Sunshine State Conference

The Sunshine State Conference is a collegiate athletic conference that participates in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II. Its member institutions are located in the state of Florida, which is popularly known as the Sunshine State.

Sunshine State Conference
DivisionDivision II
Sports fielded
  • 18
    • men's: 8
    • women's: 10
HeadquartersMelbourne, Florida
CommissionerEd Pasque (since 2014)

The conference was originally formed in 1975 as a men's basketball conference. It has since expanded to sponsor championships in 18 sports, including men's and women's basketball, baseball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, men's and women's lacrosse, women's rowing, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's tennis, women's volleyball.

SSC institutions have won a total of 111 NCAA national team championships, including a conference record seven in the 2014–15 and 2018-19 academic years[1]. The conference has also claimed a total of 90 national runner-up trophies. [2]


The conference was preceded by the Florida Intercollegiate Conference,[3] which was disbanded in the mid-1960s. The Sunshine State Conference was founded in 1975 by Saint Leo University (then Saint Leo College) Basketball Coach & Athletic Director Norm Kaye. Kaye served as Commissioner the first year until Dick Pace was named Commissioner in 1976. Kaye continued as Executive Director of the Conference for an additional 12 years. Pace was inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.

The six charter Conference members were: Biscayne College (now St. Thomas University), Florida Technological University (now University of Central Florida), Eckerd College, Florida Southern College, Rollins College, and Saint Leo College.

The Conference has seen dozens of athletes go on to have successful professional careers. Some examples include: Current PGA Tour players Lee Janzen and Rocco Mediate went to Florida Southern. Janzen won golf's U.S. Open in 1993 & 1998; on the baseball side are Tino Martinez (Tampa), Tim Wakefield (Florida Tech), Ryan Hanigan (Rollins), Bob Tewksbury (Saint Leo), and J. D. Martinez (Nova Southeastern). Wakefield tied a career high of 17 wins pitching for the 2007 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox and Tewksbury was third in balloting for the National League Cy Young Award while going 16–5 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1992.


Current members

Institution Location
Founded Enrollment Nickname Colors Joined
Barry University Miami Shores 1940 9,030 Buccaneers                1988
Eckerd College St. Petersburg 1958 1,850 Tritons           1975
Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach 1926 6,794 Eagles           2015
Florida Southern College Lakeland 1883 2,185 Moccasins           1975
Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne 1958 6,451 Panthers           1981
Lynn University Boca Raton 1962 2,297 Fighting Knights           1997
Nova Southeastern University Davie 1964 24,148 Sharks           2002
Palm Beach Atlantic University West Palm Beach 1968 3,764 Sailfish           2015
Rollins College Winter Park 1885 2,946 Tars           1975
Saint Leo University St. Leo 1889 2,235 Lions           1975
University of Tampa Tampa 1931 7,600 Spartans                1981

Former members

Institution Location Founded Nickname Joined Left Current
University of Central Florida Orlando 1963 Knights 1975 1984 The American
University of North Florida Jacksonville 1969 Ospreys 1992 1997 Atlantic Sun
St. Thomas University Miami Gardens 1961 Bobcats 1975 1987 Sun

Membership timeline

 Full member (all sports)   Full member (non-football)   Associate member (football-only)   Associate member (sport) 

