NEW ORLEANS – Following a unanimous vote by the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Council of Presidents, the league has extended invitations of membership to Oakwood University, Wiley College, and Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO), the league announced Thursday.
Wiley joins the GCAC after participating as a member of the Red River Athletic Conference, while Oakwood and SUNO are currently having their applications for NAIA membership reviewed and are pending final approval by the national office. Once approved by the NAIA, the three new members will officially join the GCAC on July 1, 2022, and will begin play in the league in August with the start of the new academic year and athletic season.
“This is an exciting time for the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. SUNO’s return and the addition of Wiley and Oakwood are in line with the conference’s strategic membership growth initiative,” GCAC Interim Commissioner Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes said. “I look forward to a more robust and competitive conference.”
The addition of Oakwood sees the GCAC footprint return to the state of Alabama, while Wiley College becomes the first institution from the state of Texas to join the league. SUNO returns to the conference after a brief hiatus that sees the institution restart its athletic program in time for the 2022-23 academic year.
With the addition of the Ambassadors, Wildcats and Knights, the league will have eight participating members for 2022-23, as Edward Waters will depart the conference this summer.
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“I echo the Interim Commissioner’s elation that Oakwood University, Wiley College, and Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) are joining the fold of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. The addition of the Ambassadors, Wildcats and Knights will further position our Conference for greater success and competitiveness today and into the future,” said Dr. Roderick L. Smothers, Sr., Chairman, GCAC Council of Presidents.
About Oakwood University
Oakwood University, in Huntsville, Ala., was founded by the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) in 1896 to educate the recently-freed African-Americans of the South. Drawing upon its Christian faith and the emancipation of slaves by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, it believed that “all people are created equal” and deserved the opportunity to learn a trade.
About Wiley College
Wiley College, founded in 1873 in Marshall, Texas, is a historically black, primarily liberal arts, residential, co-educational, baccalaureate degree-granting institution affiliated with The United Methodist Church. Committed to the principle of educational access, the College serves traditional and non-traditional students from diverse backgrounds who have expressed a desire and potential for learning in a Christian environment. The College, in fulfilling its basic purpose of providing a liberal arts education with a global focus, endeavors to provide an intellectually stimulating environment, promoting student competencies in communication as well as critical and analytical thinking.
About Southern University at New Orleans
Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) was founded as a branch unit of Southern University and Agricultural & Mechanical College in Baton Rouge (SUBR) on September 4, 1956. On September 21, 1959, SUNO opened its doors on a 17-acre site located in historic Pontchartrain Park, a subdivision of primarily African American single-family residents in eastern New Orleans. Established as an open community of learners, classes began with 158 freshmen, one building and a motivated faculty of 15. The University offered 10 courses in four academic disciplines: Humanities, Science, Social Science and Commerce. Today, SUNO serves as a beacon for those looking for educational advancement in an environment that provides the personal attention students need for success. Our mission is to be one of America’s premier institutions of higher learning and to graduate students ready to contribute to the city and nation.