ROCK HILL, S.C. (TheSAC.com) – The South Atlantic Conference President's Council has agreed to a football scheduling commitment with Barton College beginning in 2020 for a term of two years.
The agreement will allow the SAC football playing schools a common in-region opponent, while helping Barton complete a full NCAA Division II schedule.
"The South Atlantic Conference is very excited to have Barton College join us as a scheduling partner for football," said Anderson University President and Chair of the SAC President's Council Dr. Evans Whitaker. "With UNC Pembroke football joining the Mountain East Conference our football schools were left with a vacancy in their schedules, but the addition of Barton fills that void and gives our institutions another regional program to compete against."
The Bulldogs will play eight of the nine SAC football schools in 2020 and will play all nine programs in 2021. However they will not count as a "conference" opponent in the standings, nor will their student-athletes be eligible for South Atlantic Conference honors.
According to SAC Commissioner Patrick Britz, "We are thrilled to have Barton come on board as a scheduling partner in football, and we look forward to working with Dr. Searcy, Todd Wilkinson and the rest of the Barton staff in the coming years."
Barton, located in Wilson, N.C., announced the return of football to the lineup of Bulldog NCAA Division II athletic programs for the first time since 1950 in January 2018. The Bulldogs will play their first season of competition in the fall of 2020 and will be led by Chip Hester. No stranger to the SAC, Hester spent 18 years coaching at Catawba College, serving as the head coach of the Catawba Indians for 11 seasons.
"Barton College is pleased to enter a scheduling agreement with the South Atlantic Conference for football," said Dr. Doug Searcy, President of Barton. "The SAC has a deep tradition in Division II football with a focus on student success and academic excellence. The leadership and presidents in the SAC believe, as I do, that opportunities for student learning and personal growth expand through intercollegiate athletics. We look forward to partnering with the SAC and supporting Barton College students through this new scheduling venture."