The Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) has formally accepted Dalton State College as a member for the 2014-15 academic year.
"I am very excited to welcome Dalton State into the Southern States Athletic Conference," said Mike Hall, SSAC Commissioner. "They have a very committed administration and a strong core of coaches that will be a tremendous addition to our conference.
We look forward to seeing the Roadrunner program continue its growth as they begin competing in the SSAC."
Dalton State is a four-year baccalaureate degree granting institution located in Dalton, Ga. Founded as a junior college in 1963, Dalton State began offering bachelor's degree programs in 1998 and has since grown to an enrollment of over 5,000 students.
The Roadrunners were approved as a provisional member of the SSAC on Dec. 9, 2013, after reinstating intercollegiate athletics and joining the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as an active member in August 2013.
As a second-year member of the NAIA, Dalton State will be immediately eligible for SSAC and NAIA postseason play, having spent its one-year evaluation period as a member of the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.).
During the 2014-15 season, the Roadrunners will compete in eight of 15 SSAC sports: men's and women's cross country, women's volleyball, men's basketball, men's and women's tennis and men's and women's golf. Dalton State also fields a competitive cheerleading squad—a current NAIA invitational sport—and plans to add men's and women's soccer for the 2015-16 season.
Dalton State Director of Athletics Derek Waugh noted the value of joining the SSAC, saying, "We are honored to become a member of the Southern States Athletic Conference. Not only is the geographic footprint ideal for rivalries, but it is also an elite conference, as everyone in the league strives to win conference and national championships."
Dr. John O. Schwenn, president of Dalton State, was equally excited about the Roadrunners' conference affiliation. "Admission of Dalton State into the Southern States Athletic Conference will be a benefit to both us and them," Schwenn said. "We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship and are proud to join the other outstanding academic institutions represented in the SSAC."
The conference also welcomed Middle Georgia State College as a member for the 2014-2015 academic year, but as a first year member of the NAIA Middle Georgia State will be ineligible for SSAC and NAIA post-season play during the coming season.
Middle Georgia State was created in January, 2013 through the consolidation of two existing colleges, Macon State College and Middle Georgia College. The new school has a combined undergraduate enrollment of 8,000 students. The Knights were approved for NAIA membership on April 14, 2014. They were extended an invitation to join the Southern States Athletic Conference on June 3, 2014.
Middle Georgia will compete in eight of the 15 SSAC sports - men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's tennis, baseball, and softball