Southern Virginia to join CAC

Southern Virginia won four football games in 2011, but two were against club teams. The Knights also beat Guilford 55-24.
Southern Virginia athletics photo

The Presidents Council of the Capital Athletic Conference announced the addition of Southern Virginia University as a full member of the conference, beginning July 1, 2013.

Southern Virginia, which received notification last week of its approved regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), will join the CAC as a full member at the same time as Christopher Newport, which announced its membership intentions in April.

Southern Virginia also anticipates being promoted by the NCAA Division III Membership Committee from its current exploratory year to Division III provisional membership status later this summer.

The school reported a full-time undergraduate enrollment of 746 in its last filing with the U.S. Department of Education. The Knights field teams in baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, football, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball. They also have club wrestling and club men's and women's lacrosse.

“The Capital (Athletic) Conference has demonstrated its competitiveness and high academic standards for student athletes over many years. We are pleased to welcome two new members, who increase our geographic scope, diversity, and stature in NCAA Division III,” said George Waldner, president of York (Pa.) and chair of the CAC Presidents Council.

The CAC will have seven full member institutions in the 2012-13 academic year. The additions of CNU and Southern Virginia will increase membership to nine for the 2013-14 academic year, joining Frostburg State, Marymount, Mary Washington, Salisbury, St. Mary’s (Md.), Wesley and York (Pa.). Although CNU will continue to play football in the USA South for the next two seasons, the addition of the two schools will give the CAC five schools which play football. Seven are needed for an automatic bid.

The conference release did not mention football possibilities. If two schools within the conference do not add football, the CAC could seek a partnership with another conference for football to give the league's five programs access to an automatic bid. The CAC would not comment on specific actions it might take, however. "The CAC Presidents continue to review and consider options regarding membership and sport sponsorship," CAC commissioner Tom Byrnes told "The focus many times is on football, but CAC institutions also sponsor women's rowing, men's and women's golf, swimming, track & field, men's volleyball, wrestling, etc., that are of similar importance to those student-athletes.

"The Presidents are committed to working together to try to best serve the interests of the entire membership. To that goal, all options are considered."

CNU will be immediately eligible for conference championships and NCAA Division III Tournament opportunities. Southern Virginia will become eligible to compete in CAC playoffs during its third year of NCAA Division III provisional membership in 2014-15 - one year after joining the conference - but cannot get an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

“The Capital Athletic Conference continues to get stronger and stronger with the addition of Southern Virginia and the recent addition of Christopher Newport,” said Byrnes. “The best of the CAC successfully competes on the national level, demonstrated by three CAC schools recently ranking in the Top 100 in the 2011-12 Learfield Directors Cup standings. These two new members will strengthen an already formidable athletic conference.”

Southern Virginia does not have a conference affiliation, but competes in National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) events for national recognition. The Capital Athletic Conference recently completed its 22nd championship season as an all-sports conference.