Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association

The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) was one of the first collegiate athletic conferences in the United States. Twenty-seven of the current Division I FBS (formerly Division I-A) football programs were members of this conference at some point, as were at least 19 other schools. Every member of the current Southeastern Conference except Arkansas and Missouri, as well as six of the 15 current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference plus the University of Texas at Austin, now of the Big 12 Conference (and previously of the now defunct Southwest Conference), formerly held membership in the SIAA.

Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association
Members72 (total)
RegionSouthern United States
Deep South


Conference Presidents
William Lofland Dudley 1894–1912
Walter Riggs 1912–1915
Buz M. Walker 1917
Henry D. Phillips 1919–1922
J. W. Provine 1927–1942

The SIAA was founded on December 21, 1894, by Dr. William Dudley, a chemistry professor at Vanderbilt,[1] at the Kimball House in Atlanta.[2] Dudley was a member of the Vanderbilt Athletic Association, formed in 1886 with Dr. W. M. Baskerville as president. Most students at Vanderbilt were members. The early sports played on the Vanderbilt campus were baseball, bicycling, and track and field events.[3] Dudley was primarily responsible for the formation of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The first advance in the direction of its formation was in March 1888 when the Vanderbilt Athletic Association endeavored to secure track and field meets at Vanderbilt from Southwestern Presbyterian University, Sewanee, and Tennessee. Sewanee's opposition stopped it from occurring.[4]

The original members were Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Johns Hopkins, North Carolina, Sewanee, Vanderbilt, and Virginia.[5][6] Virginia and North Carolina soon dropped out, even before the inaugural 1895 season.[7][8]

Central (Eastern Kentucky), Clemson, Cumberland, Kentucky, LSU, Mercer, Mississippi A&M (Mississippi State), Southwestern Presbyterian University, Texas, Tulane, and the University of Nashville joined the following year in 1895 as invited charter members.[9][10] The conference was originally formed for "the development and purification of college athletics throughout the South".[11] They crafted a constitution, created an Executive Committee, elected officers, and set rules for:[11]

  • annual conventions
  • officiating
  • limiting players to five years of eligibility
  • banning professional athletes
  • requiring athletes to attend the school they represent
  • banning instructors and professors from playing
  • suspensions of individuals and schools
  • expenses

The league did not, however, sponsor much in the way of championship competition for its member schools. It did hold an annual track and field competition for a trophy, and it also held some basketball tournaments over the years, but apparently some member schools did not compete in the tournament during some years, and sometimes non-member southern schools were even allowed to compete in it as well. In 1903, a single-game football playoff occurred, but it seems to have been coordinated more so by the two competing schools (Clemson and Cumberland) than the conference itself. Several other efforts over the years by individual schools (rather than by the SIAA) to hold a conference title game fell through. Most SIAA titles claimed by schools in various sports were actually more mythical in nature than officially sanctioned by the league. Indeed, some schools centrally-located in the conference played far more conference games than others on the periphery, making it difficult to form a fair comparison to determine just which team was truly the best, especially once the league began to constantly expand its membership.

In 1915, a disagreement arose within the conference regarding the eligibility of freshman athletes, the so-called "one-year rule." Generally, the larger universities opposed the eligibility of freshman players, while the smaller schools favored it. As a result, some of the large universities formed the Southern Intercollegiate Conference (now the Southern Conference), which used the one-year rule, while still maintaining membership within the SIAA.[12]

At the conference's annual meeting on December 10, 1920, the SIAA rejected proposals to ban freshman athletes and abolish paid summer baseball.[13] In protest, some schools that had voted in favor of the propositions immediately announced they would seek to form a new conference.[13] On February 25, 1921, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Tennessee left the SIAA to form the Southern Conference, along with non-SIAA members Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Washington and Lee.[14] In 1922, the Southern Conference underwent an expansion and added six more members, all at the expense of the SIAA: Florida, Louisiana State, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tulane, and Vanderbilt.[12]

With the departure of most of the major colleges, the SIAA became a de facto small college conference in 1923. In the 1920s and 1930s, the SIAA increased its membership with the addition of many additional small universities. The conference eventually disbanded in 1942 with the onset of American involvement in World War II.[12] League archives were kept at Vanderbilt, the league's founding school, but the building housing the archives was eventually gutted with fire, taking countless irreplaceable items pertaining to the SIAA's history with it.

In 1947 there was an attempt, led by Western Kentucky, to revive the SIAA. Western Kentucky hosted an SIAA basketball tournament that turned out to be little more than an invitational tournament because former SIAA members declined to participate.[15]


Original charter members are denoted in boldface. Invited charter members are denoted with an asterisk.[9] In the era in which the SIAA operated, teams tended to join in December; therefore, the first year of conference play in a given sport was often the following calendar year.[16]

Conference affiliations reflect those for the 2016–17 school year.

