Southwestern University, Texas’ first university, has been invited by the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) to become a full member beginning with the 2025–26 academic year. All 20 men’s and women’s varsity sports offered by Southwestern will be making the conference change, with the Pirate football team making an early switch to the SAA in fall 2023.

“Being the newest member of the SAA presents a great opportunity for our student-athletes,” said Southwestern President Laura Skandera Trombley. “The national liberal arts institutions playing in the SAA are great competitors and this is the appropriate time to make a change that will have our students in a conference that spans states across the South. We are looking forward to hosting our SAA peers on our beautiful campus in Georgetown, Texas.”

Southwestern’s move to the SAA will be made jointly with Trinity University in San Antonio. Both schools are currently members of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) with the exception of football. Southwestern has been a member of SCAC since 1994, and its football team has competed in the American Southwest Conference since 2017.

“We are grateful for the invitation to join the SAA. With a well-earned reputation for athletic and academic excellence, the member schools of the SAA represent the best of Division III sports,” said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ken Ralph. “This move also allows us to have all 20 sports under the same conference umbrella providing a level of consistency and equity we have not enjoyed in some time. We are excited about this new opportunity.”

The SAA is committed to fostering athletic competition and cooperation among academically selective, residential liberal arts colleges located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is focused on bringing together a strong conference of like-minded institutions, all of which integrate competitive athletics into the whole of the student’s educational experience.

The SAA’s core members include Berry College, Birmingham-Southern College, Centre College, Hendrix College, Millsaps College, Oglethorpe University, Rhodes College, and the University of the South.