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Gulf South Conference
(GSC)
Established1970
AssociationNCAA
DivisionDivision II
Members10 (11 in 2013)
Sports fielded14 (men's: 7; women's: 7)
RegionSoutheastern United States
HeadquartersBirmingham, Alabama
CommissionerNate Salant (since 1992)
Websitegscsports.org
Locations

The Gulf South Conference (GSC) is an NCAA Division II college athletic conference which operates in the southeastern United States.

HistoryEdit

Originally known as the Mid-South Conference, the Gulf South Conference was formed by six universities in the summer of 1970: Delta State, Florence State (now North Alabama), Jacksonville State, Livingston (now West Alabama), Tennessee–Martin and Troy State (now Troy). Scheduling problems for the 1970–71 academic year limited the league to football, won by Jacksonville State.

In 1971, the league changed its name to the Gulf South Conference; added Southeastern Louisiana (SELA) and Nicholls State (increasing the membership to eight); opened an office in Hammond, Louisiana; and began championships in all men’s sports. The following year, Mississippi College and Northwestern Louisiana (NWLA, now Northwestern State) were admitted. NWLA withdrew to go Division I two years later, followed by SELA and Nicholls State in 1979.

The conference continued with seven teams until 1981, when the presidents admitted Valdosta State. West Georgia joined in 1983. Eight years of stability ended in 1991 when Tennessee–Martin and Troy State went Division I, briefly dropping the GSC back to seven members, before the beginning of an expansion resulting in ten new members: Lincoln Memorial (1992–93); Alabama–Huntsville, Henderson State, Central Arkansas, and Mississippi University for Women (MUW) (1993–94); West Florida (1994–95); and Arkansas-Monticello, Arkansas Tech, Montevallo, and Southern Arkansas (1995–96). Jacksonville State went Division I at the end of 1992–93. Mississippi College dropped to Division III at the end of 1995–96 and was replaced by Christian Brothers to keep the Conference at 16 schools. In July 2000, the GSC welcomed Harding University and Ouachita Baptist University, making it the largest NCAA conference at any level with 18 schools. The Conference membership decreased to 17 when MUW dropped its athletics program at the end of the 2002–03 season.

2006–07 was another season of change for the GSC. Central Arkansas moved to Division I, leaving the West Division with eight schools while Lincoln Memorial left for the South Atlantic Conference due to travel and location issues, leaving the East Division with seven schools.

Montevallo announced on June 27, 2008 that they will be leaving for the Peach Belt Conference following the 2008–09 season due to issues between the University's President and the Commissioner.

Former Commissioner Jim McCullough moved the GSC office to its present Birmingham, Alabama, location. The current Commissioner, Nate Salant, has been in office since October 1992.

2010s realignmentEdit

Beginning with the 2011–12 academic year, current GSC members University of Arkansas at Monticello, Arkansas Tech University, Harding University, Henderson State University, Ouachita Baptist University and Southern Arkansas University left the GSC to form the Great American Conference.[1]

The University of New Orleans, which was transitioning from Division I to Division II, was accepted into the conference in June 2011,[2] but the school announced intentions to stay Division I in March 2012.[3] In July 2011, Shorter University and Union University (Jackson, Tenn.) were accepted into the NCAA and will begin the multi-year transition process from the NAIA to NCAA.[4] Both universities will begin GSC competition in the 2012–13 academic year but will not be eligible for NCAA national tournaments until the 2014–15 academic year.[5] In August 2011, the GSC added the Florida Institute of Technology as an associate member for football beginning in the 2013 season.[6]

On October 11, 2012, Mississippi College announced[7] that it would petition the NCAA to leave Division III and return to the conference.

Member schoolsEdit

File:GSCLocationsLarge.png

Current membersEdit

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Nickname Joined Football?
University of Alabama in Huntsville Huntsville, Alabama 1969 Public 7,100 Chargers 1993 No
Christian Brothers University Memphis, Tennessee 1871 Private (Catholic) 1,720 Buccaneers 1996 No
Delta State University Cleveland, Mississippi 1924 Public 4,392 Statesmen 1970 Yes
University of North Alabama Florence, Alabama 1830 Public 7,244 Lions 1970 Yes
Shorter University Rome, Georgia 1873 Private (Baptist) 3,500 Hawks 2012 Yes
Union University Jackson, Tennessee 1823 Private (Baptist) 4,186 Bulldogs 2012 No
Valdosta State University Valdosta, Georgia 1906 Public 12,898 Blazers 1981 Yes
University of West Alabama Livingston, Alabama 1835 Public 5,157 Tigers 1970 Yes
University of West Florida Pensacola, Florida 1963 Public 12,823 Argonauts 1994 2015[6]
University of West Georgia Carrollton, Georgia 1906 Public 11,252 Wolves 1983 Yes

Future membersEdit

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Nickname Year Joining Previous Conference Football?
Lee University Cleveland, TN 1918 Private (Church of God) 4,012 Flames 2013 SSAC (NAIA) Yes

Future associate members (football only)Edit

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Nickname Year Joining Primary Conference Football?
Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, Florida 1958 Private (Nonsectarian) 6,400 Panthers 2013[6] Sunshine State Yes

