Point University set to join SSAC in 2023

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, August 10, 2022

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Point University announced Tuesday that it will be joining the Southern States Athletic Conference starting in 2023.

Every sport except football and lacrosse will make the transition from the Appalachian Athletic Conference to the SSAC.

Point Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Jaunelle White explained how the transition came to be.

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“We were already an affiliate of the SSAC through our cheerleading program,” White said. “They have been for a couple years.”

The main reason Point decided to make the switch was because of travel cost.

“The previous athletic director was having conversations with the commissioner of the SSAC about the possibility of moving,” White said. “I reached out to the commissioner and asked why we should be doing this. I talked to all the head coaches and some of the athletic directors in the SSAC. Through lots of prayer, I felt like it was the right time. It’s going to limit our travel and missed class time.”

The SSAC consists of schools from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana. Thomas University in Georgia and the University of Tennessee Southern will also join the conference in 2023.

Football won’t be joining and will remain in the AAC.

“Football just left the Mid-South Conference,” White said. “This is the first year of the AAC having its own football conference. We wanted to honor our commitment in remaining with the AAC. Southern States doesn’t sponsor football, but they have a partnership with the Sun Conference.”

White also mentioned there are no plans to move football or lacrosse to the Sun Conference in the near future.

“We haven’t had that conversation,” White said. “There’s a possibility down the road if several SSAC schools sponsor lacrosse. As it stands right now, it just makes more sense for those programs to stay where they are right now.”

Some of the pros of Point moving to the SSAC will be the reduction in travel costs.

“They’ll spend less time traveling,” White said. “Instead of anywhere close to an 11 hour ride to one of the schools, the farthest we will travel is six and a half hours at most. There are budget impacts as well. We save on travel by not having to travel so far.”

Point will be able to take the money they save on travel and put it toward things like recruiting.

“It will allow us to sit down and hone in on some areas that we want to put more money into,” White said. “Recruiting will definitely be one of those along with scholarships.”

One of the challenges with moving to the SSAC is the competition will be a lot more fierce in their new conference.

“It’s very strong in all of their sports,” White said. “Our men’s soccer team just won their conference championship, and they’ll be joining a conference that has some pretty good soccer programs. All of their sports are considered very strong in the NAIA. We’ll have a bit of a climb and a challenge from the standpoint, but we’re ready for it. Our coaches and student athletes are looking forward to it.”

Point joined the AAC in 2011, and now they’ll begin a new era for most sports in the SSAC.