Ferrum College has accepted an offer to join the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. The Panthers will become the newest member of one of the nation’s largest NCAA Division III conferences.
Ferrum has been a member of the USA South Athletic Conference since the fall of 1988. The Panthers will leave the USA South at the end of the 2017-18 academic year, their 30th overall and final year, and will begin competition in the ODAC in Fall 2018. Ferrum has competed as an ODAC associate member in men’s and women’s swimming the past two years.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Ferrum and our student-athletes,” said Interim President Dr. Jennifer L. Braaten. “We have aspired to be a part of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference for years and feel our commitment to academics and athletics make us a perfect fit for the league.”
Beginning in the fall of 2018, Ferrum will become the 15th full-time member in the ODAC. Ferrum sponsors 21 varsity sports, 15 of which compete in the USA South, and one club level program. The field hockey team has competed in the Southern Athletic Association, the men’s lacrosse team has competed in the Southeast Intercollegiate Lacrosse Championship, and the men’s wrestling team has competed in the Southeast Wrestling Conference. Ferrum’s women’s wrestling program is the lone varsity program with no league affiliation.
Ferrum has been highly competitive in a number of athletic programs, sending teams or individuals in four sports to NCAA postseason competition in recent years. The women’s basketball program participated in three straight NCAA Tournaments from 2012 through 2014, hosting first- and second-round games in 2014. The softball team earned NCAA playoff berths in 2012 and 2016. Ferrum sent a wrestler to the NCAA Tournament in 2014, two in 2016 and three in 2017. The Panther mat men won the NCAA Div. III Wrestling East Regional in 2017, had one All-American in each of the past two years and had a wrestler close out the year as national runner-up. Ferrum also sent a golfer to the NCAA Tournament in 2017. Ferrum’s baseball team shared USA South regular season crowns in 2014 and 2016.
Ferrum has been well-represented on the USA South Academic All-Conference team, posting its highest number last summer with 121 honorees. A number of student-athletes have earned Academic All-District honors in recent years, three of which have been named Academic All-America in 2012, 2015 and 2016.
“Membership in the ODAC has been at the forefront for years,” said Director of Athletics Abe Naff. “We are pleased to be offered this great opportunity and look forward to this partnership with the other 14 institutions.”
Founded in 1913 and related to the United Methodist Church, Ferrum is a four-year, private, co-educational, Liberal Arts College related to the United Methodist Church. The College offers nationally recognized bachelor’s degree programs ranging from business and environmental science to teacher education and criminal justice.