Chronological timeline

  • March 2, 1975 – Basketball conference exploration meeting is held at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. Main purpose of meeting is to discuss formation of an NCAA Division II mid-Florida basketball conference.[4]
  • March 16, 1975 – Second exploration meeting is held at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. The name "Sunshine State Conference" is suggested by Dr. Calvin C. Miller and is adopted for league use. Norm Kaye of Saint Leo is named Interim Commissioner. Dr. Thomas B. Southard, president of Saint Leo College, is named as first conference president.
  • June 1975 – Conference constitution adopted.
  • October 8, 1975 – First meeting of the SSC is held in Orlando. Basketball regulations and league bylaws are revised and approved.
  • December 3, 1975 – Florida Southern defeats Eckerd, 96–84, in first SSC basketball game played in Saint Petersburg.
  • April 8, 1976 – Dick Pace is named league commissioner. NCAA approves automatic bid for SSC basketball champion. Golf and Tennis are added to league for 1976–77, baseball and soccer are added for 1977–78.
  • May 18, 1977 – First Sunshine State Conference Men's Basketball Tournament held
  • February 1, 1981 – Norm Kaye of Saint Leo is appointed as executive of SSC. Executive Committee is formed, consisting of league athletic directors.
  • July 1, 1981 – Florida Institute of Technology joins the Sunshine State Conference.
  • September 2, 1981 – The University of Tampa joins the Sunshine State Conference.
  • April 15, 1982 – League adopts women's competition in basketball, cross country, slow-pitch softball, tennis, and volleyball.
  • May 1, 1984 – University of Central Florida (formerly Florida Technological University) withdraws from the conference. Women's fast-pitch softball is adopted for league play in 1985.
  • February 2, 1986 – Bob Vanatta, athletic director at Louisiana Tech University, is named as league's first full-time commissioner.
  • June 13, 1988 – Barry University joins the conference.
  • November 1990 – Conference signs a two-year contract with the Sunshine Network for seven events.
  • February 11, 1991 – University of North Florida joins the conference, effective July 1, 1992.
  • July 1, 1994 – Don Landry is named conference commissioner and conference relocates to Orlando.
  • November 22, 1994 – Conference announces three-year deal to have postseason basketball tournament at The Lakeland Center. The SSC will serve as host in 1996 and 1997.
  • December 1, 1994 – Sunshine Network announces nine-event television package for school year.
  • June 9, 1995 – Inaugural SSC Awards Luncheon held in Orlando.
  • February 29, 1996 – Inaugural SSC Hall of Fame/Honors banquet held in Lakeland.
  • September 30, 1996 – University of North Florida withdraws from the Sunshine State Conference, effective June 30, 1997.
  • October 15, 1996 – Women's crew added to Sunshine State Conference sponsored sports.
  • December 18, 1996 – Lynn University joins the Sunshine State Conference, effective July 1, 1997.
  • July 15, 1998 – League adds women's soccer and women's golf as sponsored sports.
  • August 24, 1999 – Saint Leo College becomes Saint Leo University and adopts new nickname ("Lions") and logo.
  • July 1, 2000 – 25th Anniversary of the Sunshine State Conference.
  • August 26, 2002 – Nova Southeastern University joins the Sunshine State Conference as a provisional member.
  • May 26, 2004 – Don Landry announced retirement as SSC Commissioner, effective August 1, 2004. Landry remained acting commissioner through September 6, 2004.
  • July 26, 2004 – Michael J. Marcil named SSC commissioner, effective September 7, 2004.
  • September 14, 2009 – Jay Jones officially begins duties as the SSC commissioner, replacing Mike Marcil, who left the post June 30, 2009.
  • April 7, 2010 – League adds men's and women's swimming as sponsored sport.
  • July 1, 2013 – League adds men's lacrosse as sponsored sport.
  • February 3, 2014 – Ed Pasque officially begins duties as the SSC commissioner, replacing Jay Jones, who left the post December 31, 2013.
  • July 1, 2014 – League adds women's lacrosse as sponsored sport. – Palm Beach Atlantic University and Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University join Sunshine State Conference as provisional members; effective July 1, 2015.

Conference facilities

Institution Arena Capacity
Barry Health and Sports Center 1,938
Embry–Riddle ICI Center 1,968
Eckerd McArthur Center 1,000
Florida Southern Jenkins Field House 2,500
Florida Tech Clemente Center 1,500
Lynn de Hoernle Center 1,000
Nova Southeastern Rick Case Arena at the Don Taft University Center 5,500
Palm Beach Atlantic Rubin Arena 2,000
Rollins Warden Arena 2,500
Saint Leo Marion Bowman Activities Center 2,000
Tampa Bob Martinez Sports Center 3,432

National Championships

Sunshine State Conference schools have won 111 NCAA Division II National Championships.

