ATLANTA -- The University of Chicago has been accepted as an affiliate football member of the recently-formed Southern Athletic Association and will begin play in the SAA in the fall of 2015.
Officially formed in June 2011, the SAA includes Birmingham-Southern (Ala.) College, Centre (Ky.) College, Hendrix (Ark.) College, Millsaps (Miss.) College, Oglethorpe (Ga.) University, Berry (Ga.) College, Rhodes (Tenn.) College, and Sewanee: The University of the South (Tenn.).
Washington University in St. Louis will also join the SAA as an affiliate football member in 2015.
Chicago will continue as a full member of the University Athletic Association, vying for league championships in basketball, cross country, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and wrestling. Chicago is a charter member of the UAA, which was formed in 1987.
Two other UAA institutions, Carnegie Mellon University and Case Western Reserve University, have been accepted as affiliate football members of the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC), set to begin play in 2014.
As a result of the cooperative efforts of the UAA, SAA, and PAC, the four UAA schools -- Chicago, Case, Carnegie Mellon, and Washington-St. Louis -- will continue to play each other in football once they begin their affiliate memberships.
Since 2008, the four UAA schools have played a coordinated football schedule with members of the North Coast Athletic Conference in which members of both conferences fill most of the nonconference dates in each other's respective schedules. That unique agreement will end after the 2012 season when the NCAC -- recently expanded to ten members -- will move to a full, round robin schedule.
"As the expiration of our scheduling agreement with the NCAC was fast approaching, we had to find a similar agreement in order to continue playing a viable football schedule," said Director of Athletics Tom Weingartner.
"Becoming an affiliate football member of the Southern Athletic Association has provided us with that opportunity. We are delighted that our football program will be able to continue playing a full schedule against quality Division III opponents within reasonable distances."
The SAA becomes the fourth conference in which Chicago will compete in football. The Maroons previously played in the Big Ten Conference (1896-1939) and the Midwest Conference (1976-86) and have participated in the UAA since the league began sponsoring football in 1990.