The Southern Conference: Conference Realignment's Piñata

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By the dawn of the 1930s, the SoCon had grown to an unwieldy 23 schools, leaving 13 member schools to break away and form the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in 1932. The thirteen departing schools (and charter members of the SEC) were: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Sewanee, Tennessee, Tulane, and Vanderbilt.

The SoCon would ride out the next few years with their remaining ten members before deciding to expand once again in 1936. In that year, the SoCon added The Citadel, Davidson, Furman, George Washington, Richmond, Wake Forest, and William & Mary to get their membership to a healthy 17 schools. The conference would soon drop to 16 schools after Virginia decided to exit the conference in 1937 to become an independent.

The SoCon would get back to 17 schools when they finally permitted our Mountaineers into the conference in 1950. WVU made the move to the SoCon for scheduling purposes, but also the easier access to the men’s NCAA basketball tournament.

With 17 members on board, the conference figured to be on solid footing once again as a major conference. That is until the conference made the epic mistake of attempting to ban post-season play for its teams. That move would put the final nail in the conference’s major football coffin.

The Birth of the ACC and the fall into football obscurity…

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