The USA South Athletic Conference announced Monday that it accepted Belhaven University's bid for full membership in the league.

The Blazers, who are currently an NCAA Division III institution competing in the American Southwest Conference, will begin their USA South membership in the 2022-23 academic year.

"The USA South is honored to be a consortium of excellent colleges and universities that pride themselves on putting the academic experience at the core of the student-athlete experience," said Meredith College president and USA South Presidents Council chairperson Dr. Jo Allen in a conference release. "We welcome Belhaven University as another example of how our Conference focuses on character and development in every realm of sport."

The Blazers currently offer eight men's sports (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, and track & field) and seven women's sports (basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball).

Belhaven enters the conference as Averett leaves for the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, keeping the USA South's membership total at 19 teams.

"We are extremely excited to join the USA South," Belhaven vice president and director of athletics Scott Little said. "The conference is a natural home for us given our geographic location and our primary Southeastern recruiting footprint, both for student-athletes and students in general. In addition to Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, an increasing number of our student-athletes originate from Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee.

"Our student-athletes and their families will enjoy these new opportunities for competition and growth."

This account is used by The Daily Times freelance sports writers and for staff reports.

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