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TAMUC – Sports

Lion Football opens up a three-game homestand against the Eagles.

COMMERCE – The University of Fort Lauderdale takes on the Texas A&M University-Commerce football team at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night in the first meeting between the two. 

WHO: Fort Lauderdale at A&M-Commerce

WHERE: Commerce | Memorial Stadium

WHEN: Saturday, October 2 at 6:00 pm

RECORDS: The Lions are 2-2 on the season and 1-1 in Lone Star Conference games. The Eagles are 0-2. 

RANKINGS: A&M-Commerce is ranked No. 25 in the D2Football.com poll and receiving votes in the AFCA poll.

LIVE AUDIO: Lion Sports Network – KETR 88.9 FM, Commerce (http://www.ketr.org)

LIVE VIDEO: https://lonestarconferencenetwork.com/tamuc/

LIVE STATS: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=353489

TICKETS: https://lionathletics.com/tickets

GAME NOTES (PDF) 

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY-COMMERCE ACCEPTS INVITATION TO SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE

• The Southland Conference, following the unanimous approval of its presidential Board of Directors, has extended an invitation of membership to Texas A&M University-Commerce, the league and institution announced Tuesday morning. The university, a longstanding NCAA Division II power located an hour east of Dallas, will officially join the Southland on July 1, 2022, and begin a four-year transition to Division I at the same time.

• Touting a “Best in Class” mission, mentality, and experience, Lions’ athletics features sponsorship of 14 varsity sports, including men’s sports of football, basketball, golf, cross country, and indoor and outdoor track and field. Women’s sports include basketball, golf, soccer, softball, volleyball, cross country, and indoor and outdoor track and field.

The Lions have seen remarkable success in recent years, including winning the 2017 NCAA Division II Football National Championship, highlighting five consecutive postseason football berths since 2015. Overall, 53 A&M-Commerce athletic teams have earned NCAA postseason bids since 2015, including a record 11 teams in 2018-19. Other performance highlights include individual NCAA track and field national championships, an NCAA softball regional championship, multiple recent NCAA berths in volleyball, and men’s and women’s basketball.

• In addition to its 2017 NCAA title, the Lions’ football program also won the 1972 NAIA national championship. Other national championships have included men’s basketball (NAIA 1954-55), men’s golf (NAIA 1965), and men’s tennis (NAIA 1972 and 1978). Prominent student-athletes at A&M-Commerce have included NFL stars Harvey Martin, Wade Wilson, Dwight White, and noted U.S. Olympic medalist John Carlos.

• Founded in 1889, Texas A&M-Commerce serves rural and urban Northeast Texas. It has the distinction, consistently delivering on a promise that founder Professor William Leonidas Mayo made more than a century ago: “No industrious, ambitious youth shall be denied an education if I can prevent it.” To this day, the institution remains committed to its core mission: “Educate. Discover. Achieve.”

• Formerly known as East Texas State University, the 2,100-acre Commerce campus provides many opportunities for students to learn and grow. The university offers more than 135-degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. In addition, a vibrant student life experience includes 14 competitive NCAA athletic teams, a thriving Greek system, and more than 120 student organizations. Programs are delivered on-site at the Commerce campus and in Dallas, Frisco, McKinney, Mesquite, and Corsicana. A robust online academic menu of classes is also a point of distinction. U.S. News & World Report has ranked several programs at Texas A&M University-Commerce among the best in the nation for 2021.

• A member of The Texas A&M University System since 1996, the institution provides quality education to an inclusive community of diverse learners as one of the most affordable universities in East Texas. Students work with world-class professors who dedicate themselves to excellence in teaching and research. In addition, the university maintains strong relationships with local industries to create relevant academic programs and valuable internship and networking opportunities that prepare career-ready graduates.

• Serving nearly 12,000 students, Texas A&M-Commerce is a leader in competency-based education and is the nation’s first institution to offer an accredited competency-based bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and organizational leadership. The agriculture program is also a national stand-out, featuring one of the only programs where students grow their experimental crops on the university’s 1,500-acre farm. In addition, A&M-Commerce upholds a 130-year legacy as an exceptional teachers’ college, graduating more than 400 certified educators in 2019. In 2020, the university opened the 113,470-square-foot Nursing and Health Sciences Building, featuring a state-of-the-art simulation hospital.

SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE MEMBERS ON JULY 1, 2022 – AS OF SEPTEMBER 29, 2021

Institution Offers Football?
A&M-COMMERCE YES
Houston Baptist Yes
Incarnate Word Yes
McNeese State Yes
New Orleans No
Nicholls State Yes
Northwestern State Yes
Southeastern Louisiana Yes
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi No

Alex Shillow named Semifinalist for Campbell Trophy

IRVING – Texas A&M University-Commerce football team star Alex Shillow is among the 176 student-athletes around the country named semifinalists for the 2021 William V. Campbell Trophy, as announced by the National Football Foundation on Wednesday. 

The impressive list of candidates boasts an outstanding 3.66 average GPA, with more than two-thirds of the semifinalists have already earned their bachelor’s degrees. 

Celebrating its 32nd year, the Campbell Trophy® recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance, and exemplary leadership. 

It is the third-straight year that Shillow has been named a semifinalist for college football’s premier scholar-athlete award. He is among 15 nominees from NCAA Division II and two semifinalists from the Lone Star Conference. 

In the classroom, he has been honored as a CoSIDA Academic All-America twice. He is the third student-athlete in Lion Athletics history to win multiple CoSIDA Academic All-America recognition and the first student-athlete in Lion Football history. In addition, he is one of 34 Academic All-America selections on the semifinalist list. 

Following the 2019 season, Shillow was honored as a CoSIDA Second-Team Academic All-America, the Lone Star Conference’s Fred Jacoby Academic Athlete of the Year, and the Lone Star Conference Academic Player of the Year in football. He graduated summa cum laude with his bachelor’s degree in sports management in August 2019 and his Master’s of Business Administration in December 2020. He currently continues graduate work in preparation for his final season of eligibility. 

As an active participant in multiple leadership roles for the Lions’ Student-Athlete Advisory Council, Shillow has led community service and fundraising efforts to raise awareness and funds for the Make A Wish Foundation. As a result, A&M-Commerce SAAC raised over $15,000 to grant two “Wish Kids” trips to Walt Disney World, as well as a trip to the NBA All-Star Game for the most recent “Wish Kid” at A&M-Commerce. Through fundraising initiatives and coordinated efforts, Shillow has also driven fundraisers and clothing donation collections to provide underprivileged families in the Commerce community with personalized gifts for Christmas. 

Shillow was also a leader of the “Make It Important” Campaign in the summer of 2020, which involved a video and an action plan to bring awareness to the social injustices going on in the country in response to the George Floyd shooting. He led in getting his team registered to vote, along with other sports teams in the department, and initiated a conference-wide voter registration challenge. He sat on the university’s voter coalition committee to help make voter registration and voting more accessible for A&M-Commerce students. 

Shillow also led a virtual political open forum with two Texas state legislators, Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) and former Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Canton). It was in front of over 300 student-athletes and guests, moderating an insightful conversation and dialogue between Texas legislators and student-athletes. This initiative won 3rd place for the NCAA Division II Award of Excellence this past year. 

Shillow is also a leader and a part of Athletes In Action – a student-athlete faith-based organization. 

Shillow has also served on the NCAA Division II National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee from 2018-21 and was the national chair of the committee from 2019-21. He led the discussion and change of mental health, professional development, name image and likeness, and many student-athlete well-being topics while being a student-athlete and involved heavily in the Commerce community. 

The NFF will announce 12-14 finalists on Oct. 27, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2021 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments. The finalists will travel to the ARIA Resort & Casino Las Vegas for the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas on Dec. 7. They will highlight their accomplishments in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all sports. Live during the event, one member of the class will be declared as the winner of the 32nd Campbell Trophy® and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000. 

Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of playing eligibility. They must also have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, outstanding football ability as a first-team player or significant contributor, and strong leadership and citizenship. Each year, the NFF Awards Committee selects the class, comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers, and athletics administrators.

