Berea, eight others form new Conference of the South for athletics

Part of planned split of USA South Atlantic Conference

BEREA, Ky. (WTVQ/Berea College)– Nine member institutions of the USA South Athletic Conference (USAS) have officially formed and have been approved by the NCAA as a new Division III athletic conference, following a planned separation of USAS. This new conference, the “Collegiate Conference of the South” (CCS), will include Agnes Scott College, Belhaven University, Berea College, Covenant College, Huntingdon College, LaGrange College, Maryville College, Piedmont University, and Wesleyan College.

The USA South is currently the nation’s largest NCAA Division III conference, with 19 member institutions. After years of internal discussions, a two-conference separation strategy emerged, and more recently, the USAS Presidents Council formally committed to the establishment of two viable conferences. The new CCS was officially incorporated in the State of Georgia on Jan. 12, 2022, and application materials for conference membership were officially approved on Feb. 17 by the NCAA Division III Membership Committee.

The CCS Presidents Council and Executive Committee are led by Dr. Bryan F. Coker (president, Maryville College), chair; Dr. Susanna L. Baxter (president, LaGrange College), vice-chair; and Rev. J. Cameron West (president, Huntingdon College), at-large representative. CCS schools are being supported in forming this new conference by Dr. Kurt Patberg, who currently serves as CCS acting commissioner.

“We are grateful to our USA South colleagues for the productive and collegial manner in which this separation has been approached, and we are immensely excited about the possibilities which lay ahead for the new Collegiate Conference of the South,” said Coker, CCS chair. “In addition, we are thrilled that the NCAA has supported our application for membership as we move toward full competition in the fall of 2022.”

In addition to sharing the member institutions’ geographic identity, the name, “Collegiate Conference of the South,” is indicative of their shared commitment to academic excellence, which is commensurate with the NCAA Division III philosophy. Now officially approved, the CCS plans to begin full-time operations in summer 2022 and compete in 14 championship sports beginning in fall 2022. The championship sports for men are baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, and track and field and for women are basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. The sports of football, women’s golf, and men’s and women’s lacrosse will continue to compete in the USA South as associate members.

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