The Southern Conference: Conference Realignment's Piñata

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Conference realignment madness appears to be settling in at the top of the pile, with the major conferences settling in for the time being, allowing the final ripples to work their way through the mid majors and FCS levels. Those ripples continue to batter and erode the once proud borders of the Southern Conference, which has once again seen a mass exodus of membership.

In the recent weeks, the Southern Conference (SoCon) has witnessed the departures of Appalachian State and Georgia Southern to the Sun Belt Conference, College of Charleston and Elon to the Colonial Athletic Association, and Davidson to the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Turnover in membership is nothing new to the venerable SoCon. As the years have gone by, and conference realignment has continued on in furious spurts throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, the SoCon continues to absorb blow after blow.

Much like a piñata, the SoCon continues to spill it goodies with each swing, wondering if the next swing will be the one to shatter its thin shell.

West Virginia University once called the SoCon home, competing in all sports from 1950 – 1968. The Mountaineers, just as so many before and since, left the SoCon for greener fields.

The SoCon first came into existence in 1921 as an spin-off of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA). Fourteen schools became charter members of the SoCon: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Washington & Lee.

The SoCon would continue to expand throughout the 1920s to add schools such as Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, Tulane, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Sewanee, Virginia Military Institute, and Duke. But all this expansion would not lead to bigger and better things for the SoCon.

The Birth of the SEC…

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