published Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Davidson College decides to leave SoCon for Atlantic 10

Southern Conference Commissioner John Iamarino.
Southern Conference Commissioner John Iamarino.

Davidson College turned down an invitation to join the Colonial Athletic Association last October, opting to remain in the Southern Conference, where it has had the most successful men's basketball program for the past decade.

If that offer didn't suit the Charlotte-area school, it appears that the Atlantic 10 Conference's did. According to multiple media reports Tuesday, Davidson will announce today that it is leaving the SoCon, its home for most of the past 77 years, for the A-10.

Davidson, which has won the SoCon men's basketball tournament five times in the past eight seasons, put out a release Tuesday afternoon that it will hold a 10:30 a.m. news conference today for "a special announcement." The nature of the announcement was not disclosed.

The Wildcats famously advanced to the Elite Eight of the 2008 NCAA men's basketball tournament. Davidson is the only SoCon team to win an NCAA men's tournament game since the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga reached the Sweet 16 in 1997.

The College of Charleston, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern already have announced their departures. App State and GSU are going to the Sun Belt Conference, starting in 2014-15, while Charleston is headed to the CAA effective July 1. According to an ESPN.com report, Davidson will start A-10 play in 2014-15.

Last week the SoCon's presidents and chancellors voted to take campus visits to potential members Mercer, Virginia Military Institute and East Tennessee State. SoCon commissioner John Iamarino said last Thursday that if the visits go well, invitations to join the league may follow.

"The potential for that is there, yes," he said.

Iamarino did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday.

UNC-Asheville, now a member of the Big South Conference, was among the schools being considered by the SoCon. The Bulldogs could be back on the table as a Davidson replacement since UNC-Asheville doesn't have a football program. Davidson plays nonscholarship football in the Pioneer League.

The former home of the Southern Conference, the city of Asheville has hosted the past two SoCon men's and women's basketball tournaments, with one year left on its current contract.

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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