 

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY-COMMERCE ACCEPTS INVITATION TO SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE

NCAA Division II power to begin the NCAA Division I transition in 2022-23 academic year

COMMERCE – The Southland Conference, following the unanimous approval of its presidential Board of Directors, has extended an invitation of membership to Texas A&M University-Commerce, the league and institution announced Tuesday morning. The university, a longstanding NCAA Division II power located an hour east of Dallas, will officially join the Southland on July 1, 2022, and begin a four-year transition to Division I at the same time. 

“It is a distinct honor to join the Southland Conference,” Texas A&M-Commerce President Mark J. Rudin proclaimed in accepting the Southland’s invitation. “This decision was made with the feedback from several key constituent groups at the university – led by our student body leadership. Careful and thoughtful consideration was given to assessing the opportunity to compete at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics. As we finalized our decision, it became evident that this exciting initiative is squarely aligned with our institutional mission to Educate, Discover, and Achieve.” 

“The presidents of the Southland Conference welcome Texas A&M-Commerce to the league and look forward to the university becoming a valued member of NCAA Division I,” McNeese State President and Southland Board of Directors Chair Dr. Daryl Burckel said. “From the beginning of our review, the Board of Directors quickly recognized the dynamic leadership of President Rudin, the institution’s strong academic record, and its consistent athletic successes. Further, the university’s administrators, head coaches, staff, and student-athletes have exhibited a consistent alignment in their views of this outstanding university and its Division I future in athletics.” 

“It is a tremendous honor and opportunity to welcome Texas A&M University-Commerce, a noted institution of higher education with an outstanding athletic history, into the Southland Conference,” Commissioner Tom Burnett said. “We have every expectation that A&M-Commerce will become an outstanding member of NCAA Division I and the Southland Conference, continuing its long championships tradition of competing for league titles and national tournament berths.” 

Touting a “Best in Class” mission, mentality, and experience, Lions’ athletics features sponsorship of 14 varsity sports, including men’s sports of football, basketball, golf, cross country, and indoor and outdoor track and field. Women’s sports include basketball, golf, soccer, softball, volleyball, cross country, and indoor and outdoor track and field. 

“Joining the Southland Conference is a historic opportunity for our institution and athletics program,” A&M-Commerce Athletics Director Tim McMurray stated. “This decision was assessed comprehensively and strategically, and I commend Commissioner Burnett, the Southland Conference Board of Directors, and the Southland Conference athletics directors for their camaraderie, communication, and engagement over the last month. Our student body and student-athlete voices were prioritized during this process. Their advocacy and leadership validated this decision.” 

The Lions have seen remarkable success in recent years, including winning the 2017 NCAA Division II Football National Championship, highlighting five consecutive postseason football berths since 2015. Overall, 53 A&M-Commerce athletic teams have earned NCAA postseason bids since 2015, including a record 11 teams in 2018-19. Other performance highlights include individual NCAA track and field national championships, an NCAA softball regional championship, multiple recent NCAA berths in volleyball, and men’s and women’s basketball.  

In addition to its 2017 NCAA title, the Lions’ football program also won the 1972 NAIA national championship. Other national championships have included men’s basketball (NAIA 1954-55), men’s golf (NAIA 1965), and men’s tennis (NAIA 1972 and 1978). Prominent student-athletes at A&M-Commerce have included NFL stars Harvey Martin, Wade Wilson, Dwight White, and U.S. Olympic medalist John Carlos. 

Founded in 1889, Texas A&M-Commerce serves rural and urban Northeast Texas with distinction, consistently delivering on a promise that founder Professor William Leonidas Mayo made more than a century ago. “No industrious, ambitious youth shall be denied an education if I can prevent it.” To this day, the institution remains committed to its core mission: “Educate. Discover. Achieve.” 

Formerly known as East Texas State University, the 2,100-acre Commerce campus provides many opportunities for students to learn and grow. The university offers more than 135-degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. In addition, a vibrant student life experience includes 14 competitive NCAA athletic teams, a thriving Greek system, and more than 120 student organizations. Programs are delivered on-site at the Commerce campus and in Dallas, Frisco, McKinney, Mesquite, and Corsicana. A robust online academic menu of classes is also a point of distinction. U.S. News & World Report has ranked several programs at Texas A&M University-Commerce among the best in the nation for 2021. 

