Big South Conference Spring Meetings Recap: New Executive Officers Elected, New League Initiatives Approved

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Gardner-Webb’s Frank Bonner Named Vice President

CHARLOTTE, N.C. ( – The annual Big South Conference Council of Chief Executive Officers meeting was held on Thursday, June 2 at the Westin Hotel Resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C., in conjunction with the League’s annual Spring Meetings and Hall of Fame Banquet. Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle has been elected President of the Conference, the first woman to hold the office.

In addition, Gardner-Webb University President Dr. Frank Bonner has been elected Vice President, and UNC Asheville Chancellor Dr. Anne Ponder has been re-elected Secretary of the League.

Ms. Kyle is beginning her fifth year as a member of the Big South’s Executive Committee, having served as Vice President for the past two years and as Secretary from 2007-09. Her term as President will extend through the 2012-13 academic year. Ms. Kyle is the second Radford President to hold the office of Big South President. The late Dr. Donald N. Dedmon, one of the founders of the Big South Conference, served as the second president of the League from 1986-92.

“I am deeply honored to have been elected by my colleagues in the Big South Conference,” Ms. Kyle stated. “Our conference, now 28 years old, continues to foster academic and personal growth among Division I student-athletes. I am proud to be part of its mission and eager for this opportunity to serve.”

Dr. Bonner enters his first year serving on the Executive Committee. Dr. Ponder continues her affiliation with an elected office, as she was first elected to the Big South’s Executive Committee in 2009.

The recent meeting of the Big South Conference Board of Administrators and Council of Chief Executive Officers featured in-depth discussions on the Conference’s strategic planning, championship formats, academic criteria and digital initiatives, as well as the development of a legislative proposal for the 2011-12 NCAA legislative cycle that will address several recruiting issues and men’s basketball preseason practice. The Council also supported the submission of an override to NCAA legislative proposal 2010-59c concerning eligibility on behalf of the football member institutions.

In addition, the Council approved that the Conference membership adopt recommended standards in regards to its baseball strategic initiatives, including the awarding of 10 athletic scholarships (athletics aid only) and upgrading facility standards within five years, and exploring a neutral site for the baseball championship for a three-year period. The Council also approved the addition of women’s lacrosse beginning in 2012-13 as the Conference’s 19th championship sport, which was formally announced yesterday.

In other business, the Big South Conference will distribute more than $600,000 in excess revenues from the 2010-11 season back to its member institutions.

Meanwhile, the following action items were approved by the Council of Chief Executive Officers, and are effective beginning with the 2011-12 academic year:

  • The approval of increasing the Conference’s annual video streaming offerings so that all member institutions broadcast at least three men’s and women’s soccer matches, and at least six volleyball, baseball and softball games each season on the Big South Network.
  •  The approval of changing the Volleyball Championship format to a Thursday-Friday-Sunday event.
  • The approval of changing the Women’s Soccer Championship format in 2012 to home sites of the top four seeds, with the semifinals and finals contested at a single site (by rotation).
  • The creation of All-Decade Teams in all Conference sponsored sports.