FLORENCE -- University of North Alabama President Dr. William Cale says that despite rumors that the six Arkansas schools that are members of the Gulf South Conference are considering leaving the league, the UNA Athletic program will remain strong and will continue to position itself for future success.
"News that six GSC members could leave the Conference in as little as one year came as a surprise since there had been no indications of this during regular meetings with those universities," Cale said. "We are examining the potential consequences of this now, both for UNA and the GSC."
Cale's comments were in response to information that Arkansas-Monticello, Arkansas Tech, Harding, Henderson State, Ouachita Baptist and Southern Arkansas were considering leaving the GSC by 2011.
"This is a very fluid situation and it is not possible to say with any certainty how this will conclude," Cale added. "One thing I can say with absolute certainty is that we will not allow the actions of others to adversely impact the future of athletics programs at the University of North Alabama."
"As President I intend to participate with my presidential colleagues in the GSC in discussions about the future of the Conference. It is my hope that the Conference remains intact, but the reality may be otherwise," Cale said.
North Alabama is a charter member of the Gulf South Conference, a 14-member NCAA Division II league with schools in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas. The Lions have competed in the GSC for 40 years.
Cale is scheduled to attend an NCAA Division II CEO's Summit this weekend and said there will be discussions there by the president's of the GSC member institutions looking at options to solidify the league and maintain the current membership.
The GSC president's and athletic director's summer meetings are scheduled for next week (June 23-25) in Birmingham. UNA Director of Athletics Mark Linder said "there will be no formal action taken by the GSC or those institutions who are rumored to be leaving the GSC before then. Therefore, it would be premature to discuss our options prior to the conference meeting."
" I am quite confident, however, that UNA athletics is positioned very well to handle any decisions regarding the future of the GSC," Linder said.