The Southern Conference announced today that
The SoCon’s Council of Presidents formally ratified the unanimous endorsement of the league’s Executive Committee during a teleconference held this morning.
“We are delighted that
In 2003-04, Samford was ranked seventh --- along with Harvard, Bradley and U.S. Naval Academy --- in the inaugural national Academic Progress Ratings (APR). Over the last five years, more than 50 percent of Samford’s student-athletes earned a grade point average of 3.00 or better. In the last three academic years, Samford student-athletes have earned an average grade point average of 2.85.
“The invitation from the Southern Conference comes at a unique point in Samford’s history,” Samford President Dr. Andrew Westmoreland said. “Finding the right balance of academics and athletics is a strategic planning priority for Samford, and we share other peer relationships with Southern Conference member institutions that make the athletics relationship right for us at this time. This has not been an easy decision for
With the addition of Samford, the Conference expands to 12 members located in five states --
“This day speaks volumes about the progression of Samford athletics,” Samford Director of Athletics Bob Roller said. “It also points to the dedication and hard work of many coaches and student-athletes who have worked tirelessly to put us in this position. Competing in the Southern Conference in intercollegiate athletics is a challenge – plain and simple. I have not met one member of our program who does not welcome this challenge. We look forward to working with Commissioner (John) Iamarino and staff in the coming days.”
Founded in 1841 and located in
“The addition of Samford will benefit the SoCon in many ways,” Iamarino said. “It will strengthen our efforts in both football and basketball scheduling. It provides a road-swing partner for
Samford has established a record of success as a member of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) winning 11 team titles the last four seasons. Nine coaches have been honored as OVC Coach of the Year with eight student-athletes earning conference Player of the Year recognition. Winner of the OVC’s 2004 women’s all-sports championship, the Bulldogs have won four straight conference women’s soccer titles and advanced to the second round of the 2005 NCAA Championship. In 2006, pitcher Josh Ehmke was named Honorable Mention All-American by Collegiate Baseball and J. Robert Merritt became the school’s first Honorable Mention All-American in men’s basketball. Lauren Blankenship was named All-American in both cross country and track. Four Samford football players have earned All-American status the last four seasons.
“During our campus visit and the many discussions we have conducted, I have been greatly impressed with the new president at Samford, Dr. Andrew Westmoreland, with athletic director Bob Roller, his staff and his head coaches,” said Iamarino. “They have expressed their enthusiasm and desire to meet the challenge of joining a new conference and we look forward to working with them.”
The Southern Conference is the nation’s fifth-oldest NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association. The Southern Conference has excelled as the premier football championship subdivision conference. The league sponsors championships in 19 sports including: men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, football, men’s and women’s indoor track & field, men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s outdoor track & field, softball and baseball.
What They are Saying ...
“The academic reputation of Samford will further enhance the reputation of the Southern Conference as one that is exemplary in its recognition of priorities beyond the arena and the playing field.” --- Dr. Benjamin Dunlap, president, Wofford College
“Samford will be a good addition to the quality institutions currently in our conference, and will expand the footprint of our conference into a new state.” --- Dr. Kenneth Peacock, chancellor, Appalachian State University