PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — Shawnee State University has been accepted as a full member of the River States Conference after a vote of the RSC Council of Presidents last month. The Bears will become official members on July 1, 2023 and will join conference play in the 2023-24 academic year transitioning to the RSC next fall. For 2022-23, SSU athletics will continue to compete in the Mid-South Conference.
“We’re excited about joining the River States Conference and renewing relationships with former rivals,” SSU President Jeff Bauer said. “The RSC is more aligned with us geographically and provides opportunities for us to continue to partner with institutions in our region to advance intercollegiate athletics.”
Jeff Hamilton, SSU Athletics Director, said that the student-athlete experience was an important consideration in the move to the River States Conference.
“Many of our teams currently play RSC opponents in non-conference match-ups, so we are familiar with all the schools in this conference,” he said. “The geographic proximity and travel distance will help our students with their academic schedules and missed class time. It will also be very beneficial for our athletes’ families, traveling to see them play in person, which we feel is important for their experience as college athletes.”
Shawnee State will reconnect with historical rivals, including University of Rio Grande and Ohio Christian University, after joining the RSC. When traveling for the RSC contests, Hamilton explained that the farthest trip will be around five hours, reducing travel time by about half from the Mid-South. The average travel time in the RSC is less than three hours
“Shawnee State is a well-regarded, highly functioning current NAIA member who operates very competitive programs,” said Michael Schell, RSC Commissioner. “We are excited to have them join the River States Conference next year.”
The RSC is comprised of schools in five states: Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The current membership of the RSC includes: Indiana University Southeast (New Albany, Ind.), Indiana University East (Richmond, Ind.), Indiana University Kokomo (Kokomo, Ind.), Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (Saint Mary of the Woods, Ind.), Oakland City University (Oakland City, Ind.), Brescia University (Owensboro, Ky.), Alice Lloyd College (Pippa Passes, Ky.), Midway University (Midway, Ky.), University of Rio Grande (Rio Grande, Ohio), Ohio Christian University (Circleville, Ohio), Point Park University (Pittsburgh, Pa.), and West Virginia Technical Institute (Beckley, W.Va.).