Central State University, a current member of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, will become a full member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference beginning next season.
“Central State is an outstanding academic institution with a rich athletic tradition,” said SIAC Commissioner Gregory Moore. “We look forward to working with (Central State president) Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond and her staff as they make the transition to full membership.”
The SIAC Presidents Council unanimously approved elevating Central State, a historically black college located in Wilberforce, Ohio (20 miles east of Dayton), to full membership effective July 1. Central State will become eligible for SIAC championships and all-conference team honors beginning with the 2015-2016 season.
Central State competed as an associate member in the SIAC for football the past two seasons. The G-MAC currently does not sponsor football.
“Central State’s participation in the conference is exciting because it will not only add to the competitive spirit that already exists among Conference members but will strengthen our conference as a leader within NCAA ranks,” said Dr. George T. French, Miles College President and chairman of the SIAC President’s Council.
With the addition Central State to the HBCU-centered league, the SIAC will have 15 members (including the male-only Morehouse College), with 12 schools sponsoring football. SIAC members LeMoyne-Owen, Paine and Spring Hill do not sponsor football; Paine fielded their first football team in over five decades last season, but suspended the program due to financial concerns.
“Joining the SIAC is a great opportunity for Central State University,” Jackson-Hammond said. “The SIAC provides additional exposure for Central State and enhances the collegiate and academic experience. We look forward to the camaraderie and athletic competition with some of the best universities in the country.”
Central State became a charter member of the G-MAC in 2012 after competing as a D2 independent following it’s transition from NAIA membership to the NCAA in 2004.
“Joining the SIAC is an investment into our program,” Central State athletic director Jahan Culbreath said. “It shows our commitment to enhancing our brand and broadening our fan base. We are excited to start this new era of Marauder sports as a part of the SIAC family.”
With Central State’s departure, the G-MAC now stands at eight full members: Alderson-Broaddus University, Cedarville University, Davis & Elkins College, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Ohio Valley University, Salem International University, Trevecca Nazarene University and Ursuline College. Ursuline is a women’s only school which does not field men’s teams.
The G-MAC sponsored bids by Georgetown (Ky.) College and the Cumberland (Tenn.) University to transition from NAIA to D2 in 2013 and 2014. The NCAA denied both applications last July.
One of the motivations behind the G-MAC’s invitations to Georgetown and Cumberland was to have enough schools to sponsor football at the D2 level. The NCAA requires six member schools within a conference to sponsor a sport in order to get NCAA recognition. Of the remaining G-MAC members, only Alderson-Broaddus and Kentucky Wesleyan sponsor football.