A member of The Texas A&M University System since 1996, the institution provides quality education to an inclusive community of diverse learners as one of the most affordable universities in East Texas. Students work with world-class professors who dedicate themselves to excellence in teaching and research. In addition, the university maintains strong relationships with local industries to create relevant academic programs and valuable internship and networking opportunities that prepare career-ready graduates. 

Serving nearly 12,000 students, Texas A&M-Commerce is a leader in competency-based education and is the nation’s first institution to offer an accredited competency-based bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and organizational leadership. The agriculture program is also a national stand-out, featuring one of the only programs where students grow their experimental crops on the university’s 1,500-acre farm. In addition, A&M-Commerce upholds a 130-year legacy as an exceptional teachers’ college, graduating more than 400 certified educators in 2019. In 2020, the university opened the 113,470-square-foot Nursing and Health Sciences Building, featuring a state-of-the-art simulation hospital. 

The A&M-Commerce athletics program is an NCAA Division II powerhouse, excelling in all areas. The athletics department celebrates the complete success of its student-athletes, including: 

Recent Student-Athlete Comprehensive Success

12 consecutive semesters with student-athlete grade point average surpassing 3.0

Record 3.33 Student-Athlete overall GPA (Spring 2020)

Lion Leadership Academy and Responsible Lions Launch

Student-Athlete Nutrition Program (FASTER.) Expansion

Launched Student-Athlete Performance Team (SAPT) in conjunction with campus partners

Restructured Thrower Academic Center to comprehensive Thrower Student-Athlete Success Center 

Recent Student-Athlete Competitive Success

53 NCAA Team Postseason Appearances since 2015

Football – 2017 NCAA National Champions and five consecutive NCAA playoff berths (2015-present)

Single year record of 11 programs in NCAA postseason play (2018-19)

Successive years of all-time best department finish in NACDA Learfield Directors’ Cup Standings

Eight Track and Field individual National Champions (2016-19)

Softball – NCAA South Central Regional Champion (2018) and Regional Finalist (2019 & 2021)

Volleyball – Three straight NCAA Regional appearances (2019 regional finalist)

All-time high NCAA finishes for women’s indoor track and men’s indoor track (5th) in 2018

Men’s Basketball – Three consecutive NCAA appearances for first time in school history (2017-19)

Women’s Basketball – Three successive NCAA Tournament appearances

Men’s Indoor Track – Three straight conference championships (2016-18)

Women’s golf – first NCAA National Championship berth (2021) – ninth-place finish

Men’s Golf – NCAA West Regional Champion (2021) – fifth-place finish 

Recent Resource Management/Accountability

Eight most considerable annual gifts in 105-year athletics history

Six most significant corporate gifts in 105-year athletics history

Completed department’s first multi-year strategic plan (2016-2019)

Launched 2019-2022 strategic plan in alignment with institutional mission

Athletic private giving up 109%

Garnered over $6.17 million in media valuation during 2017 NCAA football championship

Restructured athletics administration and facilitated six critical executive team hires 

Recent Athletic Facility Construction / Renovations

Locker Rooms constructed – Football, Soccer, Softball, Women’s Track & Field, Men’s Track & Field

Locker Rooms renovated – Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Volleyball, Golf

Brand new Hall of Fame construction (Summer 2020)

Football Team Meeting Rooms / Recruiting Spaces / Coaches’ offices

Comprehensive facility branding updates (in conjunction with Under Armour)

Volleyball, Women’s Basketball, and Men’s Basketball player development rooms 

Recent Business Development/Executive Strategy

New Business Development (LSP Growth)

Taymar Partnership – outbound ticket sales and partnerships

Hometown Ticketing – new ticket company, more fan-friendly

From Now On – new Lion Athletics App

INFLCR and INFLCR Verified partnerships (Uproar NIL Program) 

About the Southland Conference

Founded in Dallas in 1963 and now in its 59th competitive season, the Southland Conference celebrates its member institutions’ academic and competitive achievements and their student-athletes. Based in Frisco, Texas, the league now includes nine members in Louisiana and Texas and sponsors 19 NCAA Division I sports, with NCAA Championships automatic berths in 12 applicable team sports. The association has won numerous national championships, including the 2020 NCAA Division I FCS title. In addition, it regularly wins in other sports in NCAA postseason play, including the 2021 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. The Conference’s student-athletes perform exceptionally well in the classroom, as graduation rates and NCAA Academic Performance metrics are at all-time highs.

