Major changes have been announced in regards to two of the sports Tarleton has to offer - football and baseball. The NCAA has announced a realignment of the four super regions that make up the national playoffs while the Lone Star Conference is expanding its annual championship tournament in baseball.
Tarleton Football, which is currently under the leadership of Head Coach Todd Whitten, will remain in Super Region 4 but will be joined by schools from two new conferences - the Northern Sun Conference (NSC) and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) will also remain in Super Region 4.
The new region now consists of 41 schools, which is six representatives fewer than last year when Super Region 4 hosted 47 schools between the LSC, RMAC, the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC), and the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC).
In addition to the nine football-playing schools in the Lone Star Conference and the 11 football-playing schools of the RMAC, the new Super Region 4 welcomes 16 teams from the Northern Sun Conference and five from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. The schools that make up Super Region 4 are as follows:
Lone Star Conference:
Eastern New Mexico
UT Permian Basin
West Texas A&M
Western New Mexico
Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference:
Black Hills State
Colorado School of Mines
South Dakota Mines
New Mexico Highlands
Northern Sun Conference:
Southwest Minnesota State
St. Cloud State
Wayne State (NE)
Great Northwest Athletic Conference:
Simon Fraser (B.C.)
Over the last few weeks of the regular season, regional rankings will be released to sort the top 10 teams in each region. After the final game of the regular season, the final regional rankings will be announced and the top seven teams from each region will compete in the national playoffs with the No. 1 seed earning a bye and the No. 2, 3, and 4 teams hosting a first-round playoff game.
Meanwhile, the Lone Star Conference has also announced changes to its annual postseason tournament for the baseball programs in the league.
A decision was made by the conference and the university presidents to expand the LSC Championship Tournament to six teams and change the format from double elimination to single elimination beginning in the spring of 2018. The top two teams of the regular season will earn a bye into the second round while the remaining four seeds will compete to advance.
Last season, Tarleton missed the Lone Star Conference Championship Tournament by 0.5 game in the final league standings when the tournament welcomed only four teams for a double-elimination tournament. The Texans won the Lone Star Conference Tournament Championship in 2014 and earned an automatic berth into the NCAA playoffs.