SLC considers schedule change, says move to Mondays would be beneficial to basketball exposure

Published 9:20 am Saturday, June 3, 2023

The Southland Conference could be on the move when it comes to its basketball schedules.

For the past few seasons, the league has played men’s and women’s doubleheaders on Thursdays and Saturdays. That could end as early as this coming season.

The American Press has learned that during the recent league meetings, Southland coaches and athletic directors talked about making a move and splitting the weekday games.

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While no decision was made, there are people on both sides of the issue and further discussions are expected.

The men would move from a Thursday-Saturday schedule to a Saturday-Monday week, as the Southwestern Athletic Conference plays. The women would stay the same with the league continuing to play doubleheaders on the weekend.

Both McNeese Athletic Director Heath Schroyer and new head basketball coach Will Wade talked about the possible move this week on radio and television shows. And both seemed in favor of the move.

“I think it would give us a chance to get better officials for our Monday games,” Schroyer said.

Improving officiating has been a big major league topic, especially in basketball. The conference is one of the lowest paying for referees and low on the totem pole when up against larger leagues and higher-paying games.

With less competition on Monday nights, the league says it would have a better chance of getting better officials. The conference could also see more of its games appear on linear television instead of streaming only.

“I would play games at 3 a.m. if it meant better exposure for our program,” Wade joked Wednesday during a radio interview. “Exposure is good for our team and our school.”

Smaller conferences, like the Big West, have used Monday night games as a platform to showcase their conference.

Schroyer has said nothing is set on the topic, only that it was talked about. He said he expects it to be one of the major topics at this month’s A.D. meetings.

Schroyer said McNeese is hoping the hiring of Wade, a former LSU head coach, can breathe life into the men’s basketball program.

Wade has spent the offseason remaking the roster and setting up his coaching staff. He said players are expected to be coming to town this weekend with summer school and workouts set to begin Monday.

Wade also said he is close to finishing the schedule with a couple of openings remaining. Mid-majors Southern Mississippi, Louisiana-Lafayette and Tennessee-Martin are scheduled to visit McNeese.

Wade said McNeese has had a harder time getting the so-called “money games” set against Power Five schools. That has not been an issue in the past.

“It is a good problem to have,” Wade said. “We are working to get them done. It will work out.”