The Big South Conference and ASUN Conference(ASUN) announced today a unique FCS member partnership that will strengthen both leagues and strategically reinforce the future of Big South football. The partnership, which takes effect immediately, guarantees a football “home” within the Big South Conference for ASUN members that play scholarship football.
“This agreement between our two conferences is a breakthrough collaboration for both organizations,” said Jacksonville University President Tim Cost, Chairman of the ASUN Presidents’ Council. “Our ability to work together closely to increase student-athlete opportunities and build strong and stable futures will expand our thinking about athletics and education and how they support each other. Everyone held the right priority in highest regard: the overall success of our collegiate student-athletes.”
Under the arrangement, current or future ASUN Conference members that sponsor scholarship football will automatically be admitted as associate football members into the Big South Conference, so long as they are based in a pre-determined geographical footprint that spans the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions.
“The Big South Conference believes that the future of Division I athletics, including FCS football, lies in collaboration -- collaboration between conferences, institutions, and leadership,” stated Big South Commissioner Kyle B. Kallander. “This partnership with the ASUN Conference is an example of how collaboration can benefit both parties to ensure successful and competitive opportunities for our student-athletes. We are extremely grateful to ASUN Commissioner Ted Gumbart for his leadership, and the members of the ASUN for their cooperation and foresight, in developing this partnership. Big South football has achieved enormous success in the short 15 years it has been in existence. This collaboration with the ASUN will only ensure that that success will continue and grow.”
The Big South Conference currently has six football-playing programs, which is the minimum to maintain automatic qualification into the FCS Playoffs. Two of the six members -- Kennesaw State University in Georgia and Monmouth University in New Jersey, are associate members, while the remaining four schools are already full-time Big South members: Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina, Charleston Southern University and Presbyterian College in South Carolina, and Liberty University in Virginia. In addition, any current or future Big South member that adds scholarship football will be automatically part of the conference’s football program.
“This represents a tremendous step for all parties involved, and primarily for the student-athletes who participate in Big South Football,” commented ASUN Commissioner Ted Gumbart. “The ASUN membership and I extend our thanks and compliments to Big South Commissioner Kyle Kallander for his vision in the future development of Big South Football. He and the Big South leadership have done an outstanding job in building an extremely accomplished and competitive league. The Big South has received multiple postseason berths, earned multiple postseason wins and had many postseason hosting opportunities for its football members. We plan to contribute strongly and significantly to the continued growth of our joint football league and look forward to enhancing the winning tradition of Big South Football.”