FLORENCE, SC – Francis Marion University and UNC Pembroke have just become the 12th and 13th members of the NCAA Division II conference the Conference Carolinas.  

Both Francis Marion and UNC Pembroke have accepted their invitations to join the league and they will officially begin competition in Conference Carolinas in the 2021-22 academic year. The Conference Carolinas Presidents voted unanimously in favor of the change.

It was important to both Francis Marion and UNC Pembroke that they join Conference Carolinas at the same time, according to Francis Marion President Dr. Fred Carter and UNC Pembroke Chancellor Dr. Robin Cummings.

“Preserving a natural rivalry that has spanned nearly half of a century is extremely important for both universities,” Carter and Cummings released in a joint statement. “The magnitude of the rivalry between the Braves and Patriots has intensified greatly since the first meeting between our athletic teams in December 1971, and that has been overshadowed only by the sportsmanship that has been shown by the student-athletes, coaches and fans from both sides.

This will be UNC Pembroke’s second time as a member of Conference Carolinas (1976-92). UNC Pembroke left Conference Carolinas at the time to join NCAA Division II prior to Conference Carolinas’ transition into the NCAA in the 1995-96 academic year. Francis Marion will be joining Conference Carolinas for the first time.  

“This is a historic day for Conference Carolinas,” Commissioner Chris Colvin said.

“Our goal each and every day is to work to make our league better. We have accomplished that and so much more with the addition of Francis Marion and UNC Pembroke. These two top-notch institutions align tremendously with our conference beliefs. We are thrilled to have them join to help us continue to lead the way in the classroom, in the community and at the highest levels of competition as we strive to be Champions in Body, Mind and Soul.”

“We are extremely proud and excited to now continue that rivalry as a part of Conference Carolinas. The league’s commitment to body, mind and soul aligns completely with the missions of our institutions, and we are excited to help strengthen those directives beginning in 2021-22.”

The addition of Francis Marion and UNC Pembroke is also a tremendous geographic fit for Conference Carolinas in that it will give the league five member institutions in Eastern North Carolina and South Carolina, which will create a greater geographic balance in the conference and help with scheduling.

Conference Carolinas has a rich tradition in roots that dates back to its inception on Dec. 6, 1930. The NCAA Division II athletics conference presently has member schools located in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Conference Carolinas member institutions in the 2020-21 academic year are Barton, Belmont Abbey, Chowan, Converse, Emmanuel, Erskine, King, Lees-McRae, Mount Olive, North Greenville and Southern Wesleyan.

Please visit conferencecarolinas.com to learn more about Conference Carolinas.