East Tennessee State Receives Extended Withdrawal from Southern Conference
Southern Conference Media Relations, Steve Shutt
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Spartanburg, SC -- The Southern Conference Council of Presidents on Tuesday granted East Tennessee State University an extended withdrawal from the Southern Conference. The extended withdrawal allows ETSU to remain a member of the conference until June 30, 2005 while it transitions into a new conference.
ETSU announced in May, 2003, that it would discontinue its football program following the 2003 season. That put the university in violation of the Southern Conference Bylaws, Article Six, Section 1, Part B which states that “Conference members shall field teams in men’s basketball, football and at least four other sports in which the Conference conducts championships.”
The extended withdrawal will allow ETSU to remain in the league in all sports in which it currently competes through the end of the 2004-05 academic year.
“We are very appreciative of the Southern Conference granting us this extended withdrawal,” said ETSU president Dr. Paul Stanton. “This will provide us with time to find a new conference and it will assist us during the transition period.”
Southern Conference Commissioner Dr. Danny Morrison said “I have been very impressed with how our member institutions have worked together on this complicated issue. There has been a great deal of respect shown by both sides for the other. It speaks volumes about the character of this conference that this parting of the ways has been done in such a first class manner.”
Maj. Gen. John Grinalds, the President of The Citadel and the chair of the Council of Presidents, said that “there has been a lot of additional thought and discussion on the East Tennessee State situation since our May meeting. This extended withdrawal was done in the spirit of helping ETSU with its transition as it has been a good-standing member of this conference for 25 years.”
Morrison said the accord gives the Southern Conference “time to evaluate how to proceed as we move forward. Ideally, we would like to have a 12th member that plays football. But we have the luxury of having 11 strong members and there are some outstanding 11-member conferences in Division I including the Big 10 and the Atlantic Coast Conference when it adds Miami and Virginia Tech next year.”