September 29, 2009—The Belhaven Department of Athletics is pleased to announce that they have been accepted as members of the Southern States Athletic Conference beginning with the 2010-11 academic year. The Blazers will join fellow Gulf Coast Athletic Conference members William Carey University, Spring Hill College, the University of Mobile, and Loyola University of New Orleans in the SSAC next year. This move will not affect the sport of football who will remain a part of the Mid-South Conference.

“As our athletic programs have grown and become increasingly competitive, the Southern States conference is the right home for Belhaven,” says Belhaven President Dr. Roger Parrott. “We find ourselves more often in the national rankings for our teams, and this new conference gives us the best platform to compete for national championships. Like the SEC of small colleges, the Southern States may be the most competitive conference in the nation, but we believe Belhaven will do well among this group of schools who share our mission to quality small college athletics that is committed to a foundation of character building.”

Belhaven Director of Athletics Scott Little said, “We lead our student-athletes to compete and mature, and membership in the SSAC is a significant step in that process. This move provides a strong conference affiliation, positions us well nationally, and still allows us retain traditional conference rivalries. Fans will enjoy the high level of competition they’ll see from even more schools across the Southeast and around the nation.”

The SSAC currently has 11 members and will expand to 16 with the addition of the five GCAC schools and current NAIA Independent Truett-McConnell. The SSAC expansion will provide each sport with at least one automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament and most sports will qualify for multiple bids from the conference.