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.
- 1 History
- 2 Member schools
- 3 Conference venues
- 4 Sponsored sports
- 5 National championships
- 6 References
- 7 External links
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.
The GSC moved away from divisional play after the 2010-11 season after its six Arkansas members broke away, dropping the membership to eight. Thanks to an aggressive expansion plan, the GSC sponsored the Division II applications of Union University (TN) and Shorter University (GA), which became official members in 2014-15. The next step in bolstering its membership came in 2012, backing the Division II application of Lee University (TN) which is on track to join the league officially in 2015-16. The league added its first-ever associate member, Florida Tech, in football only in 2013. The Conference hopes to officially add an old friend back into the fold when Mississippi College submitted its application to rejoin Division II and is on track for 2016-17 membership.
Former Commissioner Jim McCullough brought the GSC office to Birmingham when he was hired in 1979. The Conference welcomed its seventh Commissioner in May, 2014 when Matt Wilson was selected to follow Nate Salant who retired after a 22-year stint.
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. The transition period will end with the 2016-17 season when Mississippi College will become a full Division II member.
In 2013, Lee University joined the GSC, bringing the membership to 11. Lee University moved to Division II provisional membership for the 2014-15 season. They will complete transition to Division II in the 2015-16 season. Mississippi College entered its second candidacy year with the 2014-15 season in its path to full Division II membership in 2016-17 and added Gulf South Conference teams to its schedule.
|University of Alabama in Huntsville||Huntsville, Alabama||1969||7,100||Chargers||1993|
|Christian Brothers University||Memphis, Tennessee||1871||1,720||Buccaneers||1996|
|Delta State University||Cleveland, Mississippi||1924||4,392||Statesmen||1970|
|Lee University||Cleveland, Tennessee||1918||4,012||Flames||2013|
|Mississippi College||Clinton, Mississippi||1826||4,162||Choctaws||1972;
|University of North Alabama||Florence, Alabama||1830||7,244||Lions||1970|
|Shorter University||Rome, Georgia||1873||3,500||Hawks||2012|
|Union University||Jackson, Tennessee||1823||4,186||Bulldogs||2012|
|Valdosta State University||Valdosta, Georgia||1906||12,898||Blazers||1981|
|University of West Alabama||Livingston, Alabama||1835||5,157||Tigers||1970|
|University of West Florida||Pensacola, Florida||1963||12,823||Argonauts||1994|
|University of West Georgia||Carrollton, Georgia||1906||11,252||Wolves||1983|
- Mississippi College — left the GSC in 1996, and re-joined in 2014.
- Provisional member in red.
|Florida Institute of Technology||Melbourne, Florida||1958||6,400||Panthers||2013||football||Sunshine State|
|Spring Hill College||Mobile, Alabama||1830||1,439||Badgers||2014||golf (W);
- Provisional member in red.
- Harding — soccer (M) was an affiliate member in 2011–12.
- New Orleans — provisional member in transition from D-I to D-II which competed in baseball, cross country (M / W), golf (M / W), tennis (M / W), and volleyball. However, the school announced intentions to remain D-I in March 2012.
- Ouachita Baptist — soccer (M) was an affiliate member in 2011–12.
Full member (all sports) Full member (non-football) Associate member (football-only) Associate member (sport)
|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|
|Florida Tech||Pirate Stadium||4,980||football-only member|
|Lee||non-football school||Walker Arena||2,700|
|Mississippi College||Robinson-Hale Stadium||8,500||A.E. Wood Coliseum||3,500|
|North Alabama||Braly Municipal Stadium||14,215||Flowers Hall||3,900|
|Shorter||Barron Stadium||6,500||Winthrop-King Centre||1,500|
|Union||non-football school||Fred DeLay Gymnasium||2,200|
|Valdosta State||Bazemore-Hyder Stadium||11,500||The Complex||5,350|
|West Alabama||Tiger Stadium||7,000||Pruitt Hall||1,500|
|West Florida||Pensacola Bayfront Stadium (2016)||UWF Fieldhouse||1,180|
|West Georgia||University Stadium||9,000||The Coliseum||6,790|
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.
Men's sponsored sports by school
|Spring Hill College||1|
- West Florida — Football begins play in 2016.
Women's sponsored sports by school
|Spring Hill College||2|
Other sponsored sports by school
- ‡ — D-I sport
- NSISC — New South Intercollegiate Swim Conference
|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, 14|
|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.
- "It's Time to be II". Mississippi College. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Division II Admits its 300th Member". NCAA. Retrieved 20 October 2014.