South Atlantic Conference

The South Atlantic Conference (SAC) is a collegiate athletic conference which operates in the southeastern United States. It participates in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)'s Division II level. The SAC was founded in 1975 as a football-only conference and became an all-sports conference beginning with the 1989–90 season.

South Atlantic Conference
SAC
South Atlantic Conference logo
Established1975
AssociationNCAA
DivisionDivision II
Members13 (14 in 2022)
Sports fielded
  • 20
    • men's: 10
    • women's: 10
RegionSoutheastern United States
HeadquartersRock Hill, South Carolina
CommissionerPatrick Britz (since 2008)
Websitethesac.com
Locations
South Atlantic Conference locations

The league currently sponsors 10 sports for men (football, cross country, soccer, basketball, wrestling, baseball, lacrosse, outdoor track & field, tennis, golf) and 10 sports for women (volleyball, cross country, field hockey, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, outdoor track & field, softball, tennis, and golf).

HistoryEdit

South Atlantic Conference
Location of SAC members:   current

The distant forerunner of the South Atlantic Conference was the North State Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NSIAC). The NSIAC was formed when the "Little Six", as it was called, broke from the North Carolina Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 1930. The charter members included Appalachian State Teachers College (now Appalachian State University), Lenoir–Rhyne College (now Lenoir–Rhyne University), Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College), Catawba College, Guilford College, Elon College (now Elon University), and High Point College (now High Point University).

The North State continued to grow over the next 30 years, adding Western Carolina University (1933), East Carolina University (1947) and Pfeiffer College (now Pfeiffer University) (1960). A name change became necessary when the league accepted Newberry College as its first member from the state of South Carolina in 1961. The league took on the name Carolinas Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (CIAC) on May 20 of that year.

The CIAC saw several changes in the following years as East Carolina withdrew from the league in 1962. Appalachian State and Western Carolina followed in 1971 and 1976. All three landed in the Southern Conference (SoCon).

The South Atlantic Conference was founded in 1975 solely as a football conference. The league received its name from a contest in which Kurt Brenneman of Greensboro, North Carolina became the first to submit the SAC-8 moniker.

The SAC-8 consisted of Carson–Newman College (now Carson–Newman University), Catawba College, Elon College, Gardner–Webb College (now Gardner–Webb University), Lenoir–Rhyne College (now Lenoir-Rhyne University), Mars Hill College (now Mars Hill University), Newberry College, and Presbyterian College. Dr. Fred Bentley, of Mars Hill College, was named league president for its inaugural year, by a vote of the member institutions.

After the first season of play in the SAC-8, the Bears of Lenoir–Rhyne College captured the first football title.

In 1989, the league's 15th year of operation, the South Atlantic Conference became a comprehensive, multi-sport conference. Doug Echols was named the league's first Commissioner. That year the South Atlantic Conference sponsored 10 sports – football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball, men's soccer, volleyball, men's golf, men's and women's tennis. Later the conference grew to 14 championship sports by adding women's soccer (1990), men's and women's cross country (1993) and women's golf (1999). In 2013, the sports of men's and women's lacrosse and men's and women's track and field were added, increasing the number of championship sports to 18.

The South Atlantic Conference was composed of the same eight member institutions from 1975–76 until 1988–89, when Wingate College (now Wingate University) replaced Newberry College as the eighth member institution. Newberry College later re-joined the conference in the 1996–97 season.

In July 1998, Tusculum College (now Tusculum University) was admitted as a member of the league, and Lincoln Memorial University began play in the conference in the 2006–07 academic year. Brevard College was admitted to the SAC as a provisional member in 2007 and a full member in 2008.

In 2008, Echols retired after serving as Commissioner for 19 years and Patrick Britz was hired as the new Commissioner.

