Athletics

Big South making bold moves for the future

February 21, 2018

The Big South Conference strengthened its profile in November 2017 when the league announced the addition of Hampton University and the University of South Carolina Upstate as full members. Both institutions will officially join the conference for the 2018-19 season.

With the two new schools, the Big South Conference will now have 12 members — four in Virginia (Hampton, Liberty, Longwood, and Radford); four in South Carolina (Charleston Southern, Presbyterian College, USC Upstate, and Winthrop); and four in North Carolina (Campbell, Gardner-Webb, High Point, and UNC Asheville).

USC Upstate was founded in 1967 in Spartanburg, S.C., and currently enrolls 6,000 students. The Spartans made the move to the NCAA Division I level in 2011 and won six conference championships as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The school sponsors 15 varsity sports in Division I, all of which are part of the Big South: men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf, and women’s volleyball.

Hampton’s move to the Big South Conference is a historic venture. It is one of only two historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) at the NCAA Division I level to not be a part of either the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) or Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Founded in 1868, Hampton is one of the oldest universities in Virginia and has flourished under the leadership of President Dr. William R. Harvey for the last 40 years. Enrollment currently stands at 4,768.

The Pirates sponsor 17 varsity sports in Division I, with 14 competing in the Big South: football, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field, softball, men’s and women’s golf, and women’s volleyball. Over the last 22 years in the MEAC, the Pirates claimed 93 conference titles and made 30 NCAA Tournament appearances. With Liberty and Hampton less than a four hours’ drive apart, the schools have had a longstanding rivalry on the athletics field.

Welcome to Liberty

LU will have more opportunities than ever before to showcase its spectacular new athletics facilities when it hosts three Big South Conference Championships this semester: men’s and women’s indoor track & field, Feb. 23-24; women’s basketball, March 8-11; and baseball, May 22-26.

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