Now that it has been announced that east tennesse state is leaving the socon for the atlantic sun due to dropping their basketball program, who is the likely candidate to replace them? It has been stated by socon officials that they would like a school that played football. with that i will list some options for them.
any big south football playing school.
gardner webb- in big south for football only and is relaively new to d-1 in general. privated school located in boiling springs, north carolina
coastal carolina- in big south for all sports and is a PUBLIC school located in conway, sc. first year for football and is surprsingly somewhat competitive.
vmi- just left socon for big south in a "trade" for elon. located in lexingon, virginia a public military academy
liberty- private christian school located in lynchburg va. stable member of big south for a couple of years now.
charleston southern- like liberty expect not religious. located in charleston, sc.
these are pretty much their only options as i doubt any southern a-10 school like james madision or william and mary would leave the caa to join socon for allsports. so my pick for a football playing school to join would be either coastal carolina or gardner webb. liberty and vmi are too far north, plus vmi just got kicked out and they dont need two schools in charleston so charleston southern is out.
now if they would not mind settling for a non football school, then their options expand tremendously to include
georgia st.- public
uncw, a public school, might consider joining to get in a group with instate rivals though i really doubt that would happen as they are extremely content in the caa
there really isnt that much to chose from outside of the big south especially if they want a football school, which they probably will get considering they just got rid of a school for dropping football.
Final Answer- Coastal Carolina
a full member of the big south, this school just seems more desirable compared to gardner webb which is not even a full member of the big south. coastal carolina looks to be the best choice
this leaves the socon with a 8-4 public-private school ratio, a big issue within the socon now. i guess we will have to wait and see how it all turns out.
Charleston Southern is like Liberty but not religious? Says who? Or didn't you know that Charleston Southern's previous name was Baptist College?
At any rate, I don't see the SoCon being interested in any of the current Big South members, with the possible exception of Gardner-Webb (and they are only an associate member since the rest of their sports are in the A-Sun). This is only because GWU has a familiarity with the SoCon due to scheduling a number of their members in various sports over the years, and they are the only current Big South school that might be able to be competitive in football.
Most of the Kentucky & Tennessee members of the OVC are a pretty tight-knit group, and not too likely to be pulled away into the SoCon; but newer teams like Jacksonville St. & Samford (another Baptist school) might be more easily swayed. TN Tech would still be a remote possibility, but I wouldn't count on Eastern KY.
With ETSU's departure, the SoCon would look like this:
College of Charleston*#
* = non-FB school
# = rumored to be leaving.
UNCG & CC departing for leagues that lean more towards basketball than football would not be too surprising, but I would think Charleston would be a better fit in the Atlantic Sun than the Colonial.
If both the above schools leave, that would leave the league with 8 FB schools & 1 non-FB school. The SoCon could function just fine in this way, but would probably look to add one more team to give the odd team a travel partner. There are too many possibilities to do much more than speculate at this time, but if only one team is added, look for it to be either Gardner-Webb, Jacksonville St., or Hampton U., with TN Tech a slight possibility.
If more than one team is added, then the following schools could be added to the above mix: Georgia St., Samford, NC A&T, Richmond, and possibly William & Mary (the last two were long-time members at one point).