The annual Big South Conference Spring Meetings were held May 30-June 1 at The Westin Resort in Hilton Head, S.C., with meetings of the Council of Chief Executive Officers, Directors of Athletics, Senior Woman Administrators, Faculty Athletics Representatives, and the men’s and women’s basketball coaches, and culminated with the conference’s Spring Awards Banquet.
The councils focused on an array of topics, including decisions around the 2024 Big South Conference Basketball Championships, discussions around the NCAA Transformation Committee, the NCAA’s new Student-Athlete Holistic Model, new awards programs, and individual appointments within the Big South’s governance structure.
Basketball Championships: The Big South CEOs supported the Conference’s efforts to secure a neutral site location for the 2024 Basketball Championships, with a determination by Tuesday, June 13. Should a site not come fruition at that time, the CEOs approved the one-year format of home sites/highest seeds for 2024. The Conference will continue its exploration for a single site tournament for 2025 and beyond.
Basketball Working Group Task Force: The Big South CEOs and ADs approved the creation of a Working Group Task Force to further study men’s and women’s basketball over the next year to analyze if the Conference’s current Strategic Plan needs revision, including matters related to scheduling, facility enhancements, and tactics. The group will evaluate metrics, trends and success to continue the league’s forward progress in elevating men’s and women’s basketball.
Big South Connection: The Big South held its fourth Connection professional development and networking event on Wednesday, May 31, with more than 20 women and minority athletic administrators attending to meet with Big South Athletics Directors and other administrators. The group participated in various panel discussions with the ADs, and concluded the day meeting individually with more than 20 administrators from the membership.
Presentations: NCAA Director of Division I Leeland Zeller presented to the Big South Board of Administrators and CEOs on the current status of the NCAA’s Transformation progress, the Student-Athlete Holistic Model taking effect August 1, 2024, as well as Congressional engagement. Big South Corporate Partner First Citizens Bank presented a donation of $4,200 to the conference in support of the Big South’s continuing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
Student-Athlete Health & Wellness: The CEOs approved recommendations from the Big South Athletic Trainers in developing a more consistent standard of care on each campus to ensure proper and attentive medical and health services at any home contest.
Championships: The Council of Senior Woman Administrators approved the return of the Tennis Championships to Marion Diehl Park in Charlotte for 2024. The Board of Administrators also requested the ADs to review the Championship field sizes for 2023-24 in women’s soccer, men’s soccer, volleyball, women’s lacrosse, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, softball and baseball.
Big South Executive Committee: Gardner-Webb University President Dr. William Downs was elevated to Big South Conference President for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years. USC Upstate Chancellor Dr. Bennie Harris was named Vice President, while Longwood University President W. Taylor Reveley IV was named as an At-Large member to the Executive Committee.
Recognition Awards: The Board of Administrators approved the expansion of preseason All-Conference recognition in women’s soccer, men’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, softball and baseball, as well as the addition of a Newcomer of the Year award in applicable sports. The Council also approved measures to annually recognize the member institution with the highest academic achievement, as well as for the Awards Committee to develop an award to recognize the member institution with the most outstanding work in the area of ESPN+ live event production.
Awards & Hall of Fame: During the league’s Hall of Fame & Awards Banquet on Thursday evening, June 1, the Big South recognized the top three schools for their donation efforts as part of the “Big South Blood Drive” in conjunction with The Blood Connection, as Presbyterian College (first-place), Gardner-Webb University (second-place) and USC Upstate (third-place) paced the overall total of more than 3,300 lives saved.
The Big South also formally awarded the Conference’s Christenberry Awards, Sunbelt Rentals Scholarships and McCloskey Insurance Graduate Fellowships, along with the Sasser Cup and All-Sport Trophies. The Conference also recognized the contributions of outgoing Big South President and Charleston Southern University President Dr. Dondi Costin, as well as outgoing USC Upstate Director of Athletics Daniel Feig. The evening concluded with the induction of retiring Commissioner Kyle Kallander into the Big South Hall of Fame.
–Big South Conference