The Big South and ASUN conferences are joining forces in football.
In a unique partnership announced Tuesday, ASUN members that play scholarship football will compete in the Big South, effective immediately.
“A breakthrough collaboration for both organizations,” said Jacksonville University President Tim Cost, chairman of the ASUN Presidents Council.
Kennesaw State, an ASUN member in other sports, competes in Big South football. ASUN members Jacksonville and Stetson also play at the FCS level but in the non-scholarship Pioneer League. The Florida schools would join the Big South in football if and when they offer scholarships.
So would Campbell, a full-time member of the Big South that also competes in the Pioneer League.
The schools have no obligation to change their status as Pioneer League members.
The Big South dropped to six football teams this season, the minimum for automatic qualification into the FCS Playoffs, when Coastal Carolina departed on July 1 for the Sun Belt Conference and FBS.
Four of the six are full-time members of the Big South — Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb, Liberty and Presbyterian. Kennesaw State and Monmouth are the conference’s two football-only schools.
High Point, Longwood, Radford, UNC Asheville and Wintrop are Big South members that don’t compete in football.
The ASUN also includes Florida Gulf Coast University, Lipscomb, New Jersey Institute of Technology, North Florida and South Carolina Upstate. None of the schools play football, but FGCU and North Florida have studied the feasibility of adding the sport.