In 1972, Mississippi College joined NCAA Division II and became a member of the Gulf South Conference. In the GSC, MC won eight championships in football, track and field, and basketball.
After the 1995-1996 season, Mississippi College’s athletic administration decided that it was in the best interest of the program to move to NCAA Division III. As first year members of the American Southwest Conference, the Choctaws demonstrated a veteran athletic program, winning the 1997 conference championships in football and men and women’s cross country.
Since Mississippi College’s move to the conference, the Choctaws have earned thirty ASC East championships, and thirty ASC conference titles. Needless to say, Mississippi College historically is very successful in both Division II and Division III athletics.
On Sept. 27, 2012, Mississippi College agreed to pursue readmission into NCAA Division II athletics and the Gulf South Conference. There are multiple benefits and reasons for MC to apply for Division II athletics.
If accepted into the GSC, Mississippi College athletic teams would no longer have to routinely travel to Texas to compete. This would drastically reduce travel expenses, saving the school and the athletic department money.
Also, Mississippi College would be able to offer athletic scholarships to athletes. This, in turn, would increase the talent of the players because it is much easier to recruit top athletes by offering them money for school.
“I would like to see players come in with greater ability so we can have more success on the field,” said Drew Nix, sophomore middle linebacker for MC.
Lastly, if MC participates in the Gulf South Conference, they would garner more media attention. The Gulf South Conference televises its game of the week on Comcast Sports Southeast network in the fall, which reaches millions of southern homes.
Over the summer, the NCAA denied MC’s admission into Division II athletics.
“MC leaders plan to appeal the decision by NCAA to deny the university’s request to become Division II member in athletics & rejoin the GSC,” MC athletics tweeted on July 12th.
Thus, a logical question to ask is, what should MC students expect to see as the next step for the appeal process? The athletic department turned in the appeal on Friday, August 23.
Within the next two to three weeks, David Nichols, the Sports Information Director at Mississippi College, expects to find out the ruling on the app
Gulf South Conference is appealing in conjunction with MC’s appeal, which should encourage Choctaw fans. When MC decided to apply to Division II, the GSC extended an invitation to Mississippi College to join their conference.
Now, despite an original denial, MC is fighting to be admitted into Division II, and the GSC is still fighting on Mississippi College’s behalf.
The main reason for being denied entrance into Division II was stated as the school was “not committed to the DII process”. MC athletic faculty interpreted this as a lack of staff.
The administration addressed this issue in the appeal by outlining specific staff that would be added if MC was accepted into Division II. Some of these positions would include another staff member in the sports information office and other employees in administrative roles.
As for now, MC will continue to compete in the ASC. If MC is accepted into the NCAA Division II, it will compete in the National Christian College Athletic Association during the interim year(s), still allowing student athletes post season opportunities.
“If the appeal is accepted, you work your tail off…” said David Nichols. Students and faculty alike should look forward to the response to MC’s appeal in the coming weeks and the possibility of NCAA Division II athletics coming to Mississippi College.
– Andrew Smedley, Contributing Writer