Championships by year

Year Titles Team
2009–10 3 Florida Southern golf (M) • Nova Southeastern golf (W) • Barry tennis (M)
2010–11 2 Nova Southeastern golf (W) • Barry tennis (W)
2011–12 2 Nova Southeastern golf (M) • Nova Southeastern golf (W)
2012–13 6 Tampa baseball • Barry golf (M) • Lynn golf (W) • Nova Southeastern rowing • Lynn soccer (M) • Barry tennis (M)
2013–14 3 Barry golf (M) • Lynn golf (W) • Barry tennis (W)
2014–15 7 Tampa baseball • Florida Southern basketball (M) • Nova Southeastern golf (M) • Barry rowing • Lynn soccer (M) • Barry tennis (M) • Tampa volleyball
2015–16 5 Nova Southeastern baseball • Saint Leo golf (M) • Rollins golf (W) • Florida Southern lacrosse (W) • Barry rowing
2016–17 3 Barry tennis (W) [5] • Barry golf (W) • Florida Southern golf (M)
2017–18 2 Barry tennis (W) [6] • Lynn golf (M) [7]
2018–19 7 Barry soccer (M) [8] • Tampa volleyball [9] • Florida Tech golf (W) [10] • Lynn golf (M) [11] • Barry tennis (M) [12] • Barry tennis (W) [13] • Tampa baseball [14]

Championships by school

School NCAA
Most Recent
Florida Southern 30 2017 — Men's Golf
Barry 22 2019 — Women's Tennis
Tampa 17 2019 — Baseball
Rollins 15 2016 — Women's Golf
Lynn 14* 2019 — Men's Golf
Nova Southeastern 08 2016 — Baseball
Florida Tech 03 2019 — Women's Golf
Saint Leo 01 2016 — Men's Golf
North Florida 01 1994 — Women's Tennis


On July 17, 2007, NCAA vacated Lynn's 2005 Women's Division II Softball Championship due to extra benefits given to two players. The NCAA found that former coach Thomas Macera gave two Lynn softball players cash payments totaling more than $3,000. Lynn was also placed on probation for two years.[15] As of 2018-19 Lynn University has won 15 National Championships at the Division II level, but now the NCAA only recognizes 14 of them because of the unsanctioned actions.

Mayors' Cup Champions

The Mayors' Cup was originally presented following the 1986-1987 academic year to recognize the annual SSC all-sports champion. The men's division recognizes competition in eight sports: soccer, cross country, basketball, swimming, golf, tennis, lacrosse and baseball. The Women's Mayors' Cup recognizes competition in nine sports: volleyball, soccer, cross country, basketball, swimming, golf, tennis, softball and rowing. [16]


Conference sports
Cross CountryYY
Swimming & DivingYY

Men's sponsored sports by school

School Baseball Basketball Cross
Golf Lacrosse Soccer Swimming
& Diving
Tennis Total
Barry Y Y Y Y Y 5
Eckerd Y Y Y Y Y 5
Embry–Riddle Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 7
Florida Southern Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 8
Florida Tech Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 8
Lynn Y Y Y Y Y Y 6
Nova Southeastern Y Y Y Y Y Y 6
Palm Beach Atlantic Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 7
Rollins Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 8
Saint Leo Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 8
Tampa Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 7
Totals 11 11 8 11 8 11 6 9 75

Women's sponsored sports by school

School Basketball Cross
Golf Lacrosse Rowing Soccer Softball Swimming
& Diving
Tennis Volleyball Total
Barry Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 7
Eckerd Y Y Y Y Y Y 6
Embry–Riddle Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 9
Florida Southern Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 9
Florida Tech Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Lynn Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 8
Nova Southeastern Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 9
Palm Beach Atlantic Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 8
Rollins Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Saint Leo Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 9
Tampa Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Totals 11 9 11 7 6 11 11 7 11 11 95

Other sponsored sports by school

School Men Women
Football Track
& Field
& Field
& Field
& Field
Eckerd IND
Embry–Riddle IND PBC IND PBC
Florida Southern IND IND IND
Florida Tech GSC PBC PBC
Lynn IND
Nova Southeastern PBC PBC
Palm Beach Atlantic IND IND
  • — D-I sport


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