published Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Some progress at SoCon meeting

Progress toward finding possible future members of the Southern Conference appears to have been made Wednesday when the league's top brass from its nine remaining schools met in Charlotte, N.C. How much, and whether enough was done, may depend on your perspective.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga interim athletic director Laura Herron was there for the four-hour meeting and came away less than satisfied.

"It was full of very good, frank discussions, but I don't think we got much accomplished," she told the Times Free Press in a phone interview while waiting to fly out of Charlotte after the meeting, which ran from noon to 4 p.m. "I was hoping we would have a resolution. We're still moving towards that, and I understand we need to do due diligence, but I was hoping that we'd get more accomplished today."

Reached on his cell phone, Davidson athletic director Jim Murphy was much more upbeat -- though no more willing to get into specific details -- in his comments.

"I think it was really an exceptional discussion," he said. "It's always great when you get everybody in the same room and talk about differences and commonalities. I thought it was a great meeting that moved us forward."

The SoCon is down to nine members following the announced departures of the College of Charleston, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern. Charleston is leaving for the Colonial Athletic Association right away, while the other two are headed to the Sun Belt Conference starting in 2014-15.

The league's athletic directors and presidents discussed Wednesday all of their options, which range from adding numerous schools to none. Commissioner John Iamarino said after App State and GSU announced their departures that he would like for the SoCon to be ready to announce its intentions, and any new members, by early June.

While nothing was formally decided upon Wednesday -- that could come at the late May spring meeting in Hilton Head, S.C. -- Iamarino said the discussion was able to "narrow our focus in a few areas, and the group agreed that these conversations will continue in advance of the spring meeting.

"It's obviously a critical decision," Iamarino added, "and I think the membership is proceeding carefully."

Contact John Frierson at jfrierson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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