UIW makes last-minute decision to stay in SLC

Published 11:40 am Saturday, June 25, 2022

By Jim Gazzolo

Special to the American Press

Seven months after announcing its intent on exiting the Southland Conference, Incarnate Word had a change of heart.

The San Antonio school on Friday morning informed Commissioner Chris Grant of the school’s decision to stay in the SLC, a week before the July 1 move to the Western Athletic Conference was to become official.

“In the ever-changing landscape of Division I athletics, change can happen fast, but it has always been our goal to find stability, the best fit and the best opportunities for our student-athletes,” UIW President Dr. Thomas M. Evans said. “Today’s announcement is just another example of putting those interests first.

“Our decision to remain in the Southland Conference will optimize class time with competition time and time in our community and allow our students to once again excel in all those areas.”

Incarnate Word’s flip is a big win for the SLC.

“This is huge for us,” Grant said. “It shows the hard work of our board, of our athletic directors and people in the Southland.

“Incarnate Word has been a great partner for us and we are more than excited to have them staying.”

The Cardinals are expected to play a full Southland schedule, including football, this season. UIW is the defending conference football champion, winning the program’s first title last fall with a 7-1 record. It’s lone loss was in Lake Charles to McNeese State.

Roberts-Ivy’s most recent role was that of senior associate athletics director at Oklahoma, where she led the sport administrator program while overseeing women’s basketball, men’s and women’s gymnastics, and women’s soccer. She also played an integral role on the internal operations team while managing championships hosted on and off campus.

She has been lauded for her impact as the (LOC) tournament director of the hugely successful Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City since 2003. Roberts-Ivy is considered a big part in the growth of the WCWS over the years.

In 2009, Roberts-Ivy received the Judith M. Sweet Commitment Award from the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators.

She could bring a new perspective to Southland athletics, particularly on the women’s side. Grant said he hoping Roberts-Ivy will help raise the league’s profile nationally when it comes to women’s athletics.

“This is a historic hire for the Southland on the 50th anniversary of Title IX,” Grant said. “Lindy has a successful track record in elevating men’s and women’s programs. However, we are ready to take that next step and stake our claim as an undeniable force for emerging greatness in women’s sports.”