LAFAYETTE, Colo. – The Mid-South Conference has grown to five teams with the additions of Arkansas State University and Clemson University as affiliate members.
Arkansas State rejoins the conference it was a member of as recently as 2014, and reached the 2012 D1A National Championship when it fell to Brigham Young University in a thrilling Final, 49-42.
The Red Wolves have continued to test itself against Mid-South opposition the past two seasons in nonconference fixtures. Last year, Arkansas State won both its home-and-away contests against Davenport, but dropped a home game to eventual National Champions Life, 37-12, for the 2016 Curt Huckaby Cup.
Clemson is coming off a three-year run as conference champions of the Atlantic Coast Rugby League, having won the competition from 2013-15 over programs like North Carolina State, Maryland and Virginia Tech. Like Arkansas State, the Tigers haven’t shied away from competing against Mid-South squads in recent years. During the 2015-16 season Clemson played a pair of matches against Life, dropping both games to the Running Eagles by a combined score of 119-13.
The affiliation tag for the two schools refers to the team’s unlikelihood of competing in the D1A Playoffs should either team finish in the season amongst the top-12 ranked teams in the competition.
The addition of two highly programs to the Mid-South that already contains three teams that finished in the top-six of Canterbury’s D1A Top 20 will only strengthen a conference already considered one of the strongest in the country.