USC Upstate Officially in Big South

Fourth SC School in Conference

Seth Stokes
July 02, 2018 - 8:39 am

In November of 2017, the Big South Conference announced that USC Upstate would be joining its ranks. As of July 1st, the move is official.

From the Big South's Website:

“On behalf of all the Presidents and Chancellors of the Big South Conference, I am very pleased to welcome the University of South Carolina Upstate as the newest member of our conference,” stated Mary Grant, Big South President and UNC Asheville Chancellor.  “Its commitment to Division I excellence in all facets of its program, and its location in the Big South footprint make it a great fit.  We are looking forward to watching the Spartans compete and grow as a Big South member.”

The Spartans sponsor 17 varsity sports at the Division I level, all of which are sponsored by the Big South: men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf, and women’s volleyball.  Upstate will be immediately eligible for conference championships.

“I could not be more pleased and excited that the University of South Carolina Upstate has been extended an invitation to join the Big South Conference,” stated Chancellor Brendan B. Kelly.  “Our membership is pending the approval of the USC Board of Trustees, which meets on December 19.  This is a tremendous opportunity for the Upstate Spartans.  Our athletic teams will be more competitively matched with colleges in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, where more than 25,000 of our nearly 30,000 alumni live. Transitioning to the Big South Conference creates an entirely different experience for our 250 student-athletes in that all the teams we will compete against are located within 300 miles of each other. Just the reduction in travel time means 1,200 fewer classes will be missed by the student-athletes allowing them to thrive and succeed academically, athletically and socially.”

Since becoming a full-fledged member of Division I in 2011, Upstate has won six conference championships (four in softball and two in cross country).  The Spartan softball program has appeared in the last five NCAA Championships, while seven individuals have qualified for a combined 10 NCAA events in men’s outdoor track & field (5), women’s outdoor track & field (2), men’s golf (2) and men’s cross country (1).  In addition, USC Upstate has had 27 individual track & field conference champions, 12 student-athletes earn conference Player of the Year honors, eight Coach of the Year recipients, as well as the 2011-12 Hugh Durham Award winner.  Specifically, former men’s basketball player Ty Greene was the 2014-15 Lou Henson National Mid-Major Player of the Year.  Academically, USC Upstate has had four CoSIDA Academic All-America selections since 2011, while 166 student-athletes -- 66 percent -- achieved a 3.0 grade-point average in 2016-17.

“The Big South is thrilled to add USC Upstate as its newest member!” added Big South CommissionerKyle Kallander.  “From its commitment to the success of its student-athletes, to athletics excellence, to its geographic proximity in the heart of the Big South -- the Spartans are a wonderful fit.  We thank Chancellor Kelly and the USC Upstate leadership for their interest and confidence in the Big South.  This is a partnership that will make us all better.”

The University of South Carolina Upstate is a regional, comprehensive university that offers more than 40 bachelor’s degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business administration, nursing, and teacher education, and master’s degrees in education, informatics, and nursing. These degrees help students to transition easily to careers in the Upstate region. USC Upstate is committed to fulfilling regional and state workforce needs and thus the university is a major engine of social and economic development. Comprised of a diverse and dynamic community of approximately 6,000 students from 26 states and 17 countries, USC Upstate is a wonderful blend of traditional and nontraditional students who reflect the Upstate’s rich international character. USC Upstate offers a balance of strengths that, when added up, results in a learning experience that is hard to match. The academic programs are accredited and highly ranked, with amazing research and internship opportunities for students. USC Upstate has its main campus in Spartanburg, the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics and the UPSTATE Gallery on Main in downtown Spartanburg, a location in Greenville, and a growing number of programs online. The USC Upstate Spartans, which fields 17 varsity sports, compete on the NCAA Division I level as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Nearly 30,000 alumni have earned degrees from USC Upstate and approximately 85 percent choose to remain in the Upstate region to build their lives and careers, making a significant impact of the region’s economy and quality of life. Learn more

Location: Spartanburg, S.C.
Founded: 1967
Enrollment: 6,000
Colors: Green, White & Black
Nickname: Spartans
First Year NCAA Division I: 2011
Chancellor: Dr. Brendan B. Kelly
Director of Athletics: Julio Freire
Senior Woman Administrator: Sheryl Turner-Watts
Faculty Athletic Representative: Dr. Jim Griffis
Associate Athletics Communications Director: Wes Herring
Institution’s Website:
Athletic Department’s Website:
Twitter: @UpstateSpartans
Facebook: @UpstateAthletics


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