HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – The Southern Conference wrapped up its 2017 spring meetings on Friday. The four-day meetings were attended by the institutional presidents and chancellors, athletic directors, senior woman administrators and faculty athletic representatives, as well as Southern Conference staff. The league's football and men's and women's basketball coaches also held meetings.
In addition, three Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) members – ETSU's Trey Quillen (football), UNCG's Kayla Wetherell (women's cross country and track) and Western Carolina's Kasey Cooke (women's soccer) – attending meetings of the ADs, SWAs and FARs.
Among the business conducted, the league agreed to adopt instant replay in football, with schools able to opt in beginning with the 2017 season. All nine league football teams must have replay capabilities by the 2019 season.
Hosting duties for the 2017 men's soccer championship were awarded to Furman and the 2018 tennis championships were awarded to Chattanooga due to construction delays on the facilities at Mercer and ETSU, respectively. The Bucs will instead host the tennis championships in 2019, swapping with the Mocs, who had been scheduled to host that year.
In addition, future volleyball tournaments were moved from a Saturday-Sunday-Monday format to Friday-Saturday-Sunday.
ETSU president Dr. Brian Noland was named the new chair of the SoCon Council of Presidents, while Wofford faculty athletic representative Dr. Jameica Hill was elected the new president of the conference.
At the Honors Dinner on Wednesday, the SoCon recognized the league's annual award winners. Mercer soccer player Will Bagrou was honored as the Bob Waters Male Athlete of the Year, while Samford runner Karisa Nelson, who won the NCAA title in the indoor mile, was presented the Female Athlete of the Year award.
The 10 SoCon postgraduate scholarship winners were also recognized.
For the second straight season, ETSU was presented the Commissioner's Cup for fielding the best men's programs in the league, while Furman was recognized for winning its second consecutive Germann Cup, which honors the school with the top women's programs.
Wofford collected its third straight Graduation Rate Award, with 98 percent of its student-athletes graduating over the last five years. Mercer won its second consecutive Barrett-Bonner Award, given annually to the school with the highest percentage of its student-athletes on the SoCon Honor Roll, with 75 percent of its student-athletes earning the necessary 3.0 GPA for the year. The D.S. McAlister Award, presented annually to the school judged by the league's administrators and head coaches to have exhibited the highest degree of sportsmanship, went to Wofford. The award is named after Colonel D.S. McAllister of The Citadel, who served as the conference's secretary treasurer for 38 years.