With the football team coming to ETSU, and starting play in 2015, that means that for the first time since 2003 the Bucs will be not playing in the Atlantic Sun any more and will be joining their old conference, the Southern Conference.
The Atlantic Sun does not offer a football league, even in 1AA football, which is what ETSU will be entering into.
Other notable teams in the conference include Wofford, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and The Citadel.
Some of the more prominent members of the conference that you might think of like Appalachian State, College of Charleston and Davidson have already left the conference to go elsewhere. Appalachian State has completely moved out of 1AA and is moving in with the bigger teams of 1A ball.
The Southern Conference has also been home to some of the big time schools such as West Virginia and Virginia back in the ’60s and ’70s.
The Bucs will also be joining Mercer and Virginia Military Institute, coming to the conference in the fall.
Mercer has been a rival of ETSU in many sports in the Atlantic Sun for the past few years. VMI will be joining the conference after leaving the Big South Conference.
Back before the Southeastern Conference was founded 1933, most of the members of the conference today, were once in the Southern Conference, including The University of Tennessee. Other certain ACC teams were also in the Southern Conference at one point.
ETSU will have a team in every sport that the conference offers except for wrestling.
The Bucs will be renewing an old conference rival with the UTC.
ETSU beat the Mocs in a postseason men’s basketball tournament this past season.
The Bucs will probably have to also play some of the big time teams in the next few years in football, in order to fund the program.
Teams such as UT or even lower scale 1A teams usually play a good price for you to come into their house, and you never know when you will have a Michigan vs. Appalachian State situation and the lower team will pull the upset.
Although they did play some good teams in the Atlantic Sun at times such as Belmont (who also left the conference), the Bucs will have much better competition in the new conference with teams such as Wofford and Western Carolina.