BUIES CREEK - Campbell is leaving the Atlantic Sun Conference to rejoin the Big South, school and conference officials announced Thursday morning at a news conference on Campbell’s campus.
The move will take place in July of 2011, after Campbell fulfills its contractual obligation to the Atlantic Sun. Campbell will pay the Big South an entrance fee of $101,430 but will not owe the Atlantic Sun a fee for departing.
Campbell will compete in 17 of the 18 sports offered by the Big South but will remain a non-scholarship member of the Pioneer Football League. Campbell will keep its affiliation with the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association and will remain a Division I independent in wrestling.
All the schools in the Big South, which will have 11 members upon Campbell’s entrance, are in the Carolinas or Virginia. All but one of Campbell’s Atlantic Sun opponents is in Georgia, Tennessee or Florida.
Campbell athletics director Stan Williamson said the move will save the school an estimated $60,000 a year in travel costs. He said the less strenuous travel schedule should lead to a 20 percent drop in missed class time for athletes.
“It is in our best interest, especially the best interest of the student-athletes, that we move to the Big South Conference,” Campbell president Jerry Wallace said.
Campbell was a founding member of the Big South in 1983 but left in 1994 to join the Trans America Athletic Conference, which became the Atlantic Sun.
In rejoining the Big South, Campbell’s Board of Trustees affirmed the Baptist-affiliated school’s policy not to schedule athletics contests on Sunday, allowing exceptions for conference tournaments, playoffs and makeup games.
Big South members in the Carolinas include Winthrop, Gardner-Webb, High Point and UNC Asheville.