In July 2010, Anderson University became the league's 10th member. Three years later in July 2013, Coker College (now Coker University) and Queens University of Charlotte joined the conference.[1] On April 13, 2018, UVA Wise (in full, the University of Virginia's College at Wise) announced that it was joining the South Atlantic Conference for the 2019-20 season.[2] A more recent change to the conference membership was announced on April 5, 2019, when Limestone College, which had joined as a football-only member in 2017 and added field hockey to its SAC membership the next year, was announced as a new full member effective in 2020–21, the same time it became Limestone University.[3]

The SAC and Conference Carolinas entered into a partnership in the 2018–19 school year by which the two leagues would operate as a single conference in field hockey and wrestling, with championships immediately conducted in both sports. The leagues agreed that the SAC would coordinate the field hockey championship, while CC would fill the same role for wrestling. Accordingly, all CC field hockey programs became SAC affiliates, and all SAC wrestling programs became CC affiliates.[4] The SAC–CC alliance is officially branded as "South Atlantic Conference Carolinas".[5]

The most recent change in conference membership was announced on November 17, 2020. Emory & Henry College, currently in the Division III Old Dominion Athletic Conference, will start a transition to Division II in July 2021 and start SAC competition in 2022.[6]

Member schoolsEdit

Charter membersEdit

Newberry College left the SAC in 1989 (as a football member), and re-joined in 1996 (as an all-sport member). Wingate replaced Newberry College as the final member for the birth of the all-sport SAC in 1989. Former members Elon, Gardner–Webb, and Presbyterian were charter members of both the SAC-8 football era and the SAC all-sport era.

Current membersEdit

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Nickname Colors Joined
Anderson University Anderson, South Carolina 1848 Private (Baptist) 3,431 Trojans     2010
Carson–Newman University Jefferson City, Tennessee 1851 Private (Baptist) 2,115 Eagles     1975
Catawba College Salisbury, North Carolina 1851 Private (United Church of Christ) 1,300 Indians     1975
Coker University Hartsville, South Carolina 1908 Private (Nonsectarian) 1,000 Cobras     2013
Lenoir–Rhyne University Hickory, North Carolina 1891 Private (Lutheran ELCA) 1,800 Bears     1975
Limestone University Gaffney, South Carolina 1845 Private (Christian) 3,300 Saints     2020[a]
Lincoln Memorial University Harrogate, Tennessee 1897 Private (Nonsectarian) 4,867 Railsplitters     2006
Mars Hill University Mars Hill, North Carolina 1856 Private (Christian) 1,300 Lions     1975
Newberry College Newberry, South Carolina 1856 Private (Lutheran ELCA) 1,070 Wolves     1975;
1996
Queens University of Charlotte Charlotte, North Carolina 1857 Private (Nonsectarian) 2,100 Royals     2013
Tusculum University Tusculum, Tennessee 1794 Private (Presbyterian) 2,053 Pioneers     1998
University of Virginia's College at Wise Wise, Virginia 1954 Public 2,000 Cavaliers     2019
Wingate University Wingate, North Carolina 1896 Private (Baptist) 2,300 Bulldogs     1989
  1. ^ Limestone had been an affiliate member in football from 2017 to 2020 and field hockey from 2018 to 2020 (with the final season of competition as an affiliate in both sports taking place in calendar 2019).

Affiliate membersEdit

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Nickname Colors Joined Sport Primary
Conference
Belmont Abbey College Belmont, North Carolina 1876 Private (Catholic) 1,320 Crusaders     2018 field hockey Carolinas
Converse College[a] Spartanburg, South Carolina 1889 Private (Nonsectarian) 750 Valkyries     2018 field hockey Carolinas
  1. ^ Becomes Converse University in July 2021.[7]

Future membersEdit

Institution Location Nickname Founded Type Enrollment Joining
Emory & Henry College Emory, Virginia Wasps 1836 Private/United Methodist Church 1,246 2021[8][a]
  1. ^ Starts SAC competition in 2022.

