ROCK HILL, SC – The South Atlantic Conference Council of Presidents has agreed to a scheduling alliance in the sport of football with North Greenville University, the league announced today. The alliance is for four years and will begin with the 2011 football season.
“This is a win-win for both the South Atlantic Conference and North Greenville University,” said SAC Commissioner Patrick Britz. “It provides our schools with another in-region Division II game and allows North Greenville the opportunity to play more Division II contests. The SAC is grateful North Greenville has agreed to this alliance and we hope it benefits them as much as it will us.”
“We are indeed excited to be a part of the South Atlantic Conference through a football alliance with the conference schools,” said North Greenville president Dr. Jimmy Epting. “It is an excellent conference and we appreciate the opportunity to participate in football with such quality institutions.”
The scheduling alliance will benefit both the South Atlantic Conference and North Greenville. The eight SAC member institutions which sponsor the sport of football will now have another common in-region opponent, while it gives the Crusaders an opportunity to play a complete schedule against Division II opponents.
In recent years, some SAC schools have had trouble securing in-region contests, and some teams have had to travel extensively. North Greenville is within 150 miles of the eight SAC football-playing institutions, which should reduce travel expenses for both the Crusaders and SAC members.
North Greenville, an independent, has struggled to find Division II competition. Last season the Crusaders played seven of its 10 contests against Division II opponents, with three of those contests against SAC members. Beginning in 2010, a team must have eight contests against Division II opponents to be eligible for the NCAA Division II playoffs.
The new schedule will push the beginning of conference play two weeks earlier, starting September 15, 2011, and continuing for nine weeks. Each team will also have a bye week, which they can use to play another non-conference opponent.
The North Greenville contests will not be counted as conference games, nor will North Greenville be eligible for any conference championship or league awards.
The South Atlantic Conference is one of the premier NCAA Division II conferences in the country and strives for academic success and athletic achievement. Since becoming eligible for NCAA Division II postseason play in 1993, the league has sent representatives from all of its sponsored sports to NCAA postseason play.
The members of the South Atlantic Conference include: Brevard College, Brevard, N.C.; Carson-Newman College, Jefferson City, Tenn.; Catawba College, Salisbury, N.C.; Lenoir-Rhyne University, Hickory, N.C.; Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, Tenn.; Mars Hill College, Mars Hill, N.C.; Newberry College, Newberry, S.C.; Tusculum College, Greeneville, Tenn.; and Wingate University, Wingate, N.C. Anderson University in Anderson, S.C., will become the league’s tenth member in July.