Sun Conference

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Sun Conference
FormerlyFlorida Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (1990–1992)
Florida Sun Conference (1992–2008)
CommissionerDustin Wilke
Sports fielded
  • 17
    • men's: 9
    • women's: 8
No. of teams9 (10 in 2024)
HeadquartersDaytona Beach, Florida
RegionSouthern United States
Location of teams in {{{title}}}

The Sun Conference (TSC) is a college athletic conference affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Seven of the ten full member institutions are located in Florida, with three in Georgia. The Sun Conference competes in the NAIA in all sponsored sports.


The Sun Conference
Location of TSC members: current and departing

The conference was created in March 1990 as the Florida Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (FIAC), and renamed to the Florida Sun Conference in 1992. Charter members consisted of Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Flagler College, Florida Memorial University, Nova University of Advanced Technology (now Nova Southeastern University), Palm Beach Atlantic University, Saint Thomas University, Warner Southern College (now Warner University) and Webber International University.

The league later grew to nine members with the addition of Northwood University in 1994 (now Keiser University). Between 2002 and 2006, Nova Southeastern (2002), Palm Beach Atlantic (2003) and Flagler (2006) moved to NCAA Division II. But the league was able to recruit new members as Savannah College of Art and Design joined in 2004, followed by Edward Waters College in 2006. It adopted its current name in August 2008 to reflect its expansion to institutions outside of Florida.[1] With the addition of the University of South Carolina at Beaufort in 2008, Johnson & Wales University, Southeastern University and Ave Maria University in 2009, and Thomas University of Georgia in 2012, years, along with Edward Waters’ move to the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference after the 2009–10 season, the league membership stood at 12 schools as of the 2012–13 season.

In 2014, Point University and former member Edward Waters College joined the conference for football only. Starting with the 2016 season, all six football members moved to the Mid-South Conference for that sport.[2] Charter member Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University departed the conference on June 30, 2015 and joined the Sunshine State Conference (D-II). In 2017, the College of Coastal Georgia joined the Sun Conference,[3] with the conference again standing at a total of 12 members. In 2018, Sun Conference member Keiser added football[4] but Edward Waters left the Mid-South football league. In 2019, Saint Thomas also added football and Florida Memorial re-added the sport after more than 60 years,[5][6] bringing the number of members participating in football to 8.

On June 25, 2020, Johnson & Wales announced it would close down its North Miami campus at the end of the 2020-21 school year,[7] and on July 28, Johnson & Wales North Miami discontinued all sports.[8]

On April 14, 2021, South Carolina–Beaufort reported its invitation to join the Division II Peach Belt Conference in 2022 after applying for membership in, and pending acceptance into, the NCAA.[9] The conference published on December 22 its reinstatement of football for the 2022 season, having grown to seven schools,[10] with Thomas initiating football to become the eighth football member.[11] By July 15, 2022, USCB was already accepted into the Continental Athletic Conference, formerly the Association of Independent Institutions, only for the first of its three-year NCAA provisional membership but with a Peach Belt schedule as part of the Sand Sharks' dual NAIA-NCAA membership.[12]

On July 1, 2022, Thomas announced that they will leave the conference and they will join the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC), starting in the 2023–24 academic year.[13] They will remain in the Sun Conference as an affiliate member for football from that day forward.

Chronological timeline[edit]

Member schools[edit]

Current members[edit]

The Sun currently has nine full members, all but two are private schools.[16][3] Departing members are highlighted in pink.

