Louisiana College applies for NAIA for 2021-22 school year
PINEVILLE, La. (AP) — A private Baptist college in Louisiana has applied to rejoin the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, with league play starting in the 2021-22 school year.
Louisiana College is currently a member of the American Southwest Conference, which it joined in 2000.
The school’s athletic department announced the NAIA application Wednesday.
“We believe LC’s athletic programs will be competitive in each sport with the genuine opportunity to compete for conference and national titles,” college President Rick Brewer said. “The college’s best days in athletics was during the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s when it competed in the NAIA for conference and post-season titles in women’s basketball, men’s basketball, and baseball.”
During its earlier time in the NAIA, Louisiana College was a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference.
It moved to the ASC because officials wanted to bring back football, sports information director Richard Thiberville Jr. said in an email. “The ASC was the best option for football at that time,” he said.
The Wildcats won conference championships in men’s basketball (1990-91), baseball (1987), women’s basketball (1984-85, 1985-86, 1988-89, 1989-90, & 1998-99), and women’s cross-country (1987). The women’s basketball team reached NAIA national semifinals in 1985-86.
The move “will allow all of our athletic programs a fresh start, a chance to rekindle some old rivalries that have sat simmering in the background for the past two decades, and an opportunity to create some new ones with some familiar adversaries,” athletic director and men’s basketball coach Reni Mason said. “This move will also allow us to create a stronger footprint in our state.”
Former GCAC rivals Loyola University New Orleans, University of Mobile and William Carey University all are in the SSAC.
LSU Alexandria, 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Louisiana College, is not in that league but is in the NAIA, so they could play each other more often, enhancing local support for both schools’ athletic programs, Brewer said.
He said one of the biggest reasons for the applications is the NAIA’s Champions of Character program and the fact that the association, and especially the conferences to which Louisiana College is applying, include numerous faith-based institutions.