Coming soon: LU vs. LU

An LU made a big splash in NCAA athletics this week. No, it was not the Liberty Flames. The Longwood University Lancers of Farmville, Va., have been inducted into the Big South Conference in 13 sports.

Longwood has competed as a full member in NCAA Division I athletics as an independent for the last five years. All sports combined, the university has compiled a 564-552-27 record — a 50 percent winning percentage. After much anticipation, Big South Commissioner Kyle B. Kallander announced the Lancers addition to the conference last January.

“Longwood University will be an outstanding member of the Big South Conference,” Kallander said. “Longwood features strong leadership, an outstanding academic reputation, a commitment to Division I athletic success, and values student-athlete wellbeing. These are all characteristics that are shared by Big South members and make Longwood a wonderful fit. We are excited to welcome the Longwood Lancers to the Big South family.”

Initially, the Lancers will compete in: men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’ tennis, men’s and women’s golf, softball, baseball and women’s lacrosse. Longwood’s field hockey team will continue to compete in the NorPac Conference, which is also where Liberty’s field hockey team competes. Longwood does not have a Division I football team.

According to Big South public relations representative Mark Simpson, several factors contributed to Longwood’s admittance to the conference, including geography, academics, and competitiveness in sports such as men’s golf, women’s golf, softball and women’s lacrosse.

Other undisclosed factors were also involved with the Lancers joining the conference.
Since 2007, Longwood has made changes inside and out of their university to prove that they belong in a Division I Conference. With the Lancers officially joining the Big South, the series between Liberty and Longwood has been renewed.

The addition of Longwood has the greatest impact on the landscape of men’s basketball and baseball. Facing the prospect of 12 teams in one conference, the Big South has been split basketball and baseball into two divisions.

The names of these two divisions are North and South. The North will comprise Liberty, Longwood, High Point, VMI, Radford and Campbell, while the South will be composed of Coastal Carolina, Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian, Winthrop and UNC Asheville. The changes to the format are effective immediately.

The Lancers have had winning records against Big South competition since joining NCAA Division I play in men’s basketball, softball and women’s soccer.

Over the past couple of years, the Big South has opened its doors to up-and-coming universities. This time, they made room for one more LU.

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