8 small Southern colleges form athletic conference

By The Associated Press

ATLANTA — Eight small private colleges across the South are forming a new athletic conference.

The new conference will include private colleges in Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. It will begin in July 2012.

The announcement was made in Atlanta on Tuesday.

The conference will focus on small liberal arts colleges in the Southeast to help reduce travel time and costs for teams and focus on academics.

Jay Gardiner, athletic director at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, will serve as the conference’s interim commissioner.

Other colleges in the conference: Hendrix College in Arkansas, Millsaps College in Mississippi, Rhodes College in Tennessee, the University of the South in Tennessee, Berry College in Georgia, Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama and Centre College in Kentucky.