FERRUM, Va. -- Ferrum College is now an official member of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC). The Panthers are the newest member of one of the nation's largest NCAA Division III conferences. The ODAC announced in June 2017 that Ferrum would become the 15th member of the league. Ferrum's membership officially became active in July 2018.
Celebrating its 43rd year of operations in 2018-19, the 15-member league, stands as the second-largest multi-sport NCAA Division III conference in the country. The ODAC was formed on May 18, 1975 as the Virginia College Conference and began operations in September of 1976. The name change to Old Dominion Athletic Conference became effective January 1, 1976. Charter members were eight colleges located in the state of Virginia: Bridgewater College, Eastern Mennonite College, Emory & Henry College, Hampden-Sydney College, Lynchburg College, Randolph-Macon College, Roanoke College and Washington and Lee University.
The league expanded in the 1980s and 1990s, most recently with Shenandoah University joining as the 14th full-time member of the league. Ferrum held membership in the USA South Athletic Conference from the fall of 1988 to summer 2018, departing after 30 years in the league. Ferrum has competed as an ODAC associate member in men's and women's swimming the past three years. Ferrum's field hockey team has competed in the Southern Athletic Association the past few years. Ferrum's men's wrestling team has competed and will continue to compete in the Southeast Wrestling Conference. Ferrum's women's wrestling program is the lone varsity program with no league affiliation.
Ferrum sponsors 22 varsity sports, 15 of which previously competed in the USA South, and one club level program. The newest athletic program is women's golf, which debuts in the Fall of 2018. Ferrum's first-ever ODAC contest will be the Panthers' home-opener football game against long-time opponent Emory & Henry in the 3rd Annual Crooked Road Classic Saturday, Sept. 1 at W.B. Adams Stadium.
Ferrum has been highly competitive in a number of athletic programs, sending teams or individuals in four sports to NCAA postseason competition in recent years. The women's basketball program participated in three straight NCAA Tournaments from 2012 through 2014, hosting first- and second-round games in 2014. The softball team earned NCAA playoff berths in 2012 and 2016. Ferrum sent a men's wrestler to the NCAA Tournament in 2014, two in 2016, three in 2017 and three in 2018.
The Panther mat men won the NCAA Div. III Wrestling East Regional in 2017, and had one All-American each in 2016 and 2017, including NCAA runner-up Zack Beckner in the 125-pound weight class. Plans are currently underway for Ferrum to host the 2019 NCAA Division III Wrestling National Championships March 8-9 at the Berglund Center in nearby Roanoke, Virginia. Coach Nate Yetzer's team has hosted NCAA Regionals in three of the past four years.
During the 2017-18 school year, Ferrum had three student-athletes named All-America; Montel Lee (football), Zarkia Mattox (women's basketball), Lance Keiser (men's golf). The Panthers had an All-American men's golfer in 2017 and 2018.
Founded in 1913 and related to the United Methodist Church, Ferrum is a four-year, private, co-educational, Liberal Arts College related to the United Methodist Church. The College offers nationally recognized bachelor's degree programs ranging from business and environmental science to teacher education and criminal justice.