Finlandia joins Great South

Tianna Borst and Finlandia could compete for an automatic bid to the NCAA in women's basketball as soon as next year.
Photo by Eric Kelley, 

Finlandia announced its acceptance into the Great South Athletic Conference, and will become the second co-ed school to join the conference since the GSAC's long-existing co-ed members announced they were leaving for the USA South.

With Huntingdon, LaGrange, Maryville (Tenn.) and Piedmont leaving for or already members of the USA South and Spelman announcing last year it was dropping athletics altogether, the Great South Athletic Conference is in danger of losing its automatic playoff bids in women's sports.

To that end, the conference added Pine Manor and Trinity (D.C.) earlier this academic year, with the women's schools joining Agnes Scott, Covenant, Salem and Wesleyan (Ga.). Maine-Presque Isle and Mills, a women's school in northern California that fields teams in only cross country, rowing, soccer, swimming and tennis, have joined as well.

“We are extremely excited to provide a championship experience for our women's programs and compete for the opportunity to gain NCAA postseason play through this affiliation,” said athletic director Chris Salani. The Lions' non-affiliated women's sports teams will join the GSAC in 2013-14, with the current 2013 softball team obtaining immediate entrance.

Salani added, “It's an opportunity that is a creative partnership for both Finlandia and the GSAC to help our student-athletes acquire and maintain a full student-athlete experience.”