Arkansas Schools to Leave GSC After 2010-11

The Gulf South Conference has reached an agreement with its six member institutions in Arkansas that will allow them to leave the GSC after the 2010-11 academic year.

Arkansas Tech University, the University of Arkansas at Monticello, Harding University, Henderson State University, Ouachita Baptist University and Southern Arkansas University will leave the conference and join three peer institutions in Oklahoma in the creation of a new NCAA Division II conference.

Under the terms of the agreement with the GSC, the six Arkansas schools must:

*Play at least three football games against the remaining GSC members in fall 2011;

*Participate in all existing GSC equipment adoption agreements through 2011-12;

*Pay partial conference membership dues for 2011-12.

The agreement moves the six Arkansas schools, East Central University, Southeastern Oklahoma State and Southwestern Oklahoma State closer to creating a new conference in time for the 2011-12 academic year.

ECU, SEOSU and SWOSU finalized their exit from the Lone Star Conference after 2010-11 during a league meeting on Aug. 25.

The next step in the process is for the nine members of the new conference to submit a conference strategic plan, a conference constitution and conference by-laws to the NCAA by Dec. 1, 2010.

No decisions have been made regarding the name of the new conference or the location of the conference office.

The pursuit of creating the new conference will not affect athletic schedules for the 2010-11 academic year.

“The intent of the conference is to group together similar institutions in terms of budgets and goals,” said the presidents, chancellors and directors of athletics from the nine institutions in a joint statement on July 13 announcing the new conference. “Furthermore, the conference is intended to be made up of universities that field an intercollegiate football program. Our most important goals in this new endeavor are to limit time away from class and limit our travel costs.”