Savannah State University today announced its plans to join the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, nearly seventh months after publicizing its departure from the Division I Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference due to financial constraints and competitive underperformance.
Pending NCAA approval, SSU will submit its application for divisional transition by February 2018, according to school officials.
“We feel the SIAC is a great fit for Savannah State University and its students,” said Savannah State President Cheryl Davenport Dozier. “With the help of the Athletics Transition Task Force, we have identified a conference that is attractive for its affordability as well as its fan base.”
The Tigers will return to SIAC competition 17 years after leaving the conference for Division I independent status, and later MEAC membership beginning in 2002. Prior to leaving, the school had competed in the SIAC for 32 years beginning in 1968, wining three straight men’s basketball titles between 1979 and 1981, and five women’s tennis titles throughout the 1990s.
“Welcoming Savannah State University to the SIAC not only adds a 15th outstanding institution, but also restores important historic and geographic rivalries which I’m certain SIAC alumni, students, and fans will enjoy,” said SIAC Commissioner Greg Moore.
Georgia rivalries for SSU include Albany State University, Fort Valley State University, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University and Paine College.
The SIAC is a national leader among all Division II conferences, historically black or otherwise, in attendance, revenues and social media following. In October, the conference announced an exclusive livestreaming agreement with ESPN for select conference regular season football games. Earlier this year, the conference announced a partnership with the Division I Southwestern Athletic Conference and the NBA Players Association to hold the first training combine for players from HBCU programs.
Last fall, the conference entered into a corporate partnership with black-owned Walker & Company, the corporation behind the Bevel shaving system.