Gulf South Conference
|Gulf South Conference
|Sports fielded||14 (men's: 7; women's: 7)|
|Region||Southeastern United States|
|Commissioner||Nate Salant (since 1992)|
The Gulf South Conference (GSC) is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II level which operates in the southeastern United States.
Originally known as the Mid-South Conference, the Gulf South Conference was formed by six universities in the summer of 1970: Delta State, Florence State (now North Alabama), Jacksonville State, Livingston (now West Alabama), Tennessee–Martin, and Troy State (now Troy). Scheduling problems for the 1970–71 academic year limited the league to football, won by Jacksonville State.
In 1971, the league changed its name to the Gulf South Conference; added Southeastern Louisiana (SELA) and Nicholls State (increasing the membership to eight); opened an office in Hammond, Louisiana; and began championships in all men’s sports. The following year, Mississippi College and Northwestern Louisiana (NWLA, now Northwestern State) were admitted. NWLA withdrew to go Division I two years later, followed by SELA and Nicholls State in 1979.
The conference continued with seven teams until 1981, when the presidents admitted Valdosta State. West Georgia joined in 1983. Eight years of stability ended in 1991 when Tennessee–Martin and Troy State went Division I, briefly dropping the GSC back to seven members, before the beginning of an expansion resulting in ten new members: Lincoln Memorial (1992–93); Alabama–Huntsville, Henderson State, Central Arkansas, and Mississippi University for Women (MUW) (1993–94); West Florida (1994–95); and Arkansas-Monticello, Arkansas Tech, Montevallo, and Southern Arkansas (1995–96). Jacksonville State went Division I at the end of 1992–93. Mississippi College dropped to Division III at the end of 1995–96 and was replaced by Christian Brothers to keep the Conference at 16 schools. In July 2000, the GSC welcomed Harding University and Ouachita Baptist University, making it the largest NCAA conference at any level with 18 schools. The Conference membership decreased to 17 when MUW dropped its athletics program at the end of the 2002–03 season.
2006–07 was another season of change for the GSC. Central Arkansas moved to Division I, leaving the West Division with eight schools while Lincoln Memorial left for the South Atlantic Conference due to travel and location issues, leaving the East Division with seven schools.
Montevallo announced on June 27, 2008 that they will be leaving for the Peach Belt Conference following the 2008–09 season due to issues between the University's President and the Commissioner.
Beginning with the 2011–12 academic year, current GSC members University of Arkansas at Monticello, Arkansas Tech University, Harding University, Henderson State University, Ouachita Baptist University, and Southern Arkansas University left the GSC to form the Great American Conference.
The University of New Orleans, which was transitioning from Division I to Division II, was accepted into the conference in June 2011, but the school announced intentions to stay at Division I in March 2012. In July 2011, Shorter University and Union University (Jackson, Tenn.) were accepted into the NCAA and will begin the multi-year transition process from the NAIA to NCAA. Both universities will begin GSC competition in the 2012–13 academic year but will not be eligible for NCAA national tournaments until the 2014–15 academic year. In August 2011, the GSC added the Florida Institute of Technology as an associate member for football beginning in the 2013 season.
On October 11, 2012, Mississippi College announced that it would petition the NCAA to leave Division III and return to the conference. There is a lengthy process involved as Mississippi College becomes part of the Division II candidacy starting with the 2013-14 academic year.
In 2013, Lee University joined the GSC, bringing the membership to 11.
|This article is outdated. (January 2014)|
Associate members (football only)
|Florida Institute of Technology||Melbourne, Florida||1958||Private (Nonsectarian)||6,400||Panthers||2013||Sunshine State||Yes|
1 - New Orleans was a provisional member in the GSC, which was transitioning from Division I to Division II, competing in volleyball, baseball, men’s & women’s cross country, men’s & women’s golf, and men’s & women’s tennis. However, the school announced intentions to stay Division I as of March 2012.
|Alabama–Huntsville||Non-football School||Spragins Hall||2,250|
|Christian Brothers||Non-football School||Canale Arena||1,000|
|Delta State||Parker Field at McCool Stadium||8,000||Walter Sillers Coliseum||4,000|
|North Alabama||Braly Municipal Stadium||14,215||Flowers Hall||3,900|
|Valdosta State||Bazemore-Hyder Stadium||11,500||The Complex||5,350|
|West Alabama||Tiger Stadium||7,000||Pruitt Hall||1,500|
|West Florida||Non-football School||UWF Fieldhouse||1,180|
|West Georgia||University Stadium||9,000||The Coliseum||6,790|
GSC members feature comprehensive athletic programs that compete for 14 official conference championships: football, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s golf.
The GSC is perhaps best known for being the premier conference in NCAA Division II football. The three-year run put together by North Alabama from 1993-95 is one of the most amazing feats in college football history. North Alabama went 41-1 during that span with the only loss being a 3 point loss to that season’s NCAA Division I-AA champion Youngstown State.
|Troy State||1986, 87|
|Jacksonville State||1990, 91|
|Men's Basketball||North Alabama||1979, 91|
|Women's Basketball||Delta State||1975, 76, 77, 89, 90, 92|
|Football||Valdosta State||2004, 07, 12|
|North Alabama||1993, 94, 95|
|Men's Golf||West Florida||2001, 08|
|Troy||1976, 77, 84|
|Women's Golf||Troy||1984, 86, 89|
|Women's Gymnastics||Jacksonville State||1984, 85|
|Men's Ice HockeyB||Alabama–Huntsville||1996, 98|
|Women's Soccer||Christian Brothers||2002|
|Men's Tennis||Valdosta State||2006, 11|
|West Florida||2004, 05|
|Track and Field||Southeastern Louisiana||1975|
|Women's Volleyball||North Alabama||2003|
- ^A Valdosta State was not a member of the GSC in 1979.
- ^B Although not a conference-sanctioned sport, Alabama–Huntsville fields a men's ice hockey team. It won the Division II national championship in 1996 and 1998. After the NCAA discontinued Division II ice hockey championship, UAH moved to Division I for that sport and joined the College Hockey America conference. They competed as an independent after the demise of the CHA but joined the Western Collegiate Hockey Association prior to the 2013-2014 season.
- ^C Mississippi College's football tournament participation, along with its NCAA Division II national football championship, were vacated by the NCAA Committee on Infractions for recruiting violations.
- Pickle, David (March 9, 2011). "GAC becomes 23rd DII conference". NCAA.com. National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
- "GSC Admits UNO for Conference Membership". Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- Daniels, Ed. "UNO Athletics to remain Division I in NCAA". SportsNOLA.com. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- Staff (July 11, 2011). "NCAA approves Union's application for NCAA Division II membership process". The Jackson Sun. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "NCAA accepts Shorter's application for NCAA II membership process". Shorter University. July 12, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "Florida Tech Football Accepts Invitation to Join Gulf South Conference". Florida Tech Athletics. 19 August 2011. Archived from the original on 23 August 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- Staff (October 16, 2012). "Exciting Development for MC Sports". Clinton Courier. Retrieved October 16,2012.