UTC to remain in SoCon

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UTC to remain in SoCon

Postby gomocs82 on Wed Sep 06, 2006 10:27 pm

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga chancellor Roger Brown said Tuesday that the school’s athletic department has turned down inquiries from the Ohio Valley Conference and will remain in the Southern Conference.
UTC has been in the SoCon since moving up to NCAA Division I athletics in 1977, but Dr. Brown and several school administrators and coaches were intrigued by the shorter traveling distances to much of the OVC.
"The bottom line is that the Southern Conference is one of the most competitive mid-major conferences in the country, and it has one of the best academic reputations of any conference in the country, and we just didn’t see a need for change at this time," Brown said.
UTC athletic director Rick Hart said he didn’t want to go into details until this afternoon’s news conference about the issue, but he was "very comfortable with the decision.
"It was a combination of factors," Hart added. "There wasn’t a ‘light bulb’ moment where something specific happened and we made the decision, but the more research we did, the less compelling the argument for change became."
Four Tennessee schools — Tennessee Tech, Tennessee State, Austin Peay and UT-Martin — are in the OVC. Alabama’s Jacksonville State and Samford are also closer than most of the Carolinas-centered SoCon. Brown said UTC would try to remedy its travel-budget concerns and create closer geographical rivalries "from within the Southern Conference."
"We’re looking for another western travel partner," Brown said. "We would love for Samford to join the Southern Conference, or for ETSU to come back.
"Of course, I can’t emphasize enough that I haven’t spoken with either school about it."
Brown said he was also going to schedule meetings with the Tennessee State administration about "building a long-term athletic relationship across the board.
"We already have a great relationship with Tennessee Tech, and it would be wonderful to have the same with Tennessee State," he said. "I think it would be wonderful for both schools." Mocs football coach Rodney Allison and women’s basketball coach Wes Moore said they supported the decision. "I love the competitiveness and the stature of this conference," Allison said. "It’s unparallelled. I’ve said since I’ve been here that this league is the SEC of Division I-AA football, and I like that. I like competing at the highest level."
Said Moore: "I have a lot of respect for the Southern Conference, and I think it’s a classy group of schools that we’re associated with, and I’m looking forward to many more years of competing in this great league. "It’s been a good marriage for UTC for a long time, and I’m not a big fan of change. I would have hated us to go another direction."
Brown said he received the most vocal support from older alumni who wanted UTC to stay in the SoCon.
"Some younger fans were supportive for staying, too, but the old graduates really, really didn’t want us to leave," he said. E-mail Wesley Rucker at wrucker@timesfreepress.com

Go West SoCon!!!

Postby gomocs82 on Wed Sep 06, 2006 10:28 pm

I hope a "gentlemans agreement" has been reached to add two schools west of the mountains, and Coastal Carolina which seems to be a lock to enter.

Postby Ruckus on Thu Sep 07, 2006 4:57 pm

I don't know about 2 western schools (which I personally would like to see along with Va. schools) but I do know that Coastal is definitely NOT a lock to enter the SoCon. In fact, odds (and votes) are against it at this point for academic reasons (and rightly so).
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