|Pfeiffer came within one game of advancing to the NCAA Division II super regional in softball this season.|
One of the largest conferences in Division III has plans to get even bigger.
The USA South Athletic Conference announced that Berea College and Pfeiffer University have been accepted to begin the process of full membership within the conference. Berea is currently in the process of transitioning from NAIA to NCAA Division III while Pfeiffer is reclassifying from NCAA Division II to Division III. Each institution will begin USA South play during the 2017-18 academic year.
In December the conference announced that Brevard would also join the conference for the 2017-18 academic year. Located in Brevard, N.C., Brevard announced in May 2015 that it would transition from Division II to Division III. Starting this fall, Agnes Scott, Salem and Wesleyan (Ga.) will also join the conference. The three all-female institutions are currently members of the GSAC.
If Brevard, Pfeiffer and Berea join the USA South Athletic Conference and there are no further membership changes, the conference would have 19 programs for women’s basketball and 14 for men’s basketball, making it the largest in Division III. The NEAC currently has 14 programs for women's basketball and 13 for men.
The USA South shuffle
The USA South Athletic Conference has had several membership changes with more to come.
"We are very pleased that the Council of the USA South Presidents agreed to allow Berea College and Pfeiffer University to begin the process of becoming full members of the conference," said Larry Czarda, president of Greensboro College and chair, USA South Presidents Council. "Both institutions are a wonderful fit for the conference and the leadership of each has been excellent in making their respective transitions. We all look forward to being engaged with the Mountaineers and Falcons very soon."
"We are pleased to welcome both Berea and Pfeiffer as the newest members of the USA South," said conference commissioner Rita Wiggs. "Each has great leadership, are eager to become Division III members while already exemplifying many pillars of the Division III and USA South philosophy. We look forward to their coaches and student-athletes competing in the USA South."
Located in Berea, Ky., Berea offers seven men's sports (baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, track & field) and seven women's sports (basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, volleyball). The Mountaineers will begin their second year of provisional NCAA Division III membership next season and would become active members in 2018-19.
Pfeiffer, in Misenheimer, N.C., offers nine men's sports (baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, track & field, volleyball) and nine women's sports (basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, volleyball). The Falcons are listed as exploratory members of Division III for 2016-17, along with Brevard; Dean College in Franklin, Mass.; and St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.