Courtesy: Emory & Henry Athletics
ROCK HILL, S.C. – Emory & Henry College is now officially a member of the South Atlantic Conference. E&H is the 13th school in the SAC, which was founded in 1975 as an eight-member, football-only conference, and has since grown to sponsor 24 sports for the upcoming 2022-23 academic year.
“We are very excited to welcome Emory & Henry to the SAC,” said SAC Commissioner Patrick Britz when the announcement was first made on November 17, 2020. “The overall mission and focus of the College aligns perfectly with the SAC and the institution is a great fit geographically, as well. This addition also strengthens and enhances the SAC and allows us to continue our vision to be a premier NCAA Division II conference both regionally and nationally.”
After spending the 2021-22 academic year as a NCAA Division II Independent, Emory & Henry will play a full SAC regular-season schedule this year. Additionally, E&H student-athletes will be eligible for weekly and all-conference awards. However, the Wasps will not be eligible for league championships until the 2023-24 seasons.
The SAC is composed of four schools in North Carolina: Catawba College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Mars Hill University and Wingate University; four schools in South Carolina: Anderson University, Coker University, Limestone University and Newberry College; three schools in Tennessee: Carson-Newman University, Lincoln Memorial University and Tusculum University; and two schools from Virginia: E&H and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. Barton College and Erskine College also come into the conference as associate members in football only as of July 1, 2022.
The new affiliation has created drastically shorter travel distances for road competitions which translates into less time that student-athletes will miss in the classroom and fewer late nights on the road. E&H now has five league opponents within 2.5 hours of campus and the average trip for conference games has been shortened by nearly 90 minutes.
“The proximity of opposing schools provides opportunities that more current students and College supporters will be able to travel to road competitions,” said Anne Crutchfield, Director of Athletics at Emory & Henry. “Joining the SAC will create some true rivalries that should get our student-athletes and our fans excited.”
The next step in Emory & Henry’s three-year realignment process will come on Thursday, July 14. On that date, College officials will receive word from the NCAA about the administrative progress that has been made and the decision from the Division II Membership Committee regarding the advancement to provisional year two.
PROJECTED TIMELINE OF EMORY & HENRY’S REALIGNMENT
FROM NCAA DIVISION III TO NCAA DIVISION II
November 7, 2020 – Approval from E&H Board of Trustees to pursue membership in NCAA Division II — COMPLETED
November 17, 2020 – Invitation received from the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) to become a member — COMPLETED
January 31, 2021 – Submit formal application to the NCAA for realignment to NCAA Division II — COMPLETED
July 9, 2021 – Decision from the NCAA regarding application for realignment — COMPLETED
September 1, 2021 – Start of first NCAA Division II provisional year — COMPLETED
February 24-25, 2022 – Campus visit by the NCAA Division II Membership Committee — COMPLETED
July 1, 2022 – Official start of SAC membership — COMPLETED
July 14, 2022 – Decision from the NCAA regarding first NCAA Division II provisional year report
September 1, 2022* – Start of second NCAA Division II provisional year and SAC regular-season competition
September 1, 2023* – Start of final NCAA Division II provisional year and eligibility for SAC postseason play
September 1, 2024* – Full NCAA Division II membership and eligibility for NCAA postseason play
* pending NCAA approval