Former membersEdit

Institution Location Founded Type Nickname Joined Left Current
Conference
Brevard College Brevard, North Carolina 1934 Private (United Methodist) Tornados 2008 2017 USA South
(NCAA D-III)
Elon University Elon, North Carolina 1889 Private (Nonsectarian) Phoenix 1975 1997 Colonial Athletic
(NCAA D-I)
Gardner–Webb University Boiling Springs, North Carolina 1905 Private (Baptist) Runnin' Bulldogs 1975 2000 Big South
(NCAA D-I)
Presbyterian College Clinton, South Carolina 1880 Private (Presbyterian Church) Blue Hose 1975 2007 Big South
(NCAA D-I)

Membership timelineEdit

 Full member (all sports)   Full member (non-football)   Associate member (football-only)   Associate member (sport) 

SportsEdit

Conference sports
Sport Men's Women's
Baseball  Y
Basketball  Y  Y
Cross Country  Y  Y
Field Hockey  Y
Football  Y
Golf  Y  Y
Lacrosse  Y  Y
Soccer  Y  Y
Softball  Y
Tennis  Y  Y
Track & Field Indoor  Y  Y
Track & Field Outdoor  Y  Y
Volleyball  Y

Men's sponsored sports by schoolEdit

School Baseball Basketball Cross
Country
Football Golf Lacrosse Soccer Tennis Track
& Field
Indoor
Track
& Field
Outdoor
Total
SAC
Sports
Anderson  Y  Y  Y [a]  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 9
Carson–Newman  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 9
Catawba  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 10
Coker  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 9
Lenoir–Rhyne  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 10
Limestone  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 10
Lincoln Memorial  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 9
Mars Hill  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 10
Newberry  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 10
Queens  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 9
Tusculum  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 9
UVA Wise  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 6
Wingate  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 10
Totals 13 13 13 10 13 11 12 13 11 12 121
Future Members
Emory & Henry  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 9
  1. ^ Anderson plans to add football no later than 2024.[9]

Women's sponsored sports by schoolEdit

School Basketball Cross
Country
Field
Hockey
Golf Lacrosse Soccer Softball Tennis Track
& Field
Indoor
Track
& Field
Outdoor
Volleyball Total
SAC
Sports
Anderson  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 9
Carson–Newman  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 9
Catawba  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 10
Coker  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 11
Lenoir–Rhyne  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 10
Limestone  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 11
Lincoln Memorial  Y  Y [a]  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 10
Mars Hill  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 10
Newberry  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 11
Queens  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 11
Tusculum  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 9
UVA Wise  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 7
Wingate  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 10
Totals 13 13 4 13 11 12 13 13 11 12 13 128
Affiliate Members
Belmont Abbey  Y 1
Converse  Y 1
Future Members
Emory & Henry  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 9
  1. ^ Lincoln Memorial will add field hockey in 2021–22.[5]

Other sponsored sports by schoolEdit

School Men Women
Bowling [a] Swimming
& Diving
Volleyball [b] Wrestling Acrobatics &
Tumbling [c]
Beach
volleyball [b]
Bowling [b] Equestrian[d] Swimming
& Diving
Triathlon[e] Wrestling [f]
Carson–Newman BMC IND BMC
Catawba BMC IND BMC
Coker IND CC[g] CC
Emory & Henry TBA CC[h] IND TBA IND
Lenoir–Rhyne BMC BMC
Limestone IND[i] CC[g] CC IND
Lincoln Memorial IND [j] IND ECC [j]
Mars Hill ASC ASC
Newberry CC[g]
Queens BMC IND CC[g] IND BMC IND
Tusculum IND IND ECC
Wingate BMC BMC
  1. ^ Bowling is sponsored by the NCAA for women only. Men's college competition is sanctioned solely by the sport's US governing body, the American Bowling Congress, which sanctions women's competition alongside the NCAA.
  2. ^ a b c De facto Division I sport. The NCAA operates a combined Division I/II national championship in men's volleyball, and single national championship events in beach volleyball and bowling that are open to members of all three divisions.
  3. ^ Acrobatics & tumbling, considered by the NCAA to be a single sport separate from the NCAA-sanctioned sport of gymnastics, is currently part of the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program. It does not yet have an NCAA championship event; college competition is governed by the National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association.
  4. ^ Equestrianism is currently part of the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program. It does not yet have an NCAA championship event; college competition is sponsored by the National Collegiate Equestrian Association.
  5. ^ Triathlon is currently part of the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program. It does not yet have an NCAA championship event; college competition is sponsored by the sport's national governing body of USA Triathlon.
  6. ^ Wrestling is currently part of the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program. It does not yet have an NCAA championship event; college competition is governed by the Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association.
  7. ^ a b c d De facto Conference Carolinas associate as part of South Atlantic Conference Carolinas.
  8. ^ Emory & Henry will become a de facto Conference Carolinas associate as part of South Atlantic Conference Carolinas.
  9. ^ Limestone's future men's volleyball affiliation has not yet been determined.
  10. ^ a b Lincoln Memorial will add men's and women's wrestling in 2021–22. Men's wrestling will compete as a de facto Conference Carolinas affiliate as part of South Atlantic Conference Carolinas.[5]

