Growth, Opportunities Topics at Busy Spring Meetings

Friday, June 22, 2012

MACON, Ga. – Action items including the All-Sports races, video distribution, sportsmanship, sport-specific policies, championships and committee participation were all addressed at the recent 2012 A-Sun Spring Meetings in Daytona Beach, Fla. Athletics Directors, Senior Woman Administrators and Faculty Athletic Representatives, including delegates from the newest A-Sun member institution Northern Kentucky, gathered for the annual spring sessions.

“We have taken tremendous steps forward over the past year, and the trends in academics, athletic achievement and overall commitment to our student-athletes are positive because of the leadership we see on our campuses,” said A-Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart. “From presidents to administrators to faculty and coaches, our campus leaders and educators are fully committed to our mission of Building Winners for Life.” The A-Sun set new record highs in 2011-12 in All-Academic honors, total number of postseason participants and in national broadcast appearances.

The A-Sun awards three All-Sports race trophies, one for men (Jesse Fletcher Trophy), one for women (Sherman Day Trophy) and one for overall achievement (Bill Bibb Trophy). With the addition of Sand Volleyball as a championship sport, and this coming season’s debut of women’s lacrosse, the A-Sun membership approved a change to the calculations that determine the winners of these trophies. Schools earn points for their finish in each sport, and final standings will now be determined by a percentage calculation of points earned divided by points available based on the school’s sports sponsored. A minimum of five participating institutions will be required before a sport is added to the all sports calculations.

The discussion of the A-Sun’s video distribution model resulted in two key changes. First, the membership approved moving ASun.TV from a pay-per-view subscription product to a complimentary service for all contests. Second, the conference will renew partnerships with both its regional cable partner CSS and its national broadcast partner ESPN. ESPN’s multi-screen platform ESPN3, also included in the WatchESPN app, featured 23 exclusive A-Sun broadcasts in 2011-12, including the first broadcasts of the A-Sun baseball and softball championships. Additional events are expected to be announced prior to the 2012-13 fall sports seasons.

A-Sun men’s and women’s basketball coaches returned to the Spring Meetings to hold their respective coaches’ meetings and met with administrators. Along with discussions on exploring different tournament formats, the groups agreed to a change in regular season scheduling format. Currently, men’s and women’s teams are at home or on the road on the same weekends, with a doubleheader played on Saturday, with the second game played either Thursday or Monday (men and women alternating that spot annually). Beginning with the 2013-14 schedule the teams will travel on opposite weeks, allowing both men and women to play a Thursday-Saturday schedule without doubleheaders.

A-Sun Championship sites were selected for cross country (FGCU), indoor track & field (ETSU), outdoor track & field (UNF), men’s golf (Chateau Elan), women’s golf (Jekyll Island), softball (Lipscomb) and for the inaugural women’s lacrosse championship (JU). In men’s soccer, the membership approved awarding the championship host privilege to the regular season champion, effective with this fall’s season.

Sport-specific policy changes included the approval of a Goalkeeper of the Year award in men’s and women’s soccer, tiebreaker policy amendments in soccer and volleyball to replace the final seeding criteria of a coin flip with non-conference RPI rankings, and the approval of a scouting video exchange program in women’s soccer. In Sand Volleyball, the championship dates were set for April 19-20 and will feature entirely team play. Teams will play each other in a regular season schedule for the first time.

The Atlantic Sun Conference is an NCAA Division I league with 10 member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, Northern Kentucky University, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.