Centenary (La.) moves to SCAC

Adam Walsh's Gents are playing an ASC men's basketball schedule this year, but will be playing in the SCAC the following season.
Centenary (La.) athletics photo 

The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference announced today that Centenary College of Louisiana has accepted an invitation to join the conference. Currently a member of the American Southwest Conference, Centenary will join the SCAC at the beginning of the 2012-13 academic year.

“This is a great day for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference,” said Austin College president Marjorie Hass, who currently serves as the chair of the SCAC Board of Directors. “Centenary College brings a strong academic profile, grounded in the liberal arts, and a broad-based athletics philosophy that aligns perfectly with the current membership. We look forward to many years of spirited athletics competition and student-athlete development with our new partner.”

Centenary, currently in its second year as a reclassifying member of NCAA Division III, became just the second athletics program in the last quarter-century to move from NCAA Division I to Division III. Current SCAC member Birmingham-Southern College is competing in its first season as an active member of Division III after making its own move from Division I prior to the 2006-07 academic year.

The SCAC is breaking in two after this academic year, with seven schools splitting off to form the Southern Athletic Association.

“The move to SCAC is about optimizing the experience of our student-athletes,” said Centenary president David Rowe. “One of the great advantages of the move is the ability of our athletes to compete in postseason play next year and be immediately eligible for conference awards and records. This is something not available to us in our current conference because of our reclassifying status.”

The shift to the SCAC will open up new competitive opportunities for Centenary's student-athletes, such as conference competition for men's and women's swimming and men's lacrosse. The SCAC annually sends numerous teams and individuals to NCAA championships with success, including 47 teams in 2009-10.

Centenary will be the sixth member of the SCAC in 2012-13 as it joins fellow Associated Colleges of the South institutions Trinity (Texas) and Southwestern as well as Austin, Colorado College and the University of Dallas.

“We are thrilled to welcome Centenary College into the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference family,” said SCAC commissioner Dwayne Hanberry. “As we look to the future, the conference’s primary focus is to build a strong NCAA Division III conference that reflects the high academic and athletic goals and standards that has made the SCAC one of the preeminent Division III conferences in the nation. The addition of Centenary is an important first step in that process.”

“Our focus is always on providing the best opportunities for our student-athletes in line with the mission of the college,” said Will Broussard, Centenary’s athletic director. “We’ve seen conference shakeups throughout the NCAA recently, and this phenomenon has included Division III schools in the South. Many colleges and universities are examining conference re-affiliation as a way of supporting shifting priorities. Athletics in the SCAC will be the perfect complement to the overall cultural, educational, and competitive experience students receive here at Centenary.

“This shift is not about leaving a conference as much as it is about going toward a new relationship that is overall a better long-term fit for Centenary. We are grateful to Commissioner Amy Carlton and the American Southwest Conference for guiding us through the challenging steps of reclassification and welcoming us into our first D-III home. We hope to continue to play ASC schools and establish in-state and cross-border rivalries with our ASC neighbors in many sports.”

Founded in 1825, Centenary is the oldest chartered liberal arts college in the United States west of the Mississippi River. Centenary’s men’s athletic teams