SchoolCityStateTenureConference left forCurrent conference
AlabamaTuscaloosaAlabama1895–1917, 1919–1921[5][14]Southern ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
AuburnAuburnAlabama1895–1921[5][14]Southern ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
CentenaryShreveportLouisiana1925–1941Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (D-III)
Central UniversityRichmondKentucky1896-1897, 1899-1900merged with Centre College in 1901
CentreDanvilleKentucky1910–1917, 1919–1941Southern Athletic Association (D-III)
ChattanoogaChattanoogaTennessee1914–1916, 1919–1932Dixie ConferenceSouthern Conference
The CitadelCharlestonSouth Carolina1908–1935[17]Southern ConferenceSouthern Conference
ClemsonClemsonSouth Carolina1896–1921[9][14]Southern ConferenceAtlantic Coast Conference
Cumberland*LebanonTennessee1896–1907[9]Mid-South Conference (NAIA)
Delta StateClevelandMississippi1936–1941Gulf South Conference (D-II)
Emory & HenryEmoryVirginia1936–1941Old Dominion Athletic Conference (D-III)
ErskineDue WestSouth Carolina1925–1941[18]Conference Carolinas (D-II)
FloridaGainesvilleFlorida1912–1917, 1919–1921Southern ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
FurmanGreenvilleSouth Carolina1902–1904, 1906–1910, 1914–1929, 1932–1935Southern ConferenceSouthern Conference
Georgetown (Kentucky)GeorgetownKentucky1915–1916, 1919–1941Mid-South Conference (NAIA)
GeorgiaAthensGeorgia1895–1916, 1919–1921[5][14]Southern ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
Georgia TechAtlantaGeorgia1896–1900,[19] 1902–1913, 1916–1921[14]Southern ConferenceAtlantic Coast Conference
Howard College (Samford)HomewoodAlabama1909–1912, 1914–1917, 1919–1931Dixie ConferenceSouthern Conference
Jacksonville StateJacksonvilleAlabama1939–1940Ohio Valley Conference
Johns HopkinsMarylandPart of 1894[5]Centennial Conference (D-III)
Kentucky*LexingtonKentucky1896[9]–1904, 1911–1916, 1919–1921[14]Southern ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
Kentucky WesleyanOwensboroKentucky1925–1930Great Midwest Athletic Conference (D-II)
Louisiana CollegePinevilleLouisiana1922–1941American Southwest Conference (D-III)
Louisiana State*Baton RougeLouisiana1896–1917, 1919–1921[9]Southern ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
Louisiana TechRustonLouisiana1925–1942Louisiana Intercollegiate ConferenceConference USA
LouisvilleLouisvilleKentucky1914–1941Atlantic Coast Conference
Loyola (New Orleans)New OrleansLouisiana1925, 1930–1937Southern States Athletic Conference (NAIA)
Memphis State (Memphis)MemphisTennessee1935–1942IndependentAmerican Athletic Conference
Mercer*MaconGeorgia1896–1937[9]Southern Conference
Miami (Florida)Coral GablesFlorida1929–1942IndependentAtlantic Coast Conference
Middle TennesseeMurfreesboroTennessee1931–1942Conference USA
MillsapsJacksonMississippi1908–1909, 1913–1938Southern Athletic Association (D-III)
MississippiOxfordMississippi1898–1921Southern ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
Mississippi CollegeClintonMississippi1910–1917, 1919–1941American Southwest Conference (D-III)
Mississippi A&M* (Mississippi State)StarkvilleMississippi1896–1921[9][14]Southern ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
Morehead StateMoreheadKentucky1934–1942Ohio Valley Conference
Murray StateMurrayKentucky1931–1942Ohio Valley Conference
Nashville*NashvilleTennessee1896–1900,[19] 1902–1908[9]University closed in 1909
NewberryNewberrySouth Carolina1922–1942South Atlantic Conference (D-II)
North CarolinaChapel HillNorth CarolinaPart of 1894,[5] 1899–1901[19]South Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic AssociationAtlantic Coast Conference
Northwestern StateNatchitochesLouisiana1928–1941Southland Conference
OglethorpeAtlantaGeorgia1919–1929[20][21], 1937–1941[22]Southern Athletic Association (D-III)
PresbyterianClintonSouth Carolina1921–1942Big South Conference
RollinsWinter ParkFlorida1925–1942Sunshine State Conference (D-II)
University of the South (Sewanee)SewaneeTennessee1895–1900, 1902–1924[5][19]Southern ConferenceSouthern Athletic Association (D-III)
South CarolinaColumbiaSouth Carolina1915–1921Southern ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
Southern (Florida)LakelandFlorida1925–1930Sunshine State Conference (D-II)
Southern MississippiHattiesburgMississippi1928–1941Conference USA
Southern University (Birmingham-Southern)BirminghamAlabama1901–1912; 1930–1931Dixie ConferenceSouthern Athletic Association (D-III)
Southwestern Presbyterian* (Rhodes)MemphisTennessee1896[9]–1900, 1902–1903Southern Athletic Association (D-III)
Southwestern Louisiana (Louisiana–Lafayette)LafayetteLouisiana1925–1942Sun Belt Conference
Spring HillMobileAlabama1927–1931Dixie ConferenceSouthern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (D-II)
StetsonDeLandFlorida1925–1931, 1933–1940Atlantic Sun Conference (Pioneer Football League for football)
TampaTampaFlorida1936–1942Sunshine State Conference (D-II)
TennesseeKnoxvilleTennessee1897–1916, 1919–1921[14]Southern ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
Tennessee TechCookevilleTennessee1933–1942Ohio Valley Conference
Texas*AustinTexas1896–1906[9]IndependentBig 12 Conference
Texas A&MCollege StationTexas1903–1906, 1912–1914Southwest ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
TransylvaniaLexingtonKentucky1914–1916, 1919–1924, 1926–1941Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (D-III)
Trinity College (Duke)DurhamNorth Carolina1903[23]–1912Atlantic Coast Conference
Troy State (Troy)TroyAlabama1936–1942no team (WWII)Sun Belt Conference
Tulane*New OrleansLouisiana1896[9]–1906, 1911–1917, 1919–1921Southern ConferenceAmerican Athletic Conference
Union (Kentucky)BarbourvilleKentucky1933–1941Appalachian Athletic Conference (NAIA)
Union (Tennessee)JacksonTennessee1925–1942Gulf South Conference (NCAA D-II)
VanderbiltNashvilleTennessee1895–1924[5]Southern ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
VirginiaCharlottesvilleVirginiaPart of 1894[5]
Western KentuckyBowling GreenKentucky1926–1942Conference USA
WoffordSpartanburgSouth Carolina1903–1942[23]Southern Conference



