The Southern Conference Has Been Preparing Student-Athletes for Life’s Challenges Since 1921

SoCon

All Citadel fans are familiar with the Southern Conference.  Most know that the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) and the SEC (Southeastern Conference) got their start from the Southern Conference.

With a multitude of colleges around America changing conference affiliations for whatever reasons, The Citadel has elected to “stay put” and remain part of the SoCon, where we have been loyal members since 1936.

Personally, I agree with our decision to remain.

While we bid farewell to Appalachian State and Georgia Southern after the Southern Conference Baseball Tournament in May (yep, it returns to Riley Park this year), we will soon welcome VMI and East Tennessee State back to the league.  We will also bring in Mercer University, from Macon, Ga.

Personally, I agree with those decisions and invitations.

The PR machine at the SoCon Office in Spartanburg recently shared their “branding points” with the membership.  Here’s what they report:

The Southern Conference's school locale map for the 2013-14 season. The map will change quite a bit next season with the addition of VMI, East Tennessee State and Mercer and the departures of Georgia Southern, Elon and Appalachian State. The College of Charleston officially left the SoCon on July 1 to compete in the Colonial Athletic Association.

The Southern Conference’s school locale map for the 2013-14 season. The map will change quite a bit next season with the addition of VMI, East Tennessee State and Mercer and the departures of Georgia Southern, Elon and Appalachian State. The College of Charleston officially left the SoCon on July 1 to compete in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Academics-Oriented

  • The SoCon has consistently ranked in the NCAA’s top 10 in the APR, the NCAA’s best indicator of graduation rates.
  • Nearly 50 percent of all SoCon student-athletes earn all-academic honors (3.0 GPA or better).

Community-Based

  • Our student-athletes have a presence in the community and participate in many local charities, youth and educational initiatives.
  • SAAC members have conducted a Keeping Tabs on Kids initiative the past eight years to benefit the Ronald McDonald House.

Competitive Athletics

  • SoCon teams are highly competitive regionally and nationally.
  • In the past five years football, baseball, men’s soccer, men’s and women’s golf have all sent multiple teams to NCAA postseason tournaments.
  • SoCon teams have won more FCS football titles (8) than any other conference.

Diversity

  • This is a conference that takes great pride in the diversity of our institutions.
  • Beginning in 2014, the SoCon will consist of 10 members in six states, including four private institutions and six state institutions, two of which are military colleges.

Geographic Integrity

  • SoCon believes in the value of a geographic footprint that minimizes missed class time and maximizes fan travel to away contests.
  • Beginning in 2014, the league will extend across six contiguous states but still have a footprint that permits bus trips from one end of the conference to the other.

History & Tradition

  • The SoCon is the fifth-oldest Division I conference in America.
  • Great coaches and athletes from different eras have competed in the Southern Conference from Bear Bryant to Lou Holtz, from Sam Huff to Terrell Owens, from Jerry West to Stephen Curry.

Sportsmanship

  • For more than 30 years, the SoCon has presented an annual award to the program that displays the finest level of sportsmanship in the Conference as voted upon by its peers.
  • The SoCon has one of the strictest policies regarding game ejections in all of college athletics. This is by design and emphasizes the priority of good sportsmanship articulated by presidents, chancellors and administrators.

Student-Athlete Experience

  • SoCon championships are conducted in a way to provide a memorable and positive experience for all participants.
  • Decisions made by administrators and coaches in scheduling and tournament bracket formats consistently factor in the effect on the individual student-athlete.

Personally, I believe that The Citadel is fortunate to be in the Southern Conference, and from my seat, the Southern Conference is fortunate to have The Citadel.

– Andy Solomon –

Associate Athletics Director

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