Former membersEdit

Institution Location Nickname Joined Left Current Conference Classification
Arkansas Tech University Russellville, Arkansas Wonder Boys (men's)
Golden Suns (women's)
1995 2011 Great American (GAC) NCAA Division II
University of Arkansas at Monticello Monticello, Arkansas Boll Weevils (men's)
Cotton Blossoms (women's)
1995 2011 Great American (GAC) NCAA Division II
University of Central Arkansas Conway, Arkansas Bears (men's)
Sugar Bears (women's)
1993 2006 Southland NCAA Division I FCS
Harding University Searcy, Arkansas Bisons 2000 2011 Great American (GAC) NCAA Division II
Henderson State University Arkadelphia, Arkansas Reddies 1993 2011 Great American (GAC) NCAA Division II
Jacksonville State University Jacksonville, Alabama Gamecocks 1970 1993 Ohio Valley (OVC) NCAA Division I FCS
Lincoln Memorial University Harrogate, Tennessee Railsplitters 1992 2006 South Atlantic (SAC) NCAA Division II
Mississippi College Clinton, Mississippi Choctaws 1972 1996 American Southwest NCAA Division III
Mississippi University for Women Columbus, Mississippi Blues 1993 2003 Athletic programs discontinued
University of Montevallo Montevallo, Alabama Falcons 1995 2009 Peach Belt (PBC) NCAA Division II
University of New Orleans1 New Orleans, Louisiana Privateers 2011 2012 NCAA D-I Independent NCAA Division I non-football
Nicholls State University Thibodaux, Louisiana Colonels 1971 1979 Southland NCAA Division I FCS
Northwestern State University Natchitoches, Louisiana Demons 1971 1973 Southland NCAA Division I FCS
Ouachita Baptist University Arkadelphia, Arkansas Tigers 2000 2011 Great American (GAC) NCAA Division II
Southeastern Louisiana University Hammond, Louisiana Lions 1971 1979 Southland NCAA Division I FCS
Southern Arkansas University Magnolia, Arkansas Muleriders (men's)
Lady Muleriders (women's)
1995 2011 Great American (GAC) NCAA Division II
University of Tennessee at Martin Martin, Tennessee Skyhawks 1970 1991 Ohio Valley (OVC) NCAA Division I FCS
Troy University Troy, Alabama Trojans 1970 1991 Sun Belt NCAA Division I FBS

1 - New Orleans was a provisional member in the GSC, which was transitioning from Division I to Division II, competing in volleyball, baseball, men’s & women’s cross country, men’s & women’s golf, and men’s & women’s tennis. However, the school announced intentions to stay Division I as of March 2012.

Membership timelineEdit

Florida Institute of TechnologyLee UniversityUnion UniversityShorter UniversityUniversity of New OrleansOuachita Baptist UniversityHarding UniversityChristian Brothers UniversitySouthern Arkansas UniversityUniversity of MontevalloUniversity of Arkansas at MonticelloArkansas Tech UniversityUniversity of West FloridaMississippi University for WomenHenderson State UniversityUniversity of Central ArkansasUniversity of Alabama in HuntsvilleLincoln Memorial UniversityUniversity of West GeorgiaValdosta State UniversityMississippi CollegeSoutheastern Louisiana UniversityNicholls State UniversityNorthwestern State UniversityUniversity of West AlabamaUniversity of North AlabamaDelta State UniversityJacksonville State UniversityTroy UniversityUniversity of Tennessee at Martin

Conference venuesEdit

School Football Basketball
Stadium Capacity Arena Capacity
Alabama–Huntsville Non-football School Spragins Hall 2,250
Christian Brothers Non-football School Canale Arena 1,000
Delta State Parker Field at McCool Stadium 8,000 Walter Sillers Coliseum 4,000
North Alabama Braly Municipal Stadium 14,215 Flowers Hall 3,900
Valdosta State Bazemore-Hyder Stadium 11,500 The Complex 5,350
West Alabama Tiger Stadium 7,000 Pruitt Hall 1,500
West Florida Non-football School UWF Fieldhouse 1,180
West Georgia University Stadium 9,000 The Coliseum 6,790

Edit

GSC members feature comprehensive athletic programs that compete for 14 official conference championships: football, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s golf.

The GSC is perhaps best known for being the premier conference in NCAA Division II football. The three-year run put together by North Alabama in the mid-1990s is one of the most amazing feats in college football history. North Alabama went 41-1 during that span with the only loss being a 3 point loss to that season’s NCAA Division I-AA champion Youngstown State.

National championshipsEdit

Sport School Year(s)
Baseball West Florida 2011
Valdosta StateA 1979
Delta State 2004
Troy State 1986, 87
Jacksonville State 1990, 91
Men's Basketball North Alabama 1979, 91
Jacksonville State 1985
Women's Basketball Delta State 1975, 76, 77, 89, 90, 92
Southeastern Louisiana 1977
Football Valdosta State 2004, 07, 12
Delta State 2000
North Alabama 1993, 94, 95
West Alabama 1971
Troy 1984, 87
Jacksonville State 1992
Men's Golf West Florida 2001, 08
Troy 1976, 77, 84
Women's Golf Troy 1984, 86, 89
Women's Gymnastics Jacksonville State 1984, 85
Men's Ice HockeyB Alabama–Huntsville 1996, 98
Women's Soccer Christian Brothers 2002
Men's Tennis Valdosta State 2006, 11
West Florida 2004, 05
Softball Valdosta State 2012
Track and Field Southeastern Louisiana 1975
Women's Volleyball North Alabama 2003

NotesEdit

^A Valdosta State was not a member of the GSC in 1979.
^B Although not a conference-sanctioned sport, Alabama–Huntsville fields a men's ice hockey team. It won the Division II national championship in 1996 and 1998. After the NCAA discontinued Division II ice hockey championship, UAH moved to Division I for that sport and joined the College Hockey America conference. They now compete as an independent after the demise of the CHA but will join the Western Collegiate Hockey Association prior to 2013-2014.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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