel said.

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