Atlantic Sun Conference

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The Atlantic Sun Conference, branded since the 2016–17 school year as the ASUN Conference, is a NCAA conference whose members play in the NCAA Division I. The conference is headquartered in Atlanta and mostly features universities and colleges from the southeastern United States. The ASUN does not play football, but plans to add that sport, most likely in 2022.[1]

The ASUN began in 1978 as the Trans America Athletic Conference (TAAC). It became the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2001.

Members[change | change source]

As of the 2020–21 school year, the ASUN has nine full members, or schools that play almost all of their sports in the conference.

School Location Founded Type Nickname Joined
ASUN
Bellarmine University Louisville, Kentucky 1950 Private Knights 2020
Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Myers, Florida 1991 Public Eagles 2007
Jacksonville University Jacksonville, Florida 1934 Private Dolphins 1998
Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, Georgia 1963 Public Owls 2005
Liberty University Lynchburg, Virginia 1971 Private Flames 2018
Lipscomb University Nashville, Tennessee 1891 Private Bisons 2003
University of North Alabama Florence, Alabama 1830 Public Lions 2018
University of North Florida Jacksonville, Florida 1969 Public Ospreys 2005
Stetson University DeLand, Florida 1883 Private Hatters 1985

The most recent membership changes took effect in July 2020 with the arrival of Bellarmine University from the Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference[2] and the departure of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) for the America East Conference.[3]

Future members[change | change source]

The ASUN will add three new members in July 2021, all of which play football in Division I FCS, the second level of the NCAA sport. While four current ASUN members play football, two will not play in any potential ASUN football league. Stetson plays in FCS, but does not award football scholarships, unlike all other present and future ASUN football-playing schools. It will continue to play in the Pioneer Football League, a football-only conference that does not allow its members to award football scholarships. Liberty plays in the top tier of NCAA football, Division I FBS. Also, another ASUN member with football, North Alabama, is currently moving from NCAA Division II and will not be eligible for the FCS championship until 2022. Even after North Alabama completes this move, the ASUN will have only five members for its future football league—one shy of the six needed to earn an automatic place in the FCS championship tournament.

At a February 23, 2021 press conference, the ASUN and Western Athletic Conference (WAC) jointly announced that the two conferences had entered into a football partnership. The WAC had announced plans to restart a football league at the FCS level starting in the 2021 season, but lacked enough football-playing members to receive an automatic FCS playoff berth. The three incoming ASUN members will play in the WAC football league until the ASUN starts its own football league, most likely in 2022.[4]

School Location Founded Type Nickname Joining
ASUN
University of Central Arkansas Conway, Arkansas 1907 Public Bears & Sugar Bears 2021
Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, Kentucky 1874 Public Colonels 2021
Jacksonville State University Jacksonville, Alabama 1883 Public Gamecocks 2021
  • Jacksonville State had been a conference member from 1995 to 2003.

Associate members[change | change source]

The ASUN also has three "associate members" that play one or two sports in the conference while being full members of another conference. While one of these schools will leave in July 2021, five new schools will join at that time when the ASUN restarts a men's lacrosse league,[5] which it had shut down when it began a lacrosse partnership with the Southern Conference (SoCon).[6]

The "Joined" column shows the year in which a school joined the ASUN. Since all ASUN sports that have, or will have, associate members (beach volleyball and men's and women's lacrosse) are spring sports, this means the year of joining is the calendar year before the first season of ASUN play.

Current[change | change source]

School Location Founded Type Nickname Joined ASUN sport(s) Main
conference
Coastal Carolina University Conway, South Carolina 1954 Public Chanticleers 2015 (BV)
2016 (WLAX)
Beach volleyball,
women's lacrosse
Sun Belt Conference
Howard University Washington, D.C. 1867 Private Lady Bison 2012 Women's lacrosse Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
Mercer University Macon, Georgia 1833 Private Bears 2014 Beach volleyball Southern Conference

Future[change | change source]

School Location Founded Type Nickname Joining ASUN sport(s) Main
conference
United States Air Force Academy (Air Force) Colorado Springs, Colorado 1954 Federal Falcons 2021 Men's lacrosse Mountain West Conference
Cleveland State University Cleveland, Ohio 1964 Public Vikings 2021 Men's lacrosse Horizon League
University of Detroit Mercy Detroit, Michigan 1877 Private Titans 2021 Men's lacrosse Horizon League
Robert Morris University Moon Township, Pennsylvania 1921 Private Colonials 2021 Men's lacrosse Horizon League
University of Utah Salt Lake City, Utah 1850 Public Utes 2021 Men's lacrosse Pac-12 Conference

References[change | change source]

  • "ASUN Conference". asunsports.org. Retrieved 2020-01-16.
  1. ASUN Conference (January 29, 2021). "ASUN Conference Announces Three New Institutions; Adds Football as 20th Sport". Press release. https://asunsports.org/general/2020-21/releases/20210126nthmsg. Retrieved January 29, 2021. 
  2. ASUN Conference (June 18, 2019). "ASUN Conference Announces Addition of Bellarmine University". Press release. http://asunsports.org/general/2018-19/releases/20190617o5yrum. Retrieved June 18, 2019. 
  3. "NJIT to Join America East Conference as 10th Member Institution - NJIT Highlanders". NJIT Highlanders. June 12, 2020. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  4. ASUN Conference (February 23, 2021). "ASUN, WAC Conferences Announce Football Partnership for 2021". Press release. https://asunsports.org/sports/fball/2020-21/releases/20210223bff9nn. Retrieved February 23, 2021. 
  5. ASUN Conference (February 5, 2021). "ASUN Conference Announces Formation of Men's Lacrosse League". Press release. https://asunsports.org/general/2020-21/releases/20210205djyk6a. Retrieved February 6, 2021. 
  6. Southern Conference (January 9, 2014). "SoCon, ASUN Partner to Enhance Lacrosse". Press release. http://www.soconsports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=4000&ATCLID=209368200&SPID=1790&SPSID=21983. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  7. Howard Bison (July 6, 2020). "Six Howard Athletics Programs Join the Northeast Conference as Associate Members". Press release. https://hubison.com/news/2020/7/6/general-six-howard-athletics-programs-join-the-northeast-conference-as-associate-members.aspx. Retrieved July 11, 2020.