    Conference champions


    1. Greg Roza, Football in the SEC (Southeastern Conference), p. 1, 2007, ISBN 1-4042-1919-6.
    2. "S. I. A. A. Was Started At The Kimball House". The Atlanta Constitution. December 17, 1905. p. 1. Retrieved May 16, 2016 via
    3. William L Traughber (August 25, 2005). "William Dudley: a Father of Vanderbilt Athletics".
    4. "Vanderbilt Paper Tells How First Efforts Succeeded in Formation of S. I. A. A. Order". Macon Telegraph. April 12, 1921.
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    9. Bailey, John Wendell (1924). Handbook of Southern Intercollegiate Track and Field Athletics. Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College. p. 14.
    10. WBB Media Guide.pdf
    11. Southern Inter-Collegiate Athletic Association (PDF). Athens, GA: E. D. Stone. 1895. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
    12. Roger Saylor, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (PDF), College Football Historical Society, The LA84 Foundation, retrieved March 1, 2009.
    13. "NEW COLLEGE BODY PLANNED IN SOUTH; Twelve Universities Take Steps to Break Away From Intercollegiate A. A" (PDF). The New York Times. December 12, 1920.
    14. "The Southern Conference". Southern Conference. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
    15. SIAA having trouble filling basketball tournament, , The Paducah Sun-Democrat 02 Mar 1947 Page 16, retrieved April 30, 2019.
    16. Association, National Collegiate Athletic (1 January 1921). "Proceedings of the ... Annual Convention of the National Collegiate Athletic Association". The Association via Google Books.
    17. "Milestones-CFA Through The Years".
    18. "Palmetto Members", Greenville News, Greenville, SC, p. 6, December 13, 1924
    19. "Athletic Blacklist Has Widespread Effect". The Charlotte News. December 14, 1901. p. 11. Retrieved August 29, 2015 via
    20. "Colleges Favor Mass Athletics", Tuscaloosa News, Tuscaloosa, AL, p. 1, February 18, 1919
    21. "S.I.A.A. Will Not Be Split, Head of Organization Says", Tennessean, Nashville, TN, p. 10, December 16, 1929
    22. "Sports Advisor Proposal Before S.I.A.A. Members", The Town Talk, Alexandria, LA, p. 11, December 7, 1936
    23. "Southern Athletic Association". The Courier Journal. December 21, 1902. p. 26. Retrieved January 16, 2017 via
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