HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – The Southern Conference wrapped up its 2019 spring meetings at the Sonesta Resort in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, 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.
Among the business conducted: the ADs spent considerable time discussing future television and streaming options; the conference has eliminated its automatic suspension policy for an ejection for unsportsmanlike behavior, leaving suspensions under the jurisdiction of the commissioner; a Wednesday/Saturday schedule for conference games will go into effect for men’s basketball for the coming season, eliminating the need for strict travel partners; and new conference officers were elected, with Mercer’s Dr. Jeffrey Hugdahl selected as president and UNC Greensboro’s Dr. David Wyrick elected vice president.
In addition, several championship formats were adjusted.
For volleyball, the No. 8 seed will now host the No. 9 seed on its campus for a first-round match on either the Monday or Tuesday prior to the start of the championship, eliminating the need for five matches on the Friday of the championship and for the winner of that first-round contest to play twice in a day.
The men’s soccer championship will no longer take place at a predetermined site, beginning with the 2019 edition. Now, the No. 6 seed will host the No. 7 seed on its campus on the Tuesday following the completion of the regular season, followed by the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds hosting quarterfinals and semifinals on Friday and Sunday. The match between the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds will take place at the No. 1 seed on Friday, with the winner advancing to face the top seed on Sunday. The No. 3 seed and the 6/7 winner will face off on Friday on the No. 2 seed’s campus, with the winner advancing to meet the host on Sunday. The final will take place the following Saturday or Sunday at the campus of the highest remaining seed.
Similarly, the women’s soccer championship will no longer be held at a predetermined site, starting in 2020. The new model is similar to that adopted for men’s soccer, starting with first-round matches being held on the sites of the Nos. 7 and 8 seeds on the Sunday following the conclusion of the regular season. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be held on the campuses of the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds the following Friday and Sunday, with the final taking place on the next Saturday or Sunday at the site of the highest remaining seed.
Lastly, Chattanooga was awarded hosting duties for the 2021 softball championship.
At the Honors Dinner on Wednesday, the SoCon recognized the league’s annual award winners. The 10 SoCon postgraduate scholarship winners were recognized, with six recipients or their representatives on-hand to be honored.
For the fourth 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 fourth consecutive Germann Cup, which honors the school with the top women’s programs.
The Barrett-Bonner Award, given annually to the school with the highest percentage of its student-athletes on the SoCon Honor Roll, went to Mercer for the fourth consecutive year, as the Bears had 76 percent of their student-athletes earn 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 VMI for first time since the Keydets rejoined the league and 11th time overall. The award is named after Colonel D.S. McAllister of The Citadel, who served as the conference’s secretary treasurer for 38 years.