Dangerous Times for the SoCon
By Russell V.
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Furman and Elon are the latest SoCon schools to be involved in conference realignment rumors.
At long last, the trickledown effects of the FBS’ conference realignment have fully hit the FCS, and the SoCon may soon pay the price for it.
There have been plenty of rumors lately about teams leaving the Southern Conference, but shockingly, they do not involve Appalachian State or Georgia Southern, the two teams most often talked about when asked which teams could potentially leave.
It is Elon (member since 2003) and Furman (member since 1936), along with Davidson (member from 1936-1988 and rejoined in 1991) and College of Charleston (member since 1998) that the Colonial Athletic Association is reportedly eyeing as they look to expand. Ironic, since CAA-members William & Mary and Richmond were long considered good choices for the SoCon to go after should they need to expand.
The conference has not faced something like this in more than half a century, when Clemson, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Maryland left the Southern Conference for the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1953.
The conference has survived though, and has prospered throughout the years. It’s hard to think they wouldn’t be able to do so again.
The shocker in the move, in my opinion, is that Furman – a member for more than 80 years, and the longest serving member along with The Citadel – could leave. Elon only joined in 2003, so their loyalties to the SoCon may not be as strong as one would suspect Furman’s to be. Then again, if there is anything that the recent movement in conferences has shown us, it’s that today, programs have more allegiance to money than to a conference.
The point I am trying to make is that if these rumors are true, it is not the end of the Southern Conference. Will it be a trying time? Of course, particularly if Appalachian State and Georgia Southern join the list of schools leaving. But the SoCon has been around since 1921 for a reason. They have survived threats like these before and should continue to do so.