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joined[a] Basketball?
Ave Maria University Ave Maria, Florida 2003 Catholic
(Diocese of Venice)
1,200 Gyrenes 2009 both
College of Coastal Georgia Brunswick, Georgia 1961 Public 3,438 Mariners 2017 both
Florida Memorial University Miami Gardens, Florida 1879 American Baptist 1,784 Lions 1990 both
Keiser University West Palm Beach, Florida 1977 Nonsectarian 19,510 Seahawks[b] 2015 both
St. Thomas University Miami Gardens, Florida 1961 Catholic
(Archdiocese of Miami)
1,750 Bobcats 1990 both
Savannah College of Art and Design Savannah, Georgia 1978 Non-profit art school 11,897 Bees 2004 none[c]
Southeastern University Lakeland, Florida 1935 Assemblies of God 3,850 Fire 2009 both
Warner University Lake Wales, Florida 1968 Church of God 1,037 Royals 1990 both
Webber International University Babson Park, Florida 1927 Nonsectarian 616 Warriors 1990 both
  1. ^ Represents the calendar year when fall sports competition begins.
  2. ^ Keiser University's teams were the teams of Northwood University's Florida campus until Keiser University purchased it in 2015 and made the teams its own.
  3. ^ Savannah A&D had sponsored men's or women's basketball until after the 2008–09 school year.

Future members[edit]

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joining Basketball?
New College of Florida Sarasota, Florida 1960 Public 675 Mighty Banyans 2024 both

Current affiliate members[edit]

In 2021, the conference added the University of Mobile, St. Andrews University, Truett McConnell University, and William Carey University as affiliate members for beach volleyball.[17] Loyola of New Orleans also participates in beach volleyball.[18]

In 2022, Life University began participating in men's swimming, women's swimming, and women's lacrosse.[19]

Former members[edit]

The Sun had nine former full members, most are private schools, one is public, and two are defunct:

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joined[a] Left[b] Subsequent
Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University
(Daytona Beach Campus)
Daytona Beach, Florida 1926 Nonsectarian 6,794 Eagles 1990 2015 Sunshine State (SSC)[c]
Edward Waters College[d][e] Jacksonville, Florida 1866 A.M.E. Church 966 Tigers 2006 2010 Gulf Coast (GCAC)
Southern (SIAC)[c]
Flagler College St. Augustine, Florida 1968 Nonsectarian 2,046 Saints 1990 2006 D-II Independent
Peach Belt (PBC)[c]
Northwood University–Florida West Palm Beach, Florida 1984 Nonsectarian N/A Seahawks 1994 2015 N/A[f]
Johnson & Wales University–Florida North Miami, Florida 1992 Nonsectarian N/A Wildcats 2009 2020 Closed in 2021
Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, Florida 1964 Nonsectarian 24,148 Sharks 1990 2002 Sunshine State (SSC)[c]
Palm Beach Atlantic University West Palm Beach, Florida 1968 Nondenominational 3,764 Sailfish 1990 2003 D-II Independent
Sunshine State (SSC)[c]
University of South Carolina Beaufort Beaufort, South Carolina 1959 Public 1,386 Sand Sharks 2008 2022 Continental (CAC)
Peach Belt (PBC)[c]
Thomas University[g] Thomasville, Georgia 1950 Nonsectarian 1,100 Night Hawks 2012 2023 Southern States (SSAC)
  1. ^ Represents the calendar year when fall sports competition begins.
  2. ^ Represents the calendar year when spring sports competition ends.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Currently an NCAA Division II athletic conference.
  4. ^ Currently known as Edward Waters University since 2021.
  5. ^ Edward Waters later joined The Sun as an affiliate member for football from the 2015 to 2016 fall seasons (2015–16 to 2016–17 school years).
  6. ^ Northwood–Florida was sold to Keiser University in 2015.
  7. ^ Thomas remains an affiliate member of the Sun Conference in football.

Former affiliate members[edit]

The Sun had two former affiliate members, both were private schools:

For the 2014 and 2015 football seasons, Edward Waters and Point joined the conference. All six members moved to the Mid-South Conference for the 2016 season. With the exception of Point, which participates in the Appalachian Division, these teams plus Faulkner University now form the Sun Division of the Mid-South Conference.[20]

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joined[a] Left[b] Sun
in former
Sun sport
Edward Waters College[c][d] Jacksonville, Florida 1866 A.M.E. Church 966 Tigers 2014 2016 football Southern (SIAC)[e]
Point University West Point, Georgia 1937 Christian 1,000 Skyhawks Appalachian (AAC)
  1. ^ Represents the calendar year when fall sports competition begins.
  2. ^ Represents the calendar year when spring sports competition ends.
  3. ^ Currently known as Edward Waters University since 2021.
  4. ^ Edward Waters was a full member of The Sun from 2006–07 to 2009–10.
  5. ^ Currently an NCAA Division II athletic conference.

