The Covenant College Athletics Department announced on Feb. 18 that it will move its intercollegiate programs to the newly-formed Collegiate Conference of the South, beginning in the 2022-23 academic year.
Nine member institutions of the USA South Athletic Conference have officially formed and approved by the NCAA as a new Division III athletic conference, following a planned separation of the USA South. This new conference, the “Collegiate Conference of the South” (CCS), will include Agnes Scott College, Belhaven University, Berea College, Covenant College, Huntingdon College, LaGrange College, Maryville College, Piedmont University, and Wesleyan College.
The USA South is currently the nation’s largest NCAA Division III conference, with nineteen member institutions. After years of internal discussions, a two-conference separation strategy emerged, and more recently, the USA South Presidents Council formally committed to the establishment of two viable conferences. The new CCS was officially incorporated in the State of Georgia on Jan. 12, 2022, and the NCAA Division III Membership Committee officially approved application materials for conference membership on Thursday, Feb. 17.
CCS member institutions are being supported in forming the new conference by Dr. Kurt Patberg, who is currently serving as CCS Acting Commissioner.
“We are thrilled to be a founding member of the Collegiate Conference of the South,” said Covenant Director of Athletics Dr. Tim Sceggel. “This move will allow us to cut travel times, and engage with more regionally located NCAA Division III institutions. Additionally, this will allow us to strengthen relationships and rivalries with a number of institutions with whom we have already come to enjoy competing. Further, the addition of Belhaven University is a perfect fit for us as we embark on this new chapter of conference competition.”
In addition to sharing the member institutions’ geographic identity, the name, “Collegiate Conference of the South,” is indicative of their shared commitment to academic excellence, which is commensurate with the NCAA Division III philosophy.
The CCS plans to officially begin full-time operations in summer 2022, and then compete in 14 championship sports beginning in fall 2022. The championship sports for men are baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, and track and field. Championship sports for women are basketball, cross country, soccer, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.
Covenant teams are still eligible for USA South championships and awards through the end of the current 2021-22 academic year.