Gulf South Conference

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Gulf South Conference
(GSC)
Gulf South Conference logo
Established 1970
Association NCAA
Division Division II
Members 11
Sports fielded 14 (men's: 7; women's: 7)
Region Southeastern United States
Headquarters Birmingham, Alabama
Commissioner Nate Salant (since 1992)
Website gscsports.org
Locations
Gulf South Conference locations

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.

History[edit]

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.

Former Commissioner Jim McCullough moved the GSC office to its present Birmingham, Alabama, location. The current Commissioner, Nate Salant, has been in office since October 1992.

2010s realignment[edit]

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.[1]

The University of New Orleans, which was transitioning from Division I to Division II, was accepted into the conference in June 2011,[2] but the school announced intentions to stay at Division I in March 2012.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] In August 2011, the GSC added the Florida Institute of Technology as an associate member for football beginning in the 2013 season.[6]

On October 11, 2012, Mississippi College announced that it would petition the NCAA to leave Division III and return to the conference.[7] 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.

Member schools[edit]

Map of GSC school locations

Current members[edit]

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Nickname Joined Football?
University of Alabama in Huntsville Huntsville, Alabama 1969 Public 7,100 Chargers 1993 No
Christian Brothers University Memphis, Tennessee 1871 Private (Catholic) 1,720 Buccaneers 1996 No
Delta State University Cleveland, Mississippi 1924 Public 4,392 Statesmen 1970 Yes
Lee University Cleveland, Tennessee 1918 Private (Church of God) 4,012 Flames 2013 No
University of North Alabama Florence, Alabama 1830 Public 7,244 Lions 1970 Yes
Shorter University Rome, Georgia 1873 Private (Baptist) 3,500 Hawks 2012 Yes
Union University Jackson, Tennessee 1823 Private (Baptist) 4,186 Bulldogs 2012 No
Valdosta State University Valdosta, Georgia 1906 Public 12,898 Blazers 1981 Yes
University of West Alabama Livingston, Alabama 1835 Public 5,157 Tigers 1970 Yes
University of West Florida Pensacola, Florida 1963 Public 12,823 Argonauts 1994 Yes, starting in 2016
University of West Georgia Carrollton, Georgia 1906 Public 11,252 Wolves 1983 Yes

Associate members (football only)[edit]

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Nickname Joined Primary Conference Football?
Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, Florida 1958 Private (Nonsectarian) 6,400 Panthers 2013[6] Sunshine State Yes

Former members[edit]

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Nickname Joined Left Current
Conference
(Classification)
Arkansas Tech University Russellville, Arkansas 1909 Public 10,972 Wonder Boys
&
Golden Suns
1995 2011 Great American
University of Arkansas at Monticello Monticello, Arkansas 1910 Public 3,483 Boll Weevils
&
Cotton Blossoms
1995 2011 Great American
University of Central Arkansas Conway, Arkansas 1907 Public 13,863 Bears
&
Sugar Bears
1993 2006 Southland
(NCAA D–I FCS)
Harding University Searcy, Arkansas 1924 Private 6,815 Bisons 2000 2011 Great American
Henderson State University Arkadelphia, Arkansas 1890 Public 3,981 Reddies 1993 2011 Great American
Jacksonville State University Jacksonville, Alabama 1883 Public 9,490 Gamecocks 1970 1993 Ohio Valley
(NCAA D–I FCS)
Lincoln Memorial University Harrogate, Tennessee 1897 Private 3,379 Railsplitters 1992 2006 South Atlantic
Mississippi College Clinton, Mississippi 1826 Private 5,145 Choctaws 1972 1996 American Southwest
(NCAA D–III)
Mississippi University for Women Columbus, Mississippi 1884 Public 250 Blues 1993 2003 Athletic programs discontinued
University of Montevallo Montevallo, Alabama 1896 Public 2,885 Falcons 1995 2009 Peach Belt
University of New Orleans1 New Orleans, Louisiana 1958 Public 9,825 Privateers 2011 2012 Southland
(NCAA D–I)
Nicholls State University Thibodaux, Louisiana 1948 Public 7,093 Colonels 1971 1979 Southland
(NCAA D–I FCS)
Northwestern State University Natchitoches, Louisiana 1884 Public 9,244 Demons 1971 1973 Southland
(NCAA D–I FCS)
Ouachita Baptist University Arkadelphia, Arkansas 1886 Private 1,594 Tigers 2000 2011 Great American
Southeastern Louisiana University Hammond, Louisiana 1925 Public 17,800 Lions 1971 1979 Southland
(NCAA D–I FCS)
Southern Arkansas University Magnolia, Arkansas 1909 Public 3,224 Muleriders
&
Lady Muleriders
1995 2011 Great American
University of Tennessee at Martin Martin, Tennessee 1927 Public 8,101 Skyhawks 1970 1991 Ohio Valley
(NCAA D–I FCS)
Troy University Troy, Alabama 1887 Public 29,689 Trojans 1970 1991 Sun Belt
(NCAA D–I FBS)
Notes

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.

Membership timeline[edit]

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

Conference venues[edit]

School Football Basketball
Stadium Capacity Arena Capacity
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

[edit]

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.

National championships[edit]

Sport School Year(s)
Baseball West Florida 2011
Valdosta StateA 1979
Delta State 2004
Troy State 1986, 87
Jacksonville State 1990, 91
Men's Basketball North Alabama 1979, 91
Jacksonville State 1985
Women's Basketball Delta State 1975, 76, 77, 89, 90, 92
Southeastern Louisiana 1977
Football Valdosta State 2004, 07, 12
Delta State 2000
North Alabama 1993, 94, 95
West Alabama 1971
Troy 1984, 87
Jacksonville State 1992
Mississippi College 1989C
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
West Florida 2012
Men's Tennis Valdosta State 2006, 11
West Florida 2004, 05
Softball Valdosta State 2012
Track and Field Southeastern Louisiana 1975
Women's Volleyball North Alabama 2003

Notes[edit]

^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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pickle, David (March 9, 2011). "GAC becomes 23rd DII conference". NCAA.com. National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved April 18, 2011. 
  2. ^ "GSC Admits UNO for Conference Membership". Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  3. ^ Daniels, Ed. "UNO Athletics to remain Division I in NCAA". SportsNOLA.com. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Staff (July 11, 2011). "NCAA approves Union's application for NCAA Division II membership process". The Jackson Sun. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  5. ^ "NCAA accepts Shorter's application for NCAA II membership process". Shorter University. July 12, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "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. 
  7. ^ Staff (October 16, 2012). "Exciting Development for MC Sports". Clinton Courier. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 

External links[edit]