Farmville, VA (WWBT)- In 2007, Longwood University athletics made the jump to the Division I level, but since then, have played as an independent school with no conference affiliation. Monday, that all changed, opening up a world of possibilities for the Lancers.
Longwood officially accepted an invitation to join the Big South Conference and will begin competing in the league during the 2012-2013 school year. 13 of the Lancers' 14 school-sponsored sports will compete in the conference. Only women's field hockey will not compete in the league, because of its previously established NorPac status.
Longwood becomes the 12th team in the Big South and the fourth school hailing from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Radford, VMI and Liberty also compete in the league, teams that many of Longwood's teams have faced throughout their years as an independent program.
Joining the conference allows will make scheduling much easier. Athletic director Troy Austin was faced with the task of scheduling for his sports from scratch each year, and now a built-in conference schedule for each sport will give the Lancers a base to start with, while also guaranteeing them more home games. The basketball team may feel this the most, as the program traveled tens of thousands of miles per season for games to various schools around the country.
The affiliation also will give Longwood the opportunity to compete for a spot in postseason play. It will be an exciting time for the Lancers as they will get the chance to make their first NCAA Tournament appearances in many sports.