Dixie Conference

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The Dixie Conference was the name of three collegiate athletic leagues in the United States. The first operated from 1930 until the United States' entry into World War II in 1942. The second conference to use the name existed from 1948 to 1954. The third was the original name of the current USA South Athletic Conference.

Dixie Conference (1930)[edit]

Formation and relationship with the SIAA[edit]

At the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) annual convention in 1930, nine of the association's members announced the formation of the Dixie Conference to facilitate scheduling of games among the group.[1] The charter members were Birmingham-Southern College, Howard College (now Samford University), Southwestern of Memphis (now Rhodes College), Centre College, University of Chattanooga, Spring Hill College and Mercer University;[1] Loyola University New Orleans joined the Dixie two years later.[2]

At the time of formation, conference president Dean G. W. Meade of Birmingham-Southern stated, "We are still members of the S. I. A. A. and will continue to be so."[1] However, at the SIAA convention the following year, Birmingham-Southern, Howard and Spring Hill resigned from the association.[3] University officials at Chattanooga announced their resignation from the SIAA in 1932, explaining that they "saw no purpose in remaining in the unwieldy association after successful launching of the Dixie Conference two years ago".[4]

Two years prior to the SIAA, the Dixie Conference approved the use of scholarships in 1936.[5]

Football champions[edit]

List of conference football champions by year:[6]

Year Champion
1931 Chattanooga
1932 Mercer
1933 Howard
1934 Birmingham-Southern
1935 Howard
1936 Howard
1937 Birmingham-Southern
1938 Southwestern
1939 Southwestern
1940 Mississippi College, Howard, Chattanooga
1941 Chattanooga

Reduction then dissolution[edit]

After a university planning committee recommendation to either drop competitive football or to compete at the "big time" level, on June 3, 1939, Birmingham-Southern announced that it was ending its football program in favor of an enlarged intramural athletic program.[7] Loyola followed suit the following December and also dropped football from the University's athletic program.[8] The remaining slate of Dixie Conference membership lasted until the American entry into World War II, when several league schools suspended athletics.[6][9][10]

Dixie Conference (1948)[edit]

Formation of purely amateur conference[edit]

In 1948, the administration of Florida State University, which had returned to coeducation in 1947 after more than 40 years as a women's college, wrote leaders at other southern institutions seeking to create a "purely amateur" athletic conference.[11] The NCAA had recently tightened its rules on the amount of money that could be paid to collegiate athletes, which caused difficulty for many established athletic programs.[12] Florida State hoped to create a new conference based on the principle of complete amateurism, including no athletic scholarships.[11]

The original Dixie Conference lineup included, in addition to Florida State, Howard College (now Samford University) from Alabama, Stetson University and the University of Tampa from Florida, Lambuth College from Tennessee, Mercer University and Oglethorpe University from Georgia, and Millsaps College and Mississippi College from Mississippi.[13] Of the nine charter members, six (FSU, Howard, Millsaps, Mississippi, Stetson, and Tampa) played football.

Membership transitions[edit]

In 1949, Lambuth, Stetson and Tampa left the conference, while Florida Southern College joined.[14] In December 1950, after winning the first three Dixie football titles without losing a single conference game, founding member Florida State withdrew to become an independent and began offering scholarships.[15][16]

1951 – 1954[edit]

In the four years following the departure of Florida State, Millsaps won three conference football titles and Mississippi College won one.[6] Citing "operation difficulties and limited competition between members", the league disbanded in December 1954 following the resignation of Howard, Millsaps and Mississippi College.[17]

Football champions[edit]

List of conference football champions by year:[6]

Year Champion
1948 Florida State
1949 Florida State
1950 Florida State
1951 Millsaps
1952 Millsaps
1953 Mississippi College
1954 Millsaps

Dixie Conference (1963)[edit]

The Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference was founded in 1963 as a member of the NAIA with the philosophy that participation would be strictly amateur, so no athletic financial aid or scholarships would be awarded by its affiliate institutions. The six charter members were Charlotte College, College of Charleston, Methodist College, North Carolina Wesleyan College, St. Andrews Presbyterian College, and Lynchburg College.[18]

In 1973, when the NCAA divided into a three division format, the Dixie Conference left the NAIA and moved into the non-scholarship NCAA Division III.[18]

On June 30, 2003, the conference changed to its name to the USA South Athletic Conference.[19]

Conference membership under Dixie Conference moniker[edit]

List of conference members prior to name change:[20]

Institution Joined Departed
College of Charleston 1963 1970
Lynchburg 1963 1976
Methodist 1963 Member through name change
NC Wesleyan 1963 Member through name change
St. Andrew's 1963 1988
UNC Charlotte 1963 1970
Greensboro College 1966 Member through name change
UNC Greensboro 1968 1988
Virginia Wesleyan 1970 1989
Christopher Newport 1972 Member through name change; left in 2013
Averett 1978 Member through name change
Ferrum College 1988 Member through name change
Shenandoah 1992 Member through name change; left in 2012
Chowan 2000 Member through name change

Football champions[edit]

List of conference football champions by from beginning of football sponsorship until name change:[21]

Year Champion
2000 First year of conference sponsorship. No championship awarded.
2001 Ferrum, Christopher Newport
2002 Ferrum, Christopher Newport

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Dixie Conference Formed in South", New York Times, December 16, 1930: 29 .
  2. ^ Salor, Roger (February 1993), "Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association" (PDF), College Football Historical Society Newsletter (College Football Historical Society) VI (II): 13–14, retrieved 2008-01-16 
  3. ^ "3 Alabama College Resign from S.I.A.A.", New York Times, December 15, 1931: 35 
  4. ^ "Chattanooga Quits Body", New York Times, December 6, 1932: 29 
  5. ^ "South Relaxes Rules on Help to Athletes", New York Times, December 19, 1938: 28 
  6. ^ a b c d "Dixie Conference", Conference Championships (College Football Data Warehouse), retrieved 2008-04-03 
  7. ^ College Drops Football, New York Times, June 4, 1939, pp. S6 
  8. ^ Loyola Drops Football, New York Times, December 17, 1939, p. 83 
  9. ^ Mercer Sports Suspended, New York Times, January 9, 1942, p. 28 
  10. ^ Howard Suspends Football, New York Times, January 10, 1942, p. 22 
  11. ^ a b Pettijohn, Fred (January 22, 1948), The Daily Democrat (Tallahassee, Florida): 10 
  12. ^ Watterson, John Sayle (October 14, 2002), College Football: History, Spectacle, Controversy, The Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 210 
  13. ^ Daily Democrat (Tallahassee, Florida), May 11, 1948: 6 
  14. ^ Florida Times Union (Jacksonville, Florida), February 27, 1949 
  15. ^ Jacksonville Journal (Jacksonville, Florida), December 17, 1950: 54 
  16. ^ "Eligibility Back on Wartime Basis", New York Times, December 17, 1950: S1 
  17. ^ "COLLEGE GROUP DISBANDS; Dixie Conference Cites Lack of Competition of Members", The New York Times, December 22, 1954: 32 
  18. ^ a b 2007 Football Media Guide (PDF), USA South Athletic Conference, retrieved 2008-04-28 
  19. ^ "Dixie Conference Chooses New Name", Greensboro News Record, 2003-02-03: C1 
  20. ^ USA South Athletic Conference History & Record Book (PDF) (13 ed.), USA South Athletic Conference, 2011, retrieved 2011-09-13 
  21. ^ "USA South Athletic Conference", Conference Championships (College Football Data Warehouse), retrieved 2008-04-28