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The Student News Site of Ferrum College

Iron Blade

College Goes D-II

Ferrum to join Conference Carolinas in 2025-26 school year
Courtesy of @confcarolinas Instagram
The map of Conference Carolinas starting in the 2025-26 school year.

The athletic journey on campus continues to grow as Ferrum will be the sixteenth school to join Conference Carolinas in the 2025-26 school year.

The NCAA Division II conference will host 18 sports between the college’s men’s and women’s athletic teams.

“Building off of our rich heritage of value, we embark on a journey of innovation and adaptation, guided by the relentless pursuit of excellence,” President Mirta Martin said. “The decision was ultimately based on an alignment of mission, vision, and values for competitive opportunity for our student-athletes.”

Martin said she is happy to find a new home and opportunity with Conference Carolinas.

“The transition positions Ferrum College to join a family of institutions who share a vision of competitive athletics, academic rigor, and service,” Martin said. “It also offers Ferrum College the opportunity to open new avenues of growth and success on and off the field in a values-based culture.”

A major topic at the press conference was Conference Carolina’s rebirth of football.

Ferrum will be the seventh college to join the conference that has a football team.

The Black Hats will compete against Barton, Chowan, Erskine, UNC Pembroke, North Greenville, and Shorter.

“Since that time and prior to today, we announced the addition of two institutions, the implementation of a three-division model in six sports, that will help promote regional rivalries and regionalizing scheduling, as well as the addition of football,” Conference of Carolinas Commissioner Chris Colvin said. “Upon a successful completion of the NCAA Division II membership process, Ferrum College will automatically become a full member of Conference Carolinas and compete in our inaugural season of football.”

Colvin also believes the College’s vision matches well with Conference Carolinas’ goals.

Conference Carolinas Commissioner, Chris Colvin, speaks to Ferrum College students, coaches, faculty, and staff on his excitement of Ferrum’s arrival and plans for the conference’s future. (Kyle Markowitz)

“When we visited Ferrum last month, it was easily seen by all in attendance that Ferrum’s mission and values fit perfectly with Conference Carolinas’,” Colvin said. “Conference Carolinas tag line of champions in body, mind., and soul and Ferrum’s philosophy of Not Self but Others, combined with their focus on faith as their top value make this a great partnership.”

Athletic Director Cleive Adams said it is a great day in the history of Ferrum College and the Athletic Department.

“Over the years, our athletic identity has brought some great pride to our beloved institution,” Adams said. “We are embarking on what we call–The Journey.  We are excited. This move will position Ferrum College as a DII destination of choice in the state of Virginia.”

The press conference even brought home some notable alumni that helped grow Ferrum athletics and who are excited for the future of their alma mater.

Everett Foxx–Basketball’s all-time leading scorer along with 16 other school records, helped lead Ferrum to their first DIAC tournament championship and NCAA DIII tournament, and was 2005 inductee into the College’s Hall of Fame–spoke to the group of students, faculty, and staff.

“This is an exciting day, not only for Ferrum College Athletics, but for Ferrum College as a whole,” Foxx said. “I’m looking through two different lenses as a board member and former student-athlete.  I am excited to do the research and be with the leadership team, and it was a no brainer in my opinion on what this will do for the institution.”

Another Hall of Fame inductee who spoke was Billy Wagner.

“It is so good to be back home amongst my Black Hat brothers and sisters,” Wagner said. “I believe that to be different, you have to do different, and being different means that you raise the bar every time you go do something. You can’t be special and stay average, and I’m in total support of making this move, because that’s what’s going to make Ferrum more unique. When people start to run on this campus and see how special you guys made it, and what we know to be, it changes the lives of so many.”

Wagner, a baseball player and 2003 inductee into the Hall of Fame on campus, holds the DIII record for career strikeouts (327 in 182.1 innings), the NCAA single-season records for strikeouts per nine innings (19.1 in 1992), and fewest hits allowed per game (1.58 in 1992).

Wagner was drafted twelfth overall in 1993 by the Houston Astros and pitched for 16 years with five different ball clubs.  Wagner is one of only eight closing pitchers to have more than 400 career saves.

Next school year, Ferrum will still be competing in the ODAC, but current coaches are excited for what the future holds.

“As someone who not only played Division II athletics, but also competed in Conference Carolinas as a student-athlete, I couldn’t be more excited to take this next step with Ferrum College,” Head Women’s Soccer Coach Erin Saleeby said.

The college began by competing in junior college athletics but grew to a four-year school in the 1985-86 school year.

The first conference joined was the Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (DIAC), now known as the USA South Athletic Conference.

In the 2018-19 school, a bid was accepted to move into the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.

And starting in the 2025-26 school year, Ferrum’s athletic journey will see the college compete at the Division II level in Conference Carolinas.

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About the Contributor
Kyle Markowitz
Kyle Markowitz, Staff Writer
Hello, my name is Kyle Markowitz.  I'm a junior at Ferrum College majoring in Media and Communication, with a minor in Journalism. I'm a student-athlete at the school, playing baseball. After college, I'm looking to pursue a job in sports broadcasting.  
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    JackieApr 11, 2024 at 9:23 am

    I am excited to hear that Ferrum is joining into the Conference Carolinas. I wish them well in their “Journey”.