The Southland Conference announced Monday that the University of the Incarnate Word has accepted an invitation to join the league and will become a member on July 31, 2013. The Cardinals will begin counting as an NCAA Division I team for scheduling purposes in 2014-15 and will be fully eligible for NCAA championship events in 2017-18.
The first thing to address after the initial laying out of this news is the fact that Incarnate Word is an actual college which fields actual athletic teams, including a men's basketball squad. The university, which is located in San Antonio, was (according to its website) founded in the 1880s as an outgrowth of a mission by the Sisters of the Incarnate Word.
As for basketball, the Division II Cardinals compiled a 16-11 record in 2011-12, including an 11-6 mark in Lone Star Conference play. Of Incarnate Word's 27 games last season, exactly two were played outside the state of Texas - and both of those were just across the state line in Oklahoma or New Mexico. This means they're going to have to get out of their comfort zone a little bit in order to bring home those necessary guarantee-game checks.
Now generally, a university with an odd name gets referred to by only one of the words that comprise it when brought up in casual conversations about athletics. The obvious inclination here will be to side with Word - "Did you commit to Word?" "Word." - but let's not sell Incarnate short. "Incarnation Nation" has tremendous marketing potential, as does a combination like "Word Nation."
We've still got a few years to work out the specifics. For now, let's all just agree that this is a good thing.