Further, all current Southland athletic programs qualify for the new NCAA Academic Performance Fund. The league also features a newly-expanded agreement with ESPN Networks, broadcasting hundreds of competitions each year. In addition, it represents the national corporate sales marketplace by Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment. The league has also served as the host conference for the successful NCAA Division I FCS Championship Game in Frisco since 2011. 

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT TEXAS A&M-COMMERCE’S DIVISION I TRANSITION AND SOUTHLAND MEMBERSHIP:

John Sharp, Chancellor, The Texas A&M University System:

“What a tremendous opportunity for Texas A&M-Commerce as they join the Southland Conference. With the leadership of President Mark Rudin, the vision to expand the institution’s footprint in the DFW Metroplex, and the recent success of its athletics programs, I am confident this move will elevate the institution to new heights. What a great day for the Lions!” 

Dr. Jim Phillips, Commissioner, Atlantic Coast Conference:

 “Today’s announcement brings together two organizations that will greatly benefit one another. Having been to campus and followed the recent success of Texas A&M-Commerce, I’m pleased they have the opportunity to join the Southland Conference. Lion Athletics will be a terrific fit for the Southland Conference, led by Tom Burnett. It is the epitome of what a partnership should be, and I wish both all the best as they lead their respective organizations into this next chapter.” 

Jeff Schemmel, Founder, and President, College Sports Solutions:

“Having worked with the good people at A&M-Commerce on various initiatives over the last two years, this transition to NCAA Division I and the Southland Conference is a perfect fit. It is a vibrant campus with outstanding executive leadership, top-flight coaches, and successful student-athletes, both athletically and academically. It is an exciting day for both the institution and the Southland Conference.” 

Ross Bjork, Director of Athletics, Texas A&M University:

“This is a monumental moment for Texas A&M University-Commerce and its athletics program. As a fellow System member, it is always great to see the power of the Texas A&M University brand at work, and I know that Texas A&M-Commerce will represent the state of Texas and our System with great distinction at the Division I level. On a personal note, I’ve known Tim McMurray for over 20 years, and I am super proud of his work. There is no one better to provide leadership during this transition. It is a great day for Texas A&M-Commerce.” 

Bob Beaudine, President & CEO, Eastman & Beaudine:

“Texas A&M-Commerce is a national championship program and an institution that bridges East Texas with the DFW Metroplex in a way no one else can. Their great track record of athletic and academic achievement and the strong leadership of their president, Dr. Mark Rudin, and athletic director, Tim McMurray, make them an ideal partner for the Southland moving forward.” 

Dan Gale, President, Leona Marketing Group:

“I could not be more excited for the Texas A&M-Commerce family on their move to the Southland Conference. Having had the pleasure of working with the leadership of both great organizations, I know it will be a great fit for all sides.” 

Tim Duncan, Vice President of Athletics and Recreation, University of New Orleans:

“As a member of the team who visited Texas A&M University-Commerce, I would be hard-pressed to find another institution with the alignment from student-athletes to the University executive team. I look forward to working with the Texas A&M-Commerce executive leadership to continue the ascent of the #SouthlandStrong proposition.”  

Steve Moniaci, Director of Athletics, Houston Baptist University:

“We want to welcome Texas A&M-Commerce to the Southland Conference and look forward to many great competitions with them on the playing fields and many great collaborations with them off the field. We bring them in not just as an athletic department but as a university. Becoming a Division I institution and joining the Southland, certainly, is further evidence of that success.” 

Greg Burke, Director of Athletics, Northwestern State University:

“What a great day for the Southland Conference to welcome to its membership a university and athletic program which has a ton of upside. Texas A&M-Commerce on several levels – competitive, academic, geographic, and administrative, to name a few – immediately makes our Conference better and is an excellent fit for the outstanding eight universities which currently comprise the Southland.