• Press Release

Young Harris joins Conference Carolinas in 2023-24


The Conference Carolinas Board of Directors have voted unanimously in favor of adding Young Harris College as the 14th member of the NCAA Division II conference.


"This is truly another historic day for Conference Carolinas," Commissioner Chris Colvin said. "We have accomplished our goal of continuing to make Conference Carolinas stronger with the addition of Young Harris. They align tremendously with our conference beliefs and values, while also being a first-class institution with a commitment to a strong athletics program. 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 continue to strive daily to work with our member institutions to help develop champions in body, mind and soul."


Young Harris has accepted its invitation and will officially begin competition in Conference Carolinas in the 2023-24 academic year.


"All the Conference Carolinas presidents are delighted that Young Harris will be joining us and that soon their teams will be competing," Conference Carolinas Board of Directors President/King (Tenn.) University President Alexander Whitaker said. "Young Harris very much exemplifies the core qualities we embrace as a conference that emphasize academic and athletic excellence as well as development of students' spiritual and ethical values and practices."


Young Harris has an enrollment of 1,205 and was founded in 1886 in Young Harris, Georgia. The Mountain Lions sponsor 15 varsity sports, which includes seven men's sports and eight women's sports. They also sponsor the coed sport of spirit cheerleading.


"Young Harris College is thrilled to become a part of Conference Carolinas," Young Harris President Drew Van Horn, Ph.D. said. "The conference has a strong and rich tradition of supporting the student-athlete concept and operates with great integrity. We look forward to getting to know our new conference friends and contributing to the conference's continued success."


Young Harris knows that the conference partnership will be a tremendous alignment in all areas for their athletics department.


"This is a very exciting time for our athletics department," Young Harris Director of Athletics Jennifer Rushton said. "Conference Carolinas embodies the values that are the most important to us at YHC. Our shared belief in developing the whole student-athlete allows this move to be a great fit for us. We look forward to developing new rivalries in Conference Carolinas while our student-athletes continue to pursue their academic, athletic and personal aspirations."


With the addition of Young Harris, Conference Carolinas will move to a three-division model in the sports of men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, softball and women's volleyball.


"Taking advantage of the geographic alignment of our membership and regionalizing scheduling has been a goal of the Conference Carolinas Board of Directors for some time," added Colvin. "This three-division concept will promote regional rivalries and provide additional opportunities for institutions to strive for regular-season division championships. The addition of Young Harris will allow us to begin implementing this concept in several sports immediately."


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. Member institutions for the 2022-23 academic year are Barton College, Belmont Abbey College, Chowan University, Converse University, Emmanuel (Ga.) College, Erskine College, Francis Marion University, King, Lees-McRae College, University of Mount Olive, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, North Greenville University and Southern Wesleyan University.


Conference Carolinas believes in the development and formation of the whole person in body, mind and soul. Our students are nationally recognized for their extraordinary success in the classroom, in the community and at the highest levels of NCAA competition.


Conference Carolinas is built upon the idea of offering challenging NCAA competition in an environment that fosters both the academic and athletic achievements of its student-athletes. Conference members offer exemplary educations and scholarships for performance in the classroom and on the field. Conference Carolinas and its members are committed to challenging adversity and building tomorrow's leaders.


Conference Carolinas is a sole sponsor of 23 sports and collaborates with two other conferences to offer opportunities in four additional sports for a total of 27. The conference will be the sole sponsor of 24 sports (28 total including collaborations with other conferences) beginning in 2023-24.


The ability to provide its membership sports sponsorship in 28 sports is the most in all of NCAA Division II. In addition, Conference Carolinas also provides championship opportunities for its member institutions in esports and spirit

(cheerleading and dance).


This is all in addition to holding Developmental Championships for its member institutions. A Developmental Championship will be held in men's and women's soccer, men's and women's basketball and baseball in the 2022-23 academic year. Conference Carolinas is believed to be the first NCAA conference to offer sub-varsity championships to its members.


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


Current Conference Carolinas Membership

*Atlantic Christian/Barton: 1930-31--present

Belmont Abbey: 1989-90--present

Chowan: 2019-20--present

Converse: 2008-09--present

Emmanuel: 2018-19--present

Erskine: 1995-96--present

Francis Marion: 2021-22--present

King: 2011-12--present

Lees-McRae: 1993-94--present

Mount Olive: 1988-89--present

UNC Pembroke: 1976-92; 2021-22--present

North Greenville: 2011-12--present

Southern Wesleyan: 2016-17--present

Young Harris: 2023-24

*Charter Member

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