SoCon hoops tournament to stay in Asheville
by Staff Reports
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- The Southern Conference agreed to a three-year extension with representatives from Asheville to host the league's men's and women's basketball tournament.
The announcement was made during the final day of the SoCon meetings, which ended Friday.
The extension means the conference tournament will remain in Asheville through the 2016-17 season. The nation's longest-running conference tournament, the SoCon championship was held in Asheville from 1984-95 and returned in 2012.
"It was abundantly clear that both parties wanted to continue this partnership," Southern Conference Commissioner John Iamarino said in a news release. "We're very gratified to announce the extension of our agreement with Asheville. This is an important milestone for us."
In addition to initial renovations at the U.S. Cellular Center, which were completed prior to the league's return to Asheville in 2012, additional construction is currently under way. Renovations include enhancements to the ticket office, lobby, restroom facilities, storage areas and club-level hospitality areas.
A new playing surface and goals have already been purchased and will be in place for next year's tournament.
The conference also finalized sites for select championships during the 2013-14 year. The women's soccer championship will be held in Spartanburg, S.C., while the volleyball tournament will be held in Greenville, S.C. Locations for men's golf, outdoor track and softball will be finalized at a later date.
Outgoing teams can win titles
In addition, the league announced that beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, all Southern Conference teams that are eligible for NCAA postseason play will be included in SoCon championships. Under the current format, teams must qualify to compete in postseason tournaments in baseball, volleyball and women's soccer.
"This was a productive week and set the stage for an agenda of growth as we move forward with the current membership," said Iamarino.
The league also announced a partnership with The Crons Brand to provide apparel to the Southern Conference. Crons will provide all student-athlete gifts at conference championships and will be designated as the official apparel provider of the Southern Conference. The SoCon becomes the sixth Division I conference to partner with Crons, which also has apparel deals in place with the Atlantic 10, Big South, Metro Atlantic, America East and Atlantic Sun Conference.
Chip Taylor, Faculty Athletics Representative from The Citadel, was elected President of the Conference for the coming year. Dr. Andrew Westmoreland of Samford was re-elected chairman of the Council of Presidents for 2013-14 while UNCG's Dr. Linda Brady was chosen to serve as the vice chairman.
Earlier in the week the conference formally voted to extend invitations to East Tennessee State University, Mercer University and the Virginia Military Institute for conference membership beginning with the 2014-15 academic year.
Recognition of athletes
Wednesday night's annual Southern Conference Honors Dinner recognized the league's award-winners from the 2012-13 season. Among those recognized were Wofford's Eric Breitenstein (Bob Waters Male Athlete of the Year) and Davidson's Sophia Aleksandravicius (Female Athlete of the Year).
ASU wins Commissioner's Cup
Appalachian State was recognized for winning the Commissioner's Cup, presented to the top overall men's athletics program. The Mountaineers also claimed the Germann Cup, which is awarded to the conference's top women's athletics program.
Davidson College was awarded the Barrett-Bonner Award which recognizes the school with the highest percentage of student-athletes on the league's Honor Roll. Davidson placed 69 percent of its student-athletes on the SoCon Honor Roll. The Wildcats also earned the league's Graduation Rate Award which is presented to the school with the highest graduation rates of its student athletes over the last five years. Davidson won the award by graduating 89 percent of its student-athletes over the five-year cohort.
Furman earned the D.S. McAlister Award which is presented annually to the school judged by the league's administrators and head coaches to have exhibited the highest degree of sportsmanship. The award is named after Colonel D.S. McAllister of The Citadel, who served as the conference's secretary treasurer for 38 years.
Southern Conference Championships - 2013-14 Sites
Cross Country - Birmingham, Ala. Women's Soccer - Spartanburg, S.C.
Men's Soccer - Greenville, S.C.
Volleyball - Greenville, S.C.
Indoor Track & Field - Winston-Salem, N.C.
Basketball - Asheville, N.C.
Wrestling - Buies Creek, N.C.
Women's Golf - Hilton Head, S.C.
Men's Golf - TBD
Tennis - Chattanooga, Tenn.
Outdoor Track & Field - TBD
Softball - TBD
Baseball - Charleston, S.C.