Field hockey, swimming and diving have new conference affiliations
Transylvania’s field hockey and swimming and diving teams have become associate members of the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) and the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC), respectively. Neither sport is represented in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, the university’s primary athletics conference.
All of the colleges and universities in both the SAA and OAC are members of NCAA Division III, as is Transylvania.
The SAA, the new conference home for field hockey, is comprised of schools from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee. They are Berry College, Birmingham Southern College, Centre College, Hendrix College, Millsaps College, Oglethorpe University, Sewanee: The University of the South, and Rhodes College.
“We had long sought a conference home for our field hockey program, especially since we became a member of NCAA Division III in 2002,” said athletics director Jack Ebel ’77.
Head coach Tiffany Underhill welcomed the opportunity for her team to compete for a conference championship as other Transylvania teams do in the HCAC and to have the chance to qualify for the NCAA championship.
“Joining this conference is very exciting and a tremendous boost for our program,” Underhill said. “Besides the team championship opportunities, our players will also have the chance to win all-conference recognition.”
The new conference home for the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams is made up of 10 Ohio-based schools: Baldwin Wallace University, Capital University, Heidelberg University, John Carroll University, Marietta College, The University of Mount Union, Muskingum University, Ohio Northern University, Otterbein University, and Wilmington College.
Transylvania has long competed in the Bluegrass Mountain Conference’s season-ending meet against NAIA and NCAA Division II and III schools. The OAC gives the Pioneers a post-season opportunity against all Division III schools.
“This is a great move for our program,” said head coach Kyle Dunaway. “All the OAC member schools have excellent teams and first-class facilities. We can now compete for conference championships and have a much better chance of qualifying for the NCAA championship.”