By Jake Sulzer
Almost a year after making the step up to NCAA Div. II, the Saints remain without a conference to call their own.
Flagler applied for admission to the Div. II Sunshine State Conference last spring and has been waiting for an answer ever since. The conference currently has nine members and the only way for Flagler to join is for the presidents of those nine institutions to vote for an expansion.
“It’s been a little frustrating,” Athletic Director Dave Barnett said. “They told us they’d have a decision last spring, then deferred to the fall, then speculated they’d do something in January, and the latest we heard is a conference call in April. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”
The Athletic Department expected to hear news on the topic during their trip to Orlando this past January for the annual NCAA convention, but were told they would have to wait yet again.
“We’re hoping to hear this month,” Barnett said.
For the Saints, joining a conference needs to happen soon to ease the stress on coaches.
“First off it would help us with scheduling, because right now we’re kind of a lame duck so we have to play anybody who wants to play us. But a conference gives us a set schedule,” Barnett said.
A conference would also give Flagler a chance to qualify for post-season play.
Should the conference accept Flagler, scheduling changes would take place in 2008. If not, Flagler will have to start looking for another conference, most logically the Peach Belt Conference that consists mostly of Georgia schools.
Barnett has met with the PBC commissioner, but said that Flagler is still waiting to hear from the Sunshine State Conference before pursuing the other options.