CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Big South Conference today officially welcomes Gardner-Webb University as a member of the Conference, pushing the Big South membership to 10 institutions for the second time in League history. Gardner-Webb, which had been an associate football member since 2002, joins the Big South from the Atlantic Sun Conference and is immediately eligible for all Big South championships and honors upon its entry.
The Big South first announced Gardner-Webb’s membership on May 26, 2006. Gardner-Webb sponsors 21 varsity sports at the Division I level, 18 of which are sponsored by the Big South: football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s tennis, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf, volleyball and men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field. Only men’s and women’s swimming (Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association) and wrestling (Division I Independent) will not compete in the Big South Conference.
Meanwhile, Presbyterian College, which joined the Big South on July 1, 2007 as a reclassifying member from Division II, will be eligible for regular-season championships and Conference honors and awards beginning in the Fall of 2008. Presbyterian also is “fast-tracking” its Division I transition in men’s tennis and softball and will be eligible for postseason play in those sports in 2009-10. All other sports will be eligible for postseason competition beginning with the 2011-12 season. Presbyterian sponsors 16 athletic programs: football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s lacrosse, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf and volleyball.
For the first time since a two-year span from 1992-94, the Big South Conference membership stands at 10. With Gardner-Webb and Presbyterian added to all League schedules, Big South men’s basketball will feature an 18-game Conference schedule for just the second-time in League history. In addition, the Conference men’s basketball season will begin in December for the first time since 2000-01. Big South women’s basketball members will play a 16-game League slate for the first time since 1994-95.