Southern Conference bigwigs got together in Charlotte this week to ponder the future of the venerable old league. That future has been placed in some doubt by the impending departures of FCS football powers App State and Georgia Southern and College of Charleston, with its solid mid-major basketball and baseball programs.
I talked to SoCon commissioner John Iamarino about a couple issues that have cropped up recently: The Big Ten’s proposal to stop scheduling FCS teams, which could spread to the ACC and SEC and deny vital paydays to FCS programs; and the NCAA’s move to deregulate recruiting practices, which could drive up spending in athletic departments.
With College of Charleston set to join the Colonial Athletic Association in 2013-14, Citadel baseball coach Fred Jordan said the Southern Conference will play with 10 teams in 2014, with all 10 teams making the SoCon Tournament.
One of the sad parts about the end of the Jerry Moore era at Appalachian State is that the venerable old coach won’t get to update his Citadel story.
For years, the 73-year-old coach — who was fired, resigned, retired or had his tenure concluded, depending on which account you read — would turn to the same Citadel story whenever the Mountaineers were preparing to play the Bulldogs.
The turkey’s barely been digested and Clowney just sacked Tajh Boyd again, but it’s already time for Southern Conference basketball.
The SoCon season tips off Wednesday with Elon at Georgia Southern and Western Carolina at Furman. Our two local squads swing into league action Saturday, with College of Charleston at Elon and The Citadel at UNC Greensboro.
So what have we learned so far?
I haven’t talked to Citadel coach Kevin Higgins about this in detail, but it seems like defense will be a point of emphasis as the Bulldogs head into the off-season and into spring practice.
At least, that’s the direction in which the stats point.