SoCon to add ETSU, Mercer and VMI

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The Southern Conference announced on Thursday afternoon that have extended invitations to East Tennessee State, Mercer and VMI to join the conference on July 1st, 2014.

ETSU and Mercer have both accepted the invitations, and VMI is expected to formally accept it on Friday.

“The addition of these three institutions will solidify the Southern Conference and ensure our position as a vibrant league with a bright future,” SoCon commissioner John Iamarino said in a statement. “We are delighted to invite three quality institutions, two of which are returning to a home they previously enjoyed for many years.

“Our membership is excited about rekindling old rivalries and establishing new ones. Most importantly, we’ve been able to grow while not extending our geographic footprint to an extreme extent.”

ETSU and Mercer will be leaving the Atlantic Sun, which will be another brutal blow to a league that is still reeling from the departure of Belmont a year ago. VMI is currently a member of the Big South conference.

The SoCon is looking to replace the College of Charleston and Davidson. Charleston will be joining the CAA this fall, while Davidson is headed to the Atlantic 10 effective July 1st, 2014, the day that the three new programs will join the league.

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