Jacksonville State officially joins ASUN Conference

JACKSONVILLE – Jacksonville State University athletics are officially back home as members of the ASUN Conference with July 1 marking the start of the 2021-22 academic and athletic year for the NCAA.
 
JSU announced in January that it would return to the ASUN, its first Division I conference affiliation, following 18 years as part of the Ohio Valley Conference. In doing so, the Gamecocks would play a pivotal role in bringing football to the league for the first time ever.
 
“This is an exciting day for Jacksonville State University, for our student-athletes, for our alumni and for our fans,”  said Jacksonville State President Dr, Don Killingsworth at the time of announcement. “When the opportunity to discuss renewing our relationship with the ASUN Conference was presented to us, it was one we definitely were eager to explore, and we could not be more thrilled that it worked out the way it has and that Jacksonville State University will rejoin the conference that was so instrumental in our move to Division I over 25 years ago.”
 
Following a storied run in Division II where the Gamecocks brought home national titles in men’s basketball, baseball, football and gymnastics, JSU made the leap to Division I in 1995. The Gamecocks made their home in what was known as the Trans America Athletic Conference (TAAC) at the time, which later rebranded as the Atlantic Sun, and known now as the ASUN. The only outlier for JSU was the football program, which competed as members of the Southland Football League since the ASUN did not sponsor the sport. As sport seasons traveled in opposite directions over the years, the entire athletic fleet was brought under one banner in 2003 when Jax State joined the OVC.
 
The 18-year tenure in the OVC produced some of JSU’s most decorated years across its 17 athletic programs. Since joining the conference in 2003-04, JSU solidified itself as the preeminent athletic program winning 81 OVC Championships, which is seven more than the next OVC school during that span. JSU has seen 15 of its 17 programs bring home various titles and combine for 54 trips to NCAA post-season play.
 
This spring the ASUN announced its plans to add FCS football to the league’s list of sponsored sports for the first time in the conference’s 43-year history. Along with JSU, the ASUN welcomes newcomers Eastern Kentucky and Central Arkansas to help current league members North Alabama and Kennesaw State in growing the football footprint. The conference overall now has 12 members covering Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
 
“What a great day for Jacksonville State University and Gamecock Athletics,”  said JSU Athletics Director Greg Seitz during January’s announcement.  “Last fall, the ASUN Conference reached out to us to gauge Jacksonville State’s interest in returning to the league that was our first conference home when we moved to Division I in 1995. When learning of the ASUN’s plan to start football and the vision of Commissioner Ted Gumbart and the ASUN President’s Council to build the premiere football conference in the FCS from the ground up, that was an opportunity that we as a University and Athletics Department wanted to be a part of.”
 
The new league setup features two six-team divisions. JSU will side with North Alabama, Eastern Kentucky, Central Arkansas, Lipscomb and Bellarmine. The eastern division will feature Kennesaw State, Liberty, Jacksonville, North Florida, Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast. 
 
Softball registered JSU’s first Division I conference title in 1996 with its TAAC championship, setting the stage for numerous titles, all-conference selections and All-American honors for the Red and White over the next 25 years.
 
 
 

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