Southern Virginia to join ODAC

Southern Virginia run game
Southern Virginia will trade games with Kean and Montclair State for ones with Washington & Lee and Ferrum.
Southern Virginia athletics photo

For the second time in the past four months, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference is adding a member. Southern Virginia has accepted an invitation to join the league as an associate member in football and will begin ODAC competition on the gridiron in the fall of 2019.

Southern Virginia has been a member of the New Jersey Athletic Conference in football since 2014.

“The Old Dominion Athletic Conference member schools are pleased to welcome Southern Virginia University into our ranks as an associate member for football,” explained Tracy Fitzsimmons, president of Shenandoah University and chair of the ODAC President’s Council. “We look forward to counting their football players among our ODAC student-athletes.”

Already seen as one of the most competitively balanced conferences in Division III football, the ODAC gains further parity via Southern Virginia’s inclusion with nine well-balanced programs vying for the league’s championship hardware and ultimately its automatic qualifier to the national tournament. All nine members have the added advantage of only needing to schedule two nonconference games to complete a full 10-game slate. SVU also happens to be a geographic fit for both school and conference with its Buena Vista, Va., campus situated along the I-81 corridor that already features four of the ODAC’s football member schools.

Ferrum joined the Old Dominion Athletic Conference for all sports in June, and will start in the fall of 2018.

“We are pleased to welcome Southern Virginia University’s football program into the ODAC beginning with the 2019 season,” expressed ODAC Commissioner Brad Bankston. “The addition of SVU adds another quality football opponent to the conference membership and further helps solidify our conference football schedules into the future. Southern Virginia’s position as an affiliate in football is a unique opportunity for the two of us to work together and continue the excellent competition we experience each year in the conference. We welcome the Southern Virginia University family to the ODAC and look forward to watching our relationship grow in the future.”

“The Old Dominion Athletic Conference is a great fit for our football program,” said Southern Virginia president Reed N. Wilcox. “We have excellent partners in the CAC for 17 of our 20 NCAA sanctioned sports. Now our football team has excellent partners in the ODAC.”

Knights’ football spent nine seasons competing as a NAIA independent member before reclassifying to Division III and joining the NJAC. From 2003 – the program’s first season – through the 2011 campaign, SVU produced three NAIA All-Americans and 20 NAIA All-Independent honorees. In three years playing under the NJAC banner, the Knights have garnered 12 All-NJAC selections with two special awards when quarterback Ty Jones was named Co-Offensive Rookie of the Year and defensive back Neil Davis was named NJAC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2016.

“The opportunity for our football program to compete in the ODAC is a great step forward as we strive to improve the student-athlete experience at Southern Virginia," said Jason Lamb, Southern Virginia vice president and athletic director. "We look forward to sharing geographic proximity with our opponents and developing close, competitive rivalries in football as we open the fall 2019 season.”

Founded in 1967 and renewed in 1996, Southern Virginia is one of the fastest-growing private residential universities in the United States, hosting students from 49 states and 6 countries. Southern Virginia embraces the teachings and values of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with 92-percent of the University’s student body identifying as Latter-day Saints (Mormons).