FRISCO, Texasn— The Southland Conference added its second new member in a week Friday, announcing that the University of New Orleans will join the league, effective, July 1, 2013.
SLC officials announced earlier in the week that Incarnate Word of San Antonio would join in the same time frame.
Currently a Division I independent program that competed in the Sun Belt Conference until 2010, New Orleans will participate in 14 of the Southland’s 17 sponsored championships, including men’s sports basketball, baseball, cross country, golf, tennis, and indoor and outdoor track and field. On the women’s side, UNO will compete in basketball, cross country, golf, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball. In 2013-14, the athletic program will receive Southland schedules in all sports, joining men’s tennis that currently is an affiliate member of the conference.
"Finding a conference home in the Southland is significant for the University of New Orleans because it will allow us to reestablish our proud Division I athletic tradition," said UNO president Peter J. Fos.
"This is a major urban and research institution that clearly brings added value to the league," said SLC commissioner Tom Burnett. "In addition to strong academic performance throughout the institution, the athletic department has always enjoyed a historic record of competitive success."
UNO, which was originally called the Louisiana State University in New Orleans, opened its doors in 1958 on the city’s Lake Pontchartrain shoreline as the South’s first racially integrated public university. In just over a decade of existence, UNO became Louisiana’s second-largest university, surpassing 10,000 in enrollment in 1969.
UNO surpassed 17,000 in enrollment before the campus suffered significant damage during the landfall and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. However, the institution quickly resumed classes 42 days after the storm passed – making it the only university in New Orleans to reopen during the fall semester. While enrollment dropped significantly, the university was able to streamline operations and refocus efforts on key programs that are nationally noted or ranked while still providing the best possible education for the people of the greater New Orleans area and beyond.