As Southern Conference athletic directors meet today and Wednesday in Charlotte, commissioner John Iamarino wants them to get serious about expansion.
“It’s clearly time,” said Iamarino, whose league is losing College of Charleston to the Colonial Athletic Assocation starting in 2013-14. “While the athletic directors have discussed membership issues before, now is the time we have to get down to what we want the league to look like in the near future.”
The annual athletic directors’ meeting is the first time league officials have met since College of Charleston announced its move last November.
In addition to College of Charleston’s departure, the SoCon also faces the potential loss of Georgia Southern and Appalachian State to an FBS league. That could leave the SoCon with as few as nine members in men’s basketball and seven in football.
Iamarino did not mention any specific target schools. But the names of Mercer, UNC Wilmington and Richmond were floated recently by an official at one SoCon school, The Post and Courier has confirmed.
Mercer, located in Macon, Ga., is a member of the Atlantic Sun, and its new football team will begin competing this year. UNCW, which does not play football, is in the Colonial Athletic Association, and Richmond is a member of the Atlantic 10.
VMI and East Tennessee State, which is debating whether to bring back its football program, also have been mentioned as possible SoCon candidates.