Gulf South Conference
The Gulf South Conference (GSC) is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II level which operates in the Southeastern United States.
|Gulf South Conference|
|Region||Southeastern United States|
|Commissioner||Matt Wilson (since 2014)|
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 (SLU) 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 SLU 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 would be leaving for the Peach Belt Conference following the 2008–09 season due to issues between the University's President and the Commissioner.
The GSC moved away from divisional play after the 2010-11 season after its six Arkansas members broke away, dropping the membership to eight. Thanks to an aggressive expansion plan, the GSC sponsored the Division II applications of Union University (TN) and Shorter University (GA), which became official members in 2014-15. The next step in bolstering its membership came in 2012, backing the Division II application of Lee University (TN) which was on track to join the league officially in 2015-16. The league added its first-ever associate member, Florida Tech, in football only in 2013. The Conference planned to add an old friend back into the fold when Mississippi College submitted its application to rejoin Division II and was on track for 2016-17 membership.
Former Commissioner Jim McCullough brought the GSC office to Birmingham when he was hired in 1979. The Conference welcomed its seventh Commissioner in May 2014 when Matt Wilson was selected to follow Nate Salant who retired after a 22-year stint.
Beginning with the 2011–12 academic year; Arkansas Tech University, University of Arkansas at Monticello, Harding University, Henderson State University, Ouachita Baptist University, and Southern Arkansas University left the GSC to form the Great American Conference.
The University of New Orleans, which was transitioning from Division I to Division II, was accepted into the conference in June 2011, but the school announced intentions to stay at Division I in March 2012. In July 2011, Shorter University and Union University (Jackson, Tenn.) were accepted into the NCAA and began the multi-year transition process from the NAIA to NCAA. Both universities began GSC competition in the 2012–13 academic year but will not be eligible for NCAA national tournaments until the 2014–15 academic year. In August 2011, the GSC added the Florida Institute of Technology as an associate member for football beginning in the 2013 season.
On October 11, 2012, Mississippi College announced that it would petition the NCAA to leave Division III and return to the conference. The transition was a lengthy process; Mississippi College officially became a Division II candidate starting with the 2013–14 academic year, with the school becoming a full Division II member for 2016–17.
In 2013, Lee University joined the GSC, bringing the membership to 11. Lee University moved to Division II provisional membership for the 2014-15 season. They will complete transition to Division II in the 2015-16 season. Mississippi College entered its second candidacy year with the 2014-15 season in its path to full Division II membership in 2016-17 and added Gulf South Conference teams to its schedule.
The next change to the conference's membership was officially announced on December 6, 2016 when North Alabama was accepted to the Atlantic Sun Conference and would begin a transition to Division I sports in 2018. In May 2020, affiliate member Florida Tech announced the discontinuation of their football program due to the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Montevallo — lacrosse (W) was an affiliate member in 2015–2017.
|North Greenville University||Tigerville, South Carolina||1891||Private (Baptist)||2,428||Crusaders||2018||football||Carolinas|
|Spring Hill College||Mobile, Alabama||1830||Private (Catholic)||1,317||Badgers||2014||golf (W);
|Young Harris College||Young Harris, Georgia||1886||Private (United Methodist)||1,415||Mountain Lions||2015||lacrosse (W)||Peach Belt|
- Harding — soccer (M) was an affiliate member in 2011–12.
- New Orleans — provisional member competed in baseball, cross country (M / W), golf (M / W), tennis (M / W), and volleyball.
- Ouachita Baptist — soccer (M) was an affiliate member in 2011–12.
