Christian Stryker, Assistant Commissioner
ROCK HILL, S.C. – The South Atlantic Conference Presidents Council announced today that Emory & Henry College has been invited to join the SAC pending acceptance into the NCAA Division II process, following a unanimous vote by the council to approve its application for membership. Emory & Henry will begin competition in all conference sports in the 2022-23 academic year.
The addition of Emory & Henry will increase the number of SAC members to 14 institutions. Emory & Henry will begin making the transition from NCAA Division III to Division II in 2021, and its membership into the SAC is pending approval of its NCAA Division II application.
Emory & Henry, located in Emory, Va., is a four-year private liberal arts college offering more than 80 undergraduate academic majors and concentrations. Established in 1836, Emory & Henry offers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science, and seven graduate degrees. It is the oldest college in Southwest Virginia and its central campus is listed on the National Register of Historical Places and the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register.
Emory & Henry College is consistently ranked among the nation’s best private liberal arts institutions. The College’s many accolades include the Presidential Award for Service Learning, the highest national recognition for community service and service-learning; top tier recognition in Washington Monthly, USA Today, Newsweek, and Emory & Henry is listed among the top 40 schools in Colleges that Change Lives and recognized as a College of Distinction.
Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges, Emory & Henry boasts an enrollment of 1,292 students and an astonishing 10:1 student-to-teacher ratio with an average class size of 14 students.
“We are thrilled to have Emory & Henry join the South Atlantic Conference as our 14th member,” said Dr. Maurice Scherrens, Chair of the SAC Presidents Council. “All of us within the SAC are extremely excited to have another fine institution from the state of Virginia join our ranks. Like so many of our current members, Emory & Henry adds to the strong history of academic and athletic success to our conference, and we look forward to the future with them as a member.”
Emory & Henry will compete in 19 of the SAC’s championship sports, including competing in the SAC’s combined men’s wrestling championship with Conference Carolinas.
“We are very pleased to welcome Emory & Henry to the SAC,” said SAC Commissioner Patrick Britz. “The overall mission and focus of the college aligns perfectly with the SAC and the institution is a great fit geographically, as well. This addition also strengthens and enhances the SAC and allows us to continue our vision to be a premier NCAA Division II conference both regionally and nationally.”
The Emory & Henry athletic department has a long history of athletic success having competed in intercollegiate athletics for more than 100 years. The Wasps were founding members of NCAA Division III and the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC). Overall, the Wasps have won 17 ODAC championships, including a league-record 11 football championships. They have made 17 NCAA postseason appearances, highlighted by a 1987 football national semifinals appearance, two men’s basketball Sweet 16 appearances, and three NCAA tournament appearances in softball.
“This is an exciting time for Emory & Henry athletics, the college as a whole and sports fans across the region,” said Dr. John W. Wells, Emory & Henry College President. “The move to Division II will help expand our fan base and bring much-needed visibility for this wonderful institution. We’re determined to be a leader in higher education for Middle Appalachia, and our move into the South Atlantic Conference and the ranks of Division II athletics is a powerful way to position us as a place of connections. We look forward to growing the rivalries, relationships within the SAC, and welcoming new guests to our Emory campus.”
“Our alumni and friends are familiar with our SAC colleagues, and the proximity of opposing schools provides opportunities that more current students and College supporters will be able to travel to road competitions,” said Anne Crutchfield, Director of Athletics at Emory & Henry. “Joining the SAC will create some true rivalries that should get our student-athletes and our fans excited.”
“We have been fortunate to belong to one of the top Division III conferences in the country with the ODAC as a charter member since 1975, and I think this move to the SAC will continue that high standard as the league is known for great competition on a national level,” added Crutchfield. “I think we will see greater opportunities in our future to compete for national championships.”
Logistics of Emory & Henry’s integration into the SAC, including the possibility of divisional play, will be vetted by the conference’s leadership groups in May.