Membership timeline[edit]

New College of FloridaCollege of Coastal GeorgiaKeiser UniversityPoint UniversityThomas UniversitySoutheastern University (Florida)Johnson %26 Wales University%23North Miami campusAve Maria UniversityPeach Belt ConferenceUniversity of South Carolina BeaufortSouthern Intercollegiate Athletic ConferenceGulf Coast Athletic ConferenceGulf Coast Athletic ConferenceEdward Waters UniversitySavannah College of Art and DesignNorthwood University%23Florida SeahawksWebber International UniversityWarner UniversitySt. Thomas University (Florida)Sunshine State ConferenceNCAA Division II independent schoolsPalm Beach Atlantic UniversitySunshine State ConferenceNova Southeastern UniversityFlorida Memorial UniversityPeach Belt ConferenceNCAA Division II independent schoolsFlagler CollegeSunshine State ConferenceEmbry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach

 Full member (all sports)   Full member (non-football)   Associate member (football-only) 


Conference sports
Sport Men's Women's
Baseball Green tickY
Basketball Green tickY Green tickY
Beach Volleyball Green tickY
Cross Country Green tickY Green tickY
Flag football Green tickY
Football Green tickY
Golf Green tickY Green tickY
Soccer Green tickY Green tickY
Softball Green tickY
Tennis Green tickY Green tickY
Track & Field Outdoor Green tickY Green tickY
Volleyball Green tickY


  1. ^ "About the Sun Conference". Retrieved November 19, 2008.
  2. ^ "Mid-South Conference Creates Largest College Football Conference". February 25, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "COASTAL GEORGIA SET TO OFFICIALLY BECOME SUN CONFERENCE MEMBER". June 29, 2017. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  4. ^ Evenson, Johyn (October 11, 2016). "Keiser University Athletics adds football starting in 2018". Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  5. ^ "St. Thomas to Launch Football in 2019; Joins MSC Sun Division". August 29, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  6. ^ "This is why Florida Memorial is bringing back college football after a 61-year hiatus". Miami Herald. June 4, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  7. ^ "Johnson & Wales, which trained many local chefs, is closing its North Miami campus". June 25, 2020. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  8. ^ "Johnson & Wales Discontinues Athletics". Victory Sports Network. July 30, 2020. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  9. ^ "Peach Belt Accepts USCB as Newest League Member". USCB Sand Sharks. April 14, 2021. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  10. ^ "Football Returns to the Sun Conference in 2022". Sun Conference. December 22, 2021. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  11. ^ "Mitjans Named Head Coach of Thomas University's New Football Team". January 25, 2022. Retrieved February 4, 2022.
  12. ^ "USC Beaufort Approved for NCAA DII Membership". USCB Athletics (Press release). July 14, 2022. Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  13. ^ "TU Set to Join SSAC in 2023-24". TU Night Hawks Athletics (Press release). July 1, 2022. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  14. ^ "TU Set to Join SSAC in 2023-24". TU Night Hawks Athletics (Press release). July 1, 2022. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  15. ^ "NAIA Announces Five New Members". NAIA. October 2, 2023. Retrieved October 30, 2023.
  16. ^ "The Sun Conference". The Sun Conference. August 18, 2008. Retrieved December 14, 2009.
  17. ^ "Sun Conference Beach Volleyball Adds Affiliate Members". July 29, 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2023.
  18. ^ "Beach volleyball gets first conference win Saturday".
  19. ^ "Life U Athletics Releases Conference Affiliations for 2022-23".
  20. ^ Wilson, Michael (February 25, 2016). "Local teams officially join Mid-South football conference". The Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved February 27, 2016.

External links[edit]