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Still Some Questions on Texas-Area Conferences

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Still Some Questions on Texas-Area Conferences

North Texas in action last fall. UNT wanted to enter the Red River, but will likely play an independent schedule instead.

Questions remain about the Red River DIA Conference and the Southwestern Conference in DIA, as teams are moving back and forth and we've seen no final confirmation of a schedule, or even what teams are where.

What does seem to be evident right now is that some team shifting means that two programs - North Texas and Texas State - are essentially teams without a conference.

University of Houston was admitted to the Red River DIA Conference last month and slotted into the schedule, joining Arkansas out of the Heart of America as a new addition to the conference. Reports then came out that Oklahoma was not going to compete in the Red River this season, but whatever differences OU and the rest of the conference could be resolved in the near future.

Indications are that OU could be back in, which would make the conference a nine-team competition. If OU is back in, that would explain why we haven't seen a finalized schedule with the Sooners in it. But likely the conference will begin competition in late September, and run a first half through mid-November, and then pick up again in late January to finish things off.

The conference championship tournament is slated for April 1, two weeks before the expected DIA playoffs. The conference will also hold 7s tournaments on April 15 and April 29.

Meanwhile, the SWC will likely exist as a 7s entity, but with two teams in the conference for 15s after Rice and Texas Tech moved out and Houston joined the Red River, 15s is not viable.

Houston is reportedly keeping its commitment to play UNT and TSU, and both teams, who would both like to be in the Red River but weren't accepted, have non-conference games against several of the Red River teams. 

North Texas and Texas State is looking to get USA Rugby to certify their schedules as competitive as an at-large bid in DIAA.

The whole scenario brings into question how, exactly, a team gets into DIA. This is not the first time a team has been denied entry into a conference, and it won't be the last. There don't seem to be any hard-and-fast rules on how a team becomes DIA or enters a DIA conference. At present, though, a sub-committee of DIA coaches is working on drafting a document that outlines the parameters.

Clearly a conference shouldn't be forced into accepting a member that is located very far away, thus crippling a competition with travel costs and time issues. 

As it stands now, the Red River should be a pretty interesting conference, with defending champs LSU, last year's Runners-up, Oklahoma, and last year's Heart of America conference winners Arkansas all vying for top spot. Don't count out Texas A&M. Also in the league are Houston, Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech, and the University of Texas-Austin.