After 17 years as a charter member of the TranSouth Athletic Conference, Freed-Hardeman University will join the American Midwest Conference beginning with the fall 2013 athletic seasons.
The TranSouth Conference, once among the elite conferences in the NAIA, suffered a rapid loss of membership in the last two years with the departures of Union (Tenn.) University and Trevecca Nazarene (Tenn.) University for NCAA Division II and Cumberland (Tenn.) University for the Mid-South Conference. FHU will rejoin former TranSouth members Lyon (Ark.) College and Mid-Continent (Ky.) University in the AMC.
“We spent a significant amount of time exploring our options and concluded that the American Midwest Conference was the best fit for our athletics department," FHU President Dr. Joe Wiley said. "The AMC and its member institutions have shown a strong commitment to the values and the success of the NAIA. We will always have fond memories of our time in the TranSouth and look forward to a new era in the American Midwest."
The American Midwest Conference began as the Show-Me Conference in 1986 and became the AMC in 1994 with the addition of a school outside of Missouri. Freed-Hardeman will be the first Tennessee university to join the membership.
“On behalf of our presidents, athletic directors, students and fans, I am pleased to officially welcome Freed-Hardeman into the AMC," Conference Commissioner Lowell Pitzer said. "Freed-Hardeman is an outstanding academic institution with a strong athletic program. We look forward to having the Lions compete in our conference beginning in 2013-2014."
With the addition of Freed-Hardeman, the AMC will have 12 members. The strength in numbers of the conference and the commitment by those schools to the NAIA were among the draws for FHU Athletic Director Mike McCutchen.
“As we considered the options that we had, we were impressed with the commitment that the AMC schools have to the NAIA and to their conference," he said. "We were looking for stability and a conference with a strong history. We feel that the AMC is a good fit for us and that we are a good fit for the AMC.”
ABOUT THE AMERICAN MIDWEST
Conference Map: http://www.amcsportsonline.com/map.php (FHU and MCU not included)
It's a different day here at FHU. Our little possee of fans will miss going to the games in our surrounding area, being the on-road cheerleaders, checking out the best restaurants, and even doing some occasional "coaching" from the bleachers. (HA!) We will wish our teams well as they travel.