With the new academic year, starting in less than a week, comes the announcement of the name of Oglethorpe’s new athletic conference that will launch in 2012-13: the Southern Athletic Association (SAA).
The new conference is truly southern, in that all eight member schools represent six southern states, its territory reaching from Georgia and Alabama over to colleges in Kentucky and Arkansas. The geographic focus will result in reduced travel time and fewer missed classes, while still allowing for a strong conference of like-minded institutions, all of which integrate competitive athletics into the whole of the student’s educational experience.
In a statement released today, the SAA announced its commitment to “fostering athletic competition and cooperation among academically selective, residential liberal arts colleges located in the southeastern region of the United States.”
The SAA member schools are Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, Centre College in Kentucky, Hendrix College in Arkansas, Millsaps College in Mississippi, Oglethorpe University and Berry College in Georgia, and Rhodes College and Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee.
Jay Gardiner, athletics director at Oglethorpe, will serve as the Southern Athletic Association interim commissioner. Oglethorpe president Lawrence Schall will serve as convener of the conference’s Presidential Council during the 2011-12 academic year while Brian Chafin, athletics director at Centre, will serve as convener of the Athletics Director Council in 2011-12.