Atlantic Sun Conference Logo
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The Atlantic Sun Conference, branded as the ASUN Conference, is a collegiate athletic conference operating mostly in the Southeastern United States. The league participates at the NCAA Division I level, and will begin sponsoring football in 2022. Originally established as the Trans America Athletic Conference (TAAC) in 1978, its headquarters are located in Atlanta, Georgia.
The conference has seen several changes in its membership in recent years. First, the 2014 departure of East Tennessee State University and Mercer University to the Southern Conference left the ASUN with eight members. Northern Kentucky University (transitioning from NCAA Division II sports to Division I) left the conference to join the Horizon League and was replaced by the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), previously the only Division I basketball independent, in 2015. The ASUN membership expanded to nine members in 2018. The University of South Carolina Upstate (USC Upstate) left the ASUN to join the Big South Conference after the 2017–18 season, but two new schools joined. The University of North Alabama arrived from the Division II Gulf South Conference, and Liberty University left the Big South for the ASUN.
The ASUN’s most recent changes of membership occurred in 2020–21 with the arrival of Bellarmine University from the Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference and the departure of NJIT to the America East Conference. On January 14, 2021, Dr. Brad Teague, athletic director for the University of Central Arkansas, announced that UCA would be joining the ASUN along with three other unannounced institutions for the 2021-22 academic year. North Alabama, Kennesaw State, Central Arkansas, and the three unnamed universities will form the ASUN football conference beginning play in 2022. Kentucky Sports Radio, an outlet devoted mainly to University of Kentucky sports, reported on January 25 that two of the unannounced institutions were Eastern Kentucky University and Jacksonville State University, noting that EKU had published and then deleted a page on its official athletics site that named both schools and UCA as incoming ASUN members. However, no official confirmation of these moves was available at the time.