by Jay Stancil, Appalachian Athletic Conference Information Director
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) continues its growth with the addition of a new full-time member in Allen University effective for the 2016-17 season.
Located in Columbia, S.C., Allen becomes the 13th full member of the AAC. Already a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), Allen has been competing as an independent in the Association of Independent Institutions (AII).
“The AAC is very pleased to welcome Allen University to the Conference as a full member effective 2016-2017,” said AAC Commissioner John Sullivan. “Allen has competed as a member of the Association of Independent Institutions for several years and has been rebuilding their athletic program. They currently compete against several of our member institutions, and we recognize their commitment to character-driven collegiate athletics. With their campus only a few minutes from current AAC member Columbia College, they provide a convenient travel partner.”
Allen, whose nickname is the Yellow Jackets, currently sponsor eight intercollegiate programs. In the AAC, Allen will compete in men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s track & field, and women’s volleyball. Allen also sponsors men’s wrestling.
“On behalf of Allen University, we are pleased and excited about joining the great Appalachian Athletic Conference,” said Allen Athletic Director Chad Washington. “We would like to thank Commissioner John Sullivan and his staff for extending the opportunity to join the AAC. We look forward to being competitive and competing for championships next season in the Appalachian Athletic Conference.”
Founded in 1870, Allen is a private, Christian, liberal arts, Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU). The university is named after Richard Allen, the founder of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Recognized as the first university in South Carolina founded by African Americans for the education of African Americans, Allen is also the first university named after an African American and created out of the AME Church’s desire to educate newly freed slaves to ensure a well-trained clergy.
Initially, Allen focused on training ministers and teachers but, over the years, has enlarged its scope to produce graduates in other academic areas.
Currently, the Conference has full members in six southeastern states. The other full members included: Bluefield College (Va.), Bryan College (Tenn.), Columbia College (S.C.), Milligan College (Tenn.), Montreat College (N.C.), Point University (Ga.), Reinhardt University (Ga.), SCAD Atlanta (Ga.), St. Andrews University (N.C.), Tennessee Wesleyan College, Truett-McConnell College (Ga.) and Union College (Ky.). Asbury University (Ky.) and The University of the Comberlands (ky.) are affiliate members in men’s and women’s lacrosse.
For more on Allen, visit its school website at www.allenuniversity.edu.
For more on Yellow Jacket athletics, visit its athletic website at www.auyellowjackets.com.