Thursday, October 16, 2003MACON, Ga. - The Atlantic Sun Conference formally voted to extend conference membership to East Tennessee State at its Presidents Council meeting today in Atlanta, Ga. ETSU, a current member of the Southern Conference, will begin A-Sun competition in the fall of the 2005-06 athletic season. "The Atlantic Sun is proud to announce the addition of East Tennessee State University," said A-Sun Commissioner Bill Bibb. "It is exciting to add an institution that is committed to maintaining its already outstanding athletic program. The leadership of President Dr. Paul Stanton and Athletic Director Dave Mullins is evident in the school's commitment to achieving the highest standards of both academic and athletic success. The facilities are very attractive and the Johnson City community support makes ETSU an ideal fit in our league." ETSU boasts an already successful athletic program at the NCAA Division I level and will be immediately eligible for all Atlantic Sun Championships and automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. "I'm extremely pleased to have ETSU voted into membership in the Atlantic Sun, which we consider a very prestigious conference," said Stanton. "I am also quite pleased that our future venues for athletic competition will be in cities which have major ETSU alumni populations, who for the first time may be able to come to many of our games." Located in Johnson City, Tenn., ETSU offers more than 100 degree programs in its six colleges. Students from over 65 countries comprise the 11,500 students that are currently enrolled. The Buccaneers play their home basketball games inside Memorial Center, a 12,000-seat domed arena that also houses indoor practice facilities for the athletic program's other 17 varsity sports. "We're very excited about the relationships we've already developed with the A-Sun Commissioner and his staff, including those member institutions we've met and had discussions with," added Mullins. "We feel that the Atlantic Sun will allow us to position our athletic department for success in the years to come. We appreciate the dialogue and enthusiasm that the A-Sun has shown for ETSU. They have emphasized for us the positive impact that we will have on the conference. This is an important day for the future of ETSU athletics." ETSU will begin competition in 2005-06 in the A-Sun, which at that time will consist of 11 members, including Belmont, Campbell, UCF, ETSU, Florida Atlantic, Gardner-Webb, Georgia State, Jacksonville, Lipscomb, Mercer, and Stetson.
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