South Atlantic Conference
|South Atlantic Conference
|Members||12 (11 in 2017)|
|Sports fielded||18 (20 in 2017) (men's: 9 (10 in 2017); women's: 9 (10 in 2017))|
|Region||Southeastern United States|
|Headquarters||Rock Hill, South Carolina|
|Commissioner||Patrick Britz (since 2008)|
The South Atlantic Conference (SAC) is a collegiate athletic conference which operates in the southeastern United States. It participates in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)'s Division II level. The SAC was founded in 1975 as a football-only conference and became an all-sports conference beginning with the 1989–90 season.
The league currently sponsors nine sports for men (football, cross country, soccer, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, outdoor track & field, tennis and golf) and nine sports for women (volleyball, cross country, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, outdoor track & field, softball, tennis and golf).
The distant forerunner of the South Atlantic Conference was the North State Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NSIAC). The NSIAC was formed when the "Little Six", as it was called, broke from the North Carolina Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 1930. These charter members included such as Appalachian State Teachers College (now Appalachian State University), Lenoir–Rhyne College (now Lenoir–Rhyne University), Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College), Catawba College, Guilford College, Elon College (now Elon University), and High Point College (now High Point University).
The North State continued to grow over the next 30 years, adding Western Carolina University (1933), East Carolina University (1947) and Pfeiffer College (now Pfeiffer University) (1960). A name change became necessary when the league accepted Newberry College as its first member from the state of South Carolina in 1961. The league took on the name Carolinas Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (CIAC) on May 20th of that year.
The CIAC saw several changes in the following years as East Carolina withdrew from the league in 1962. Appalachian State and Western Carolina followed in 1971 and 1976. All three landed in the Southern Conference (SoCon).
The South Atlantic Conference was founded in 1975 solely as a football conference. The league received its name from a contest in which Kurt Brenneman of Greensboro, North Carolina became the first to submit the SAC-8 moniker.
The SAC-8 consisted of Carson–Newman College (now Carson–Newman University), Catawba College, Elon College, Gardner–Webb College (now Gardner–Webb University), Lenoir-Rhyne College, Mars Hill College (now Mars Hill University), Newberry College', and Presbyterian College. Dr. Fred Bentley, of Mars Hill College, was named league president for its inaugural year, by a vote of the member institutions.
After the first season of play in the SAC-8, the Bears of Lenoir-Rhyne College captured the first football title.
In 1989, the league's 15th year of operation, the South Atlantic Conference became a comprehensive, multi-sport conference. Doug Echols was named the league's first Commissioner. That year the South Atlantic Conference sponsored 10 sports - football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball, men's soccer, volleyball, men's golf, men's and women's tennis. Later the conference grew to 14 championship sports by adding women's soccer (1990), men's and women's cross country (1993) and women's golf (1999). In 2013, the sports of men's and women's lacrosse and men's and women's track and field were added, increasing the number of championship sports to 18.
The South Atlantic Conference was composed of the same eight member institutions from 1975–76 until 1988–89, when Wingate College (now Wingate University) replaced Newberry College as the eighth member institution. Newberry College later re-joined the conference in the 1996–97 season.
In July of 1998, Tusculum College was admitted as a member of the league, and Lincoln Memorial University began play in the conference in the 2006-07 academic year. Brevard College was admitted to the SAC as a provisional member in 2007 and a full member in 2008.
In 2008, Echols retired after serving as Commissioner for 19 years and Patrick Britz was hired as the new Commissioner.
Newberry College left the SAC in 1989 (as a football member), and re-joined in 1996 (as an all-sport member). Wingate replaced Newberry College as the final member for the birth of the all-sport SAC in 1989.
Elon, Gardner–Webb, and Presbyterian (now former members) were charter members of both the SAC-8 football era and the SAC all-sport era.
|Anderson University||Anderson, South Carolina||1911||2,900||Trojans||2010|
|Brevard College||Brevard, North Carolina||1934||700||Tornados||2008|
|Carson–Newman University||Jefferson City, Tennessee||1851||2,115||Eagles||1975|
|Catawba College||Salisbury, North Carolina||1851||1,300||Indians||1975|
|Coker College||Hartsville, South Carolina||1908||1,000||Cobras||2013|
|Lenoir–Rhyne University||Hickory, North Carolina||1891||1,800||Bears||1975|
|Lincoln Memorial University||Harrogate, Tennessee||1897||2,579||Railsplitters||2006|
|Mars Hill University||Mars Hill, North Carolina||1856||1,300||Lions||1975|
|Newberry College||Newberry, South Carolina||1856||930||Wolves||1975;
|Queens University of Charlotte||Charlotte, North Carolina||1857||2,100||Royals||2013|
|Tusculum College||Tusculum, Tennessee||1794||2,053||Pioneers||1998|
|Wingate University||Wingate, North Carolina||1896||2,300||Bulldogs||1989|
|Elon University||Elon, North Carolina||1889||Phoenix||1975||1997||Colonial Athletic
|Gardner–Webb University||Boiling Springs, North Carolina||1905||Runnin' Bulldogs||1975||2000||Big South
|Presbyterian College||Clinton, South Carolina||1880||Blue Hose||1975||2007||Big South
Full member (all sports) Full member (non-football) Associate member (football-only) Associate member (sport)
|Track & Field Outdoor|
Men's sponsored sports by school
- SAC — Track & Field Indoor (M) begins in 2017.
Women's sponsored sports by school
- SAC — Track & Field Indoor (W) begins in 2017.
Other sponsored sports by school
- ‡ — D-I sport
Conference stadia and arenas
|Abney Athletic Center||1,500|
|Brevard Tornados||Brevard Memorial Stadium||5,000||Boshamer Gymnasium||1,000|
|Carson–Newman Eagles||Burke–Tarr Stadium||5,500||Holt Fieldhouse||2,000|
|Catawba Indians||Shuford Stadium||4,500||Goodman Gym||3,500|
|Lenoir–Rhyne Bears||Moretz Stadium||8,500||Shuford Memorial Gymnasium||2,770|
|Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters||
|Tex Turner Arena||5,000|
|Mars Hill Lions||Meares Stadium||5,000||Stanford Arena||2,800|
|Newberry Wolves||Setzler Field||4,000||Eleazer Arena||1,600|
|Tusculum Pioneers||Pioneer Field||3,500||Pioneer Arena||2,500|
|Wingate Bulldogs||Irwin Belk Stadium||3,000||Cuddy Arena||2,300|
- "College Announces Reclassification to NCAA Division III". Brevard College. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
- "Brevard accepted for membership in USA South Athletic Conference". Brevard College Athletics. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
- "The South Atlantic Conference Recaps 2015-16, Makes Plans for 2016-17 Season at Annual Meeting". South Atlantic Conference. Retrieved June 16, 2016.