Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association
The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) was one of the first collegiate athletic conferences in the United States. Twenty-seven of the current Division I FBS (formerly Division I-A) football programs were members of this conference at some point, as were at least 19 other schools. Every member of the current Southeastern Conference except Arkansas and Missouri, as well as six of the 15 current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference plus the University of Texas at Austin, now of the Big 12 Conference (and previously of the now defunct Southwest Conference), formerly held membership in the SIAA.
|Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association|
|Region||Southern United States|
|William Lofland Dudley||1894–1912|
|Buz M. Walker||1917|
|Henry D. Phillips||1919–1922|
|J. W. Provine||1927–1942|
The SIAA was founded on December 21, 1894, by Dr. William Dudley, a chemistry professor at Vanderbilt, at the Kimball House in Atlanta. Dudley was a member of the Vanderbilt Athletic Association, formed in 1886 with Dr. W. M. Baskerville as president. Most students at Vanderbilt were members. The early sports played on the Vanderbilt campus were baseball, bicycling, and track and field events. Dudley was primarily responsible for the formation of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The first advance in the direction of its formation was in March 1888 when the Vanderbilt Athletic Association endeavored to secure track and field meets at Vanderbilt from Southwestern Presbyterian University, Sewanee, and Tennessee. Sewanee's opposition stopped it from occurring.
The original members were Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Johns Hopkins, North Carolina, Sewanee, Vanderbilt, and Virginia. Virginia and North Carolina soon dropped out, even before the inaugural 1895 season.
Central (Eastern Kentucky), Clemson, Cumberland, Kentucky, LSU, Mercer, Mississippi A&M (Mississippi State), Southwestern Presbyterian University, Texas, Tulane, and the University of Nashville joined the following year in 1895 as invited charter members. The conference was originally formed for "the development and purification of college athletics throughout the South". They crafted a constitution, created an Executive Committee, elected officers, and set rules for:
- annual conventions
- limiting players to five years of eligibility
- banning professional athletes
- requiring athletes to attend the school they represent
- banning instructors and professors from playing
- suspensions of individuals and schools
The league did not, however, sponsor much in the way of championship competition for its member schools. It did hold an annual track and field competition for a trophy, and it also held some basketball tournaments over the years, but apparently some member schools did not compete in the tournament during some years, and sometimes non-member southern schools were even allowed to compete in it as well. In 1903, a single-game football playoff occurred, but it seems to have been coordinated more so by the two competing schools (Clemson and Cumberland) than the conference itself. Several other efforts over the years by individual schools (rather than by the SIAA) to hold a conference title game fell through. Most SIAA titles claimed by schools in various sports were actually more mythical in nature than officially sanctioned by the league. Indeed, some schools centrally-located in the conference played far more conference games than others on the periphery, making it difficult to form a fair comparison to determine just which team was truly the best, especially once the league began to constantly expand its membership.
In 1915, a disagreement arose within the conference regarding the eligibility of freshman athletes, the so-called "one-year rule." Generally, the larger universities opposed the eligibility of freshman players, while the smaller schools favored it. As a result, some of the large universities formed the Southern Intercollegiate Conference (now the Southern Conference), which used the one-year rule, while still maintaining membership within the SIAA.
At the conference's annual meeting on December 10, 1920, the SIAA rejected proposals to ban freshman athletes and abolish paid summer baseball. In protest, some schools that had voted in favor of the propositions immediately announced they would seek to form a new conference. On February 25, 1921, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Tennessee left the SIAA to form the Southern Conference, along with non-SIAA members Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Washington and Lee. In 1922, the Southern Conference underwent an expansion and added six more members, all at the expense of the SIAA: Florida, Louisiana State, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tulane, and Vanderbilt.
With the departure of most of the major colleges, the SIAA became a de facto small college conference in 1923. In the 1920s and 1930s, the SIAA increased its membership with the addition of many additional small universities. The conference eventually disbanded in 1942 with the onset of American involvement in World War II. League archives were kept at Vanderbilt, the league's founding school, but the building housing the archives was eventually gutted with fire, taking countless irreplaceable items pertaining to the SIAA's history with it.
In 1947 there was an attempt, led by Western Kentucky, to revive the SIAA. Western Kentucky hosted an SIAA basketball tournament that turned out to be little more than an invitational tournament because former SIAA members declined to participate.
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Original charter members are denoted in boldface. Invited charter members are denoted with an asterisk. In the era in which the SIAA operated, teams tended to join in December; therefore, the first year of conference play in a given sport was often the following calendar year.
Conference affiliations reflect those for the 2016–17 school year.
- Greg Roza, Football in the SEC (Southeastern Conference), p. 1, 2007, ISBN 1-4042-1919-6.
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- "S. I. A. A." Times-Democrat. January 18, 1895. p. 3. Retrieved December 13, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
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- Bailey, John Wendell (1924). Handbook of Southern Intercollegiate Track and Field Athletics. Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College. p. 14.
- http://assets.espn.go.com/SEC/basketball/ncw/2015/SEC WBB Media Guide.pdf
- Southern Inter-Collegiate Athletic Association (PDF). Athens, GA: E. D. Stone. 1895. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- Roger Saylor, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (PDF), College Football Historical Society, The LA84 Foundation, retrieved March 1, 2009.
- "NEW COLLEGE BODY PLANNED IN SOUTH; Twelve Universities Take Steps to Break Away From Intercollegiate A. A" (PDF). The New York Times. December 12, 1920.
- "The Southern Conference". Southern Conference. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- SIAA having trouble filling basketball tournament, , The Paducah Sun-Democrat 02 Mar 1947 Page 16, retrieved April 30, 2019.
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- "Colleges Favor Mass Athletics", Tuscaloosa News, Tuscaloosa, AL, p. 1, February 18, 1919
- "S.I.A.A. Will Not Be Split, Head of Organization Says", Tennessean, Nashville, TN, p. 10, December 16, 1929
- "Sports Advisor Proposal Before S.I.A.A. Members", The Town Talk, Alexandria, LA, p. 11, December 7, 1936
- "University of Texas Record". 1905.
- "Southern Athletic Association". The Courier Journal. December 21, 1902. p. 26. Retrieved January 16, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.