Former affiliate membersEdit
|Institution||Location||Founded||Type||Nickname||Joined||Left||Sport||Current conference in GSC sport|
|Florida Institute of Technology||Melbourne, Florida||1958||Private (Nonsectarian)||Panthers||2013||2019||Football||dropped program|
Full member (all sports) Full member (non-football) Associate member (football-only) Associate member (sport)
|Alabama–Huntsville||non-football school||Spragins Hall||2,250|
|Auburn–Montgomery||non-football school||AUM Basketball Complex||2,670|
|Christian Brothers||non-football school||Canale Arena||1,000|
|Delta State||McCool Stadium||8,000||Walter Sillers Coliseum||4,000|
|Lee||non-football school||Walker Arena||2,700|
|Mississippi College||Robinson-Hale Stadium||8,500||A.E. Wood Coliseum||3,500|
|Montevallo||non-football school||Trustmark Arena||2,000|
|North Greenville||Younts Stadium||5,000||football-only school|
|Shorter||Barron Stadium||6,500||Winthrop-King Centre||1,500|
|Union||non-football school||Fred DeLay Gymnasium||2,200|
|Valdosta State||Bazemore-Hyder Stadium||11,500||The Complex||5,350|
|West Alabama||Tiger Stadium||7,000||Pruitt Hall||1,500|
|West Florida||Admiral Fetterman Field||5,038||UWF Fieldhouse||1,180|
|West Georgia||University Stadium||9,000||The Coliseum||6,790|
|Track & Field Outdoor|
Men's sponsored sports by schoolEdit
Women's sponsored sports by schoolEdit
Other sponsored sports by schoolEdit
- ‡ — D-I sport
|Troy State||1986 • 1987|
|Jacksonville State||1990 • 1991|
|Men's Basketball||North Alabama||1979 • 1991|
|Women's Basketball||Delta State||1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1989 • 1990 • 1992|
|Troy State||1984 • 1987|
|North Alabama||1993 • 1994 • 1995|
|Valdosta State||2004 • 2007 • 2012 • 2018|
|Men's Golf||Troy||1976 • 1977 • 1984|
|West Florida||2001 • 2008|
|Women's Golf||Troy State||1984 • 1986 • 1989|
|Women's Gymnastics||Jacksonville State||1984 • 1985|
|Men's Ice Hockey||Alabama–Huntsville||1996 • 1998|
|Women's Soccer||Christian Brothers||2002|
|Men's Tennis||West Florida||2004 • 2005 • 2014 • 2017|
|Valdosta State||2006 • 2011|
|Men's Track & Field Outdoor||Southeastern Louisiana||1975|
|Women's Volleyball||North Alabama||2003|
- Valdosta State won 1979 baseball national championship prior to joining the GSC.
- Mississippi College's 1989 football tournament participation and national championship were vacated by the NCAA Committee on Infractions for recruiting violations.
- Ice Hockey is not a conference-sanctioned sport.
- Pickle, David (March 9, 2011). "GAC becomes 23rd DII conference". NCAA.com. National Collegiate Athletic Association. Archived from the original on December 22, 2011. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
- "GSC Admits UNO for Conference Membership". Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
- Daniels, Ed. "UNO Athletics to remain Division I in NCAA". SportsNOLA.com. Archived from the original on May 16, 2012. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
- Staff (July 11, 2011). "NCAA approves Union's application for NCAA Division II membership process". The Jackson Sun. Retrieved July 12, 2011.[permanent dead link]
- "NCAA accepts Shorter's application for NCAA II membership process". Shorter University. July 12, 2011. Archived from the original on September 16, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "Florida Tech Football Accepts Invitation to Join Gulf South Conference". Florida Tech Athletics. 19 August 2011. Archived from the original on 9 October 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- Staff (October 16, 2012). "Exciting Development for MC Sports". Clinton Courier. Archived from the original on January 4, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
- "It's Time to be II". Mississippi College. Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "Division II Admits its 300th Member". NCAA. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "UNA Accepts ASUN Division I Invitation" (Press release). North Alabama Lions. December 6, 2016. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
- Rogers, Eric; Neale, Rick (May 11, 2020). "Florida Tech cuts football program, announces layoffs due to COVID-19 impacts". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
- "GSC Adds Women's Lacrosse". Gulf South Conference. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- "GSC Adds Men's and Women's Track & Field". Gulf South Conference. Retrieved August 13, 2015.