Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky 2021-11-08 05:43:58 –
All of the recent reorganizations in college sports can dizzy you if you allow it.
Southern Mississippi is heading to the Sunbelt. Texas and Oklahoma come to the SEC. But what will the next round bring? Do Kentucky and South Carolina need to find new homes as Conference USA collapses? Is Alabama trying to jump a ship from the Big 12? Little Rock seems crazy about Pac-12, but I don’t know when a better offer will come.
The conference coordination we all know and love is only part of the NCAA sports landscape. Immediately ahead is the true twilight zone of curious combinations, eccentric registrations, and complex combinations known as affiliate membership.
As you know, not all conferences offer all sports in the sun, and not all schools in all conferences offer all sports at the level of diversity. For example, the powerful Southeastern Conference does not sponsor men’s football. Conference USA does. As a result, a handful of schools participating in these sports are competing in leagues that go beyond their sport.
That’s why Kentucky and South Carolina have become members of the Conference USA Football League. Similarly, Alabama is in the Big 12 every time the women’s boat season begins, but the little Little Rock leaves Arkansas and heads west to compete with the Pac-12 School for wrestling.
Most affiliate memberships appear to be convenient marriages, where geography and opportunity play a major role. For example, South Dakota and northern Iowa aren’t invited to the Big 12 as full members, but are naturally suitable for filling some empty space in the wrestling league.
Some niche sports hold their own meetings outside the traditional league umbrella. There are five rifle sports, three of which are unique to that sport. Ole Miss is one of nine members of the Great America Rifle Conference.
When Southern Mississippi announced that he was leaving Conference USA for Sunbelt two weeks ago, one of the questions asked was about the future of the beach volleyball program. C-USA sponsors sports, but Sunbelt does not.
There was no immediate answer, but Southern Mississippi should have several options. You could stay in C-USA for that sport — members of Sunbelt, Georgia State University, Coastal Carolina, and Monroe, Louisiana are already there — or you might join the Coastal University Sports Association. not.
CCSA has 17 schools from 9 major conferences participating in beach volleyball, swimming and diving. Membership includes large SEC programs such as LSU and South Carolina, as well as smaller programs such as Bellarmine (Atlantic Sun Conference), Campbell (Big South) and Incarnate Word (Southland).
The world of affiliate membership and alternative meetings is certainly a strange and fascinating realm. Like water, competition finds its way. It also has strange companions and matches.
Excuse me, but it’s time to put this together. We must prepare to cover the big Oremis in the January Alaska-Fairbanks rifle match.
Ernest Bowker is a sports editor at the Vicksburg Post.He can be contacted at email@example.com
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