Bethel Accepted to Join Southern States Athletic Conference




Bethel University has been approved to join the Southern States Athletic Conference. The announcement came Thursday from Dr. Mark Foley, Chair of the Board of Presidents of the Southern States.

With membership in the TranSouth continuing to dwindle, Bethel University began to explore conference realignment options over the previous months before ultimately deciding to apply to the SSAC, considered by many as one of the premier conferences in the NAIA.

Bethel University President Dr. Robert Prosser said, “After an exhaustive review process including extensive input from our campus community, we sought membership and have been accepted. We investigated three options, all of which would have been strong affiliations for Bethel University moving forward. In the end, we see the Southern States Conference as the best match for our program and the future direction of the university. We will always look back with very fond memories of our times in the TranSouth Conference and we certainly will cherish those memories.”

Currently boasting a total of 14 league members, the SSAC features teams in six states across the Southeast. Current members include: Brenau (Ga.) University, Brewton-Parker (Ga.) College, College of Coastal Georgia, Emmanuel (Ga.) College, Lee (Tenn.) University, Southern Polytechnic State (Ga.) University, Southern Wesleyan (S.C.) University, Truett-McConnell (Ga.) College, Auburn-Montgomery, Belhaven (Miss.) University, Faulkner (Ala.) University, Loyola University New Orleans, Spring Hill (Ala.) College, University of Mobile and William Carey (Miss.) University.

Bethel University will compete in 15 of the league’s 15 sports, beginning in the fall of 2013. In non-championship sports, Bethel would add another competitive cheerleading squad to the conference as well as the league’s second varsity bowling program.

“The Southern States Athletic Conference is a wonderful fit for us,” Bethel Director of Athletics Dale Kelley said. “It is a conference where you have to bring your best effort everyday if you expect to be successful. In addition, they have a strong network of peer administrators and coaches, as well as a tremendously strong academic reputation. We are thrilled the conference has accepted us, and we look forward to being a part of this great league.”