Great South Athletic Conference
|Great South Athletic Conference|
The Great South Athletic Conference (GSAC) was an intercollegiate athletic conference affiliated with the NCAA’s Division III. Member institutions were located nationwide, but was originally based in the southeastern United States.
The Great South Athletic Conference was founded in 1999 as a group of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III member institutions from the Southeast with similar academic and athletic interests. Charter members included Fisk University, LaGrange College, Maryville College, Piedmont College and Stillman College. In 2002, Huntingdon College and women’s colleges Agnes Scott College and Wesleyan College were granted membership. In 2003, Spelman College and Wesleyan (Ga.) were admitted to the GSAC on a provisional basis and given full membership status in 2005. Salem College, a women’s school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, became the conference’s eighth member for the 2009-10 season. Covenant College, located on top of Lookout Mountain in northwest Georgia, joined the conference in Spring 2010 and began playing in Fall 2010, while completing its requirements for NCAA Division III provisional status. Stillman, a charter member, dropped out of the conference following the 2001-02 season, now currently competing in the NCAA Division II Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC); while Fisk, another charter member, dropped out of the conference following the 2005-06 season, to compete in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Three schools (also charter members of the GSAC) left for the USA South Athletic Conference beginning with the 2012-13 season: Piedmont, LaGrange and Maryville. Pine Manor College and Trinity Washington University joined the conference in the 2012-13 season to replace those schools. Due to the lack of men's athletic programs in the GSAC, the conference stopped sponsoring men's sports championships at the end of the 2011-12 season.
On May 10, 2012, Covenant College and Huntingdon College announced plans to leave the Great South and join USA South Athletic Conference beginning in the 2013-14 season. In the 2012-13 season, the Covenant and Huntingdon women's sports competed as full members of the GSAC, while their men's sports competed as NCAA Division III independents.
On November 1, 2012, Spelman College announced that they will be dropping all intercollegiate sports at the end of the 2012-13 academic year.
On January 14, 2013, the GSAC announced that Mills College, Finlandia University, and the University of Maine at Presque Isle will join the GSAC in 2013-14. Finlandia and Maine-Presque Isle are co-educational colleges. The women's sports will join the GSAC, while the men's sports at the two schools will remain Division III Independents.
On May 6, 2015, the USA South Athletic Conference announced that Agnes Scott College, Salem College, and Wesleyan College will be leaving the GSAC and joining the USA South beginning in the 2016-2017 season.
On June 11, 2015, the GSAC announced that Mount Mary University and UC Santa Cruz would be joining the conference in women's soccer, volleyball, women's basketball, softball (Mount Mary only) and tennis (UC Santa Cruz only). The move was made effective immediately. Both schools were formerly affiliate members, playing tennis in the GSAC since 2013.
Following the move of Agnes Scott, Salem, and Wesleyan to the USA South, the GSAC dissolved in the summer of 2016. The GSAC held its last conference championships in April, 2016.
† - Women's college
* - Co-educational college. Co-ed colleges competed in both men's and women's competitions until the end of the 2011-2012 season. Beginning in the 2012-13 season, all schools competed only in women's competitions in the GSAC.
^ - Former women's college now-turned co-ed college (Pine Manor since 2014-15)
The league had 1 affiliate member that did not later become a full member:
|Rust College||Holly Springs, Mississippi||Bearcats||1866||Private/Methodist||900||NCAA D-III Independent||Softball||2014-2015|
- UC Santa Cruz and Mount Mary University were affiliate members in women's tennis in 2014 before becoming full members in 2015. Finlandia was an associate member in softball in the 2012-2013 season before becoming a full member on July 1, 2013.
From the 2012-13 academic year to the 2015-16 academic year, GSAC sponsored intercollegiate athletic competition in women's sports only: basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, golf, and volleyball.
- "Salem becomes newest GSAC member". Great South Athletic Conference. May 13, 2009. Retrieved May 14, 2009.
- Branton, B.B. (8 April 2010). "Covenant College Joins Great South Athletic Conference". The Chattanoogan. John Wilson. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
- McCormack, Timmy (11 April 2011). "Piedmont College Announces Plan To Join USA South Athletic Conference". Piedmont College Athletics. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- "LaGrange College accepts invitation to join USA South Athletic Conference". LaGrange Panthers. 21 April 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- "Pine Manor College Joins GSAC". Great South Athletic Conference. Aug 27, 2012. Retrieved Sep 8, 2012.
- "Trinity Washington University Joins GSAC". Great South Athletic Conference. Sep 7, 2012. Retrieved Sep 8, 2012.
- "Spelman eliminates athletics in favor of campus-wide wellness initiative". Inside Higher Ed. Nov 1, 2012. Retrieved Nov 4, 2012.
- "GSAC Adds Finlandia University, the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Mills College". Great South Athletic Conference. January 14, 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
- "Agnes Scott, Salem and Wesleyan Set to Join USA South". 6 May 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2015.