New Orleans to reportedly make move to Southland Conference

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The University of New Orleans will once again have a Division-I league affiliation, set to join the Southland Conference for the start of the 2013-14 season, according to a report from ESPN.com.

A press conference is set for Thursday morning to officially announce the move.

New Orleans had been a member of the Sun Belt Conference since 1991, but left to become independent in 2010.

“It’s wonderful. It’s a big step for University of New Orleans athletics because of the predicament the university has been in for the last year and a half,” former UNO basketball player Gabe Corchiani told ESPN. “It’s going to be a great day for the university to go ahead and put a foot forward in the rebuilding process, staying Division I and now getting into a good conference.”

Among the notable alumni to come from the New Orleans program, current Marquette coach Buzz Williams served in the same capacity with the team in 2006-07.

Following Hurricane Katrina, the school applied for membership in both Division III and Division II, moves that were approved by the NCAA, but a switch in university leadership changed the university’s course and kept it in Division I.

The Southland Conference currently has 10 members to begin the 2012-13 season, but with the addition of the University of the Incarnate Word, newly Division I, and Houston Baptist, along with New Orleans, the conference will feature 13 schools to begin the 2013-14 season.

According to the report, Abilene Christian is also considering a move to the Southland.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_