Piedmont President Ray Cleere, USA South Commisioner Rita Wiggs, and PC Athletic Director John Dzik.Piedmont College to join USA South Athletic Conference

Piedmont College has announced plans to become the newest member of USA South, the NCAA Division-III athletic conference that currently spans North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Tennessee.

Piedmont President Ray Cleere, Athletic Director John Dzik, and USA South Commissioner Rita Wiggs made the announcement April 11 at a joint press conference at the college’s Johnny Mize Athletic Center in Demorest, Ga.

“We are delighted to accept the invitation for membership offered to Piedmont College by the
USA South athletic conference,” Dzik said. “Our coaches and student athletes look forward to forging new relationships, and we believe Piedmont will provide the USA South growth, stability, and quality athletic competition.”

The move to the USA South comes a little over a decade after Piedmont became a charter member of the Great South Athletic Conference. Piedmont’s move to USA South ensures that all student-athletes at PC will now have the opportunity to compete in post-season play beyond the conference tournaments, Dzik said.

Though PC has spent the last decade competing in the GSAC, Cleere noted that Piedmont has already faced USA South teams over recent years in numerous non-conference games in a variety of sports. “We are vigorously accepting this invitation to join the USA South, we believe we can be highly competitive in the league, and we look forward to our new athletic associations,” Cleere said.

Commissioner Wiggs said Piedmont shared a similar academic and athletic profile with the existing USA South teams. “The Conference has conducted extensive reviews, and the time is now right for USA South and Piedmont College to become partners for the future,” said Wiggs of its newest conference addition.

Dzik said Piedmont will continue to compete in GSAC play during the upcoming 2011-12 school year before making the switch to USA South competition in the 2012-13 school year. The college will enter as a full member and will be immediately eligible for automatic bids to compete in post-season NCAA tournaments in all sports.

The USA South Conference currently includes 10 full members, the largest being Christopher Newport University with 4,793 students; and the smallest is Peace College, with 662 students. Piedmont currently has about 2,800 students overall and 1,200 enrolled at the Demorest campus.

Other members of USA South include Averett University (2,719), Ferrum College (1,100), Greensboro College (1,233), Mary Baldwin College (2,242), Meredith College (1,990), Methodist University (2,215), N.C. Wesleyan College (900), and Shenandoah University (1,606). The conference also has three associate members, Agnes Scott College and LaGrange College, both of which compete only in women’s lacrosse; and Maryville College, which competes in football.

Piedmont will compete in USA South conference play in volleyball, softball, baseball, soccer, basketball, cross country, golf, and tennis. The college will add men’s lacrosse to its list of sports in the spring of 2012, while the women’s lacrosse team anticipates USA South conference play in 2013.

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