In addition to the above:

  • Anderson and Tusculum treat their male and female cheerleaders as varsity athletes.
  • Carson–Newman and Limestone treat their female cheerleaders (though not their male cheerleaders) and all-female dance teams as varsity athletes.
  • Catawba treats its male and female cheerleaders and all-female dance team as varsity athletes. The school also sponsors a coeducational varsity eSports team.
  • Coker has a coeducational varsity eSports team.
  • Future SAC member Emory & Henry treats its male and female cheerleaders and all-female dance team as varsity athletes. The school's equestrian program is coeducational, although only women participate in NCAA-recognized events.
  • Lenoir–Rhyne treats its male and female cheerleaders and all-female dance team as varsity athletes.
  • Mars Hill sponsors a varsity cycling team, with separate men's and women's squads.
  • Queens treats its male and female cheerleaders and all-female dance team as varsity athletes. The school also sponsors men's triathlon, which has no NCAA recognition of any kind, as a varsity sport.

Conference stadia and arenasEdit

School Football Basketball
Stadium Capacity Arena Capacity
Anderson Trojans
non-football school
Abney Athletic Center 1,500
Carson–Newman Eagles Burke–Tarr Stadium 5,500 Holt Fieldhouse 2,000
Catawba Indians Shuford Stadium 4,500 Goodman Gym 3,500
Coker Cobras
non-football school
Timberlake-Lawton Gymnasium 700
Emory & Henry Wasps Fred Selfe Stadium N/A John R. King Center 1,240
Lenoir–Rhyne Bears Moretz Stadium 8,500 Shuford Memorial Gymnasium 2,770
Limestone Saints The Reservation 8,250 Timken Center 1,500
Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters
non-football school
Tex Turner Arena 5,000
Mars Hill Lions Meares Stadium 5,000 Stanford Arena 2,800
Newberry Wolves Setzler Field 4,000 Eleazer Arena 1,600
Queens Royals
non-football school
Curry Arena 2,500
Tusculum Pioneers Pioneer Field 1,850 Pioneer Arena 2,500
UVA–Wise Cavaliers Carl Smith Stadium 3,900 David J. Prior Convocation Center 3,000
Wingate Bulldogs Irwin Belk Stadium 3,000 Cuddy Arena 2,300

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "History of the SAC". South Atlantic Conference. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  2. ^ "UVa-Wise to Join South Atlantic Conference in 2019-20". UVaWiseCavs.com. April 13, 2018. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  3. ^ "Limestone College to Join South Atlantic Conference in 2020-21" (Press release). South Atlantic Conference. April 5, 2019. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  4. ^ "Conference Carolinas and The South Atlantic Conference Partner to Sponsor Field Hockey and Wrestling" (Press release). South Atlantic Conference. January 25, 2018. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Lincoln Memorial University to Add Field Hockey and Men's and Women's Wrestling" (Press release). Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters. September 24, 2020. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  6. ^ "Emory & Henry College to Join South Atlantic Conference; Will Begin Competition in 2022-23" (Press release). South Atlantic Conference. November 17, 2020. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  7. ^ "Converse Announces Inaugural Men's NCAA Division II Athletic Teams for 2021-2022" (Press release). Converse College. April 8, 2020. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  8. ^ "E&H ATHLETICS: Moving up and out; Emory & Henry College to join NCAA Division-II South Atlantic Conference, leaving D-III and the ODAC". Bristol Herald Courier. November 17, 2020. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  9. ^ "Anderson University Moving Forward with Plan to Launch Trojan Football Program" (Press release). Anderson Trojans. October 4, 2019. Retrieved April 25, 2020.

External linksEdit