Averett University to Join ODAC in 2022-23

Posted on March 8th, 2021 by Cassie Jones

Averett University has announced that its Department of Athletics has been offered and has accepted membership to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), beginning with the 2022-23 academic year.

Averett, with 17 NCAA sports and three varsity club sports, will become the 15th full-time member of the ODAC on July 1, 2022.

“Becoming a member of the esteemed ODAC is both exciting and an honor,” said Averett University President Dr. Tiffany M. Franks. “We are confident that our academic, athletic and geographic aspirations will contribute value to the ODAC and will benefit Averett alumni as well as current and future students,” she added. “This move will provide outstanding opportunities for our students and for the citizens of our region. With our growing enrollment, our expanded athletics personnel and our value-added facilities, we are poised and eager for this next big step in athletics.”

Established in 1975, the ODAC’s full-time membership consists of institutions in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one in North Carolina, providing Averett a tighter regional conference footprint. ODAC institutions have consistently competed at a high level on the national stage. In addition, the ODAC and the City of Salem, Va., have hosted a combined 73 NCAA Division III championships in nine sports since 1993.

Averett has a rich history of more than 40 years of competing in NCAA Division III athletics. The Cougars have won 54 conference championships, made 24 NCAA Tournament appearances and have won one team and one individual NCAA national championship. Averett has produced more than 60 All-America selections and nearly 50 conference players of the year, along with winning numerous other national, regional, state and conference accolades.

Averett student-athletes have been equally successful in the classroom and in the community. Averett has produced 14 Academic All-America selections since 2011, and the department has received national recognition multiple times for its work with Special Olympics. Averett’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has won four “Pennies for a Purpose” contests and five consecutive “Cans Across the Conference” competitions among USA South institutions, with proceeds benefitting local organizations or special causes.

“Our move to the ODAC will write a new, exciting chapter in Averett’s proud athletics history — and our 3-2-1 vision remains the same,” said Meg Stevens, Averett Vice President, Director of Athletics and Operations. “We expect our team members to have an average grade point average of 3.0 or higher, compete for a top-two finish in conference standings and all work together as one team within Averett athletics.”

Although the change in conference affiliation ushers in a new era for the Cougars, Averett has long been committed to progress and growth within the institution and in athletics. The University’s commitment to a positive student-athlete experience is rooted throughout the E. Stuart James Grant North Campus. Through campaign projects and generous donations, Averett has completed multiple facilities upgrades, including the construction of Frank R. Campbell Stadium, which features the Daly Field and J.T. Emerson Pressbox, as well as quiet study areas for students with comfortable furnishings and technology access in the Carrington Academic Center.

Averett continues to provide new opportunities for students through sports. Since 2016, Averett has added men’s lacrosse and men’s wrestling, brought back women’s lacrosse, added two club sports — esports and competitive dance — and most recently announced the addition of a women’s golf program that will begin competition in fall 2021.

Averett will depart the USA South Athletic Conference following the 2021-22 academic year. Since 1978, the Cougars have been full-time members of the USA South (originally the Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) — the only conference Averett has been affiliated with since the school began NCAA intercollegiate athletics in the 1970s.

“Averett University has been privileged to compete in the USA South, and we will always treasure the years of spirited competition,” said Franks. “We look forward to continuing our competitive relationships during our remaining time in the USA South and beyond as nonconference opponents, and we also look forward to spirited regional rivalries with our new conference opponents within the ODAC.”

The ODAC consists of Bridgewater College, Eastern Mennonite University, Ferrum College, Guilford College, Hampden-Sydney College, Hollins University, the University of Lynchburg, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College, Virginia Wesleyan University, and Washington and Lee University. Current ODAC member Emory & Henry College will depart the ODAC after the 2021-22 academic year as it transitions to NCAA Division II. Greensboro College is an affiliate member of the ODAC in swimming, as is Southern Virginia University in football through 2020-21.