The Associated Press | July 5, 2014 Mercer joins Southern Conference Share MACON, Ga. -- Mercer University athletics officials say the Bears have left the Macon-based Atlantic Sun Conference and the school is now a member of the Southern Conference. Officials said in a statement that 16 of the school's 18 intercollegiate athletic programs are now in the Southern Conference. Mercer's sand volleyball and lacrosse programs will both remain in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Mercer gained national attention after their men's basketball team upset Duke in the second round of the NCAA tournament in March. The Bears lost to Tennessee in the next round.