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Xavier University of Louisiana joins Red River Athletic Conference, Leaves Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (5826 hits)

Xavier University of Louisiana Athletics entered a new era Thursday when its membership in the NAIA's Red River Athletic Conference became official.

XULA's membership unanimously was approved in August by RRAC member institutions. XULA and the RRAC — founded in 1998 and consisting of colleges in Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico — announced the news Sept. 14.

The RRAC has 14 full-time members for the 2021-22 academic year. After XULA was announced, the RRAC added Louisiana College, whose membership also became official Thursday.

Wednesday was XULA's final day as a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference, a league it helped start in 1981. XULA won 117 GCAC team championships — 64 in the regular season and 53 in tournaments — and, in 10 of the last 11 seasons, the Thomas Howell Cup, the GCAC's all-sports award.

The other RRAC members in 2021-22 are:
• University of Houston-Victoria in Victoria, Texas
• Huston–Tillotson University in Austin, Texas (HBCU)
• Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas (HBCU)
• Louisiana College in Pineville, La.
• Louisiana State University of Alexandria in Alexandria, La.
• Louisiana State University Shreveport in Shreveport, La.
• Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas
• Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas (HBCU)
• University of the Southwest in Hobbs, N.M.
• Texas College in Tyler, Texas (HBCU)
• Texas A&M University–San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas
• Texas A&M University–Texarkana in Texarkana, Texas
• Wiley College in Marshall, Texas (HBCU)
HBCUs Huston-Tillotson, Jarvis Christian, Paul Quinn, Texas College and Wiley are charter RRAC members, as is Southwest. XULA resumes conference competition with LSUS, a GCAC member from 2003-10, and Louisiana College, a GCAC member from 1981-2000.

The RRAC had three men's basketball teams ranked in the final NAIA coaches top-25 poll. LSUS was No. 3, Texas A&M-Texarkana was No. 17, and LSUA was No. 19. LSUS was a national tournament semifinalist in 2013 and 2018, and LSUA was runner-up in 2018 and a semifinalist in 2017.

"We are looking forward to some formidable competition in the Red River," said men's basketball head coach Alfred Williams, whose XULA teams won GCAC Tournament championships each of the past two seasons and was GCAC regular-season champion in 2019-20. "The recent accomplishments of LSUS and LSUA speak for themselves. The Xavier-Louisiana College rivalry was a great one back in the day. We are familiar with the Red River HBCUs and have had plenty of challenging games with those teams during my time as a Xavier player and coach."

The RRAC is the third league in which XULA is a full-time member. XULA teams competed in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1935-60.
Posted By: Reginald Culpepper
Thursday, July 1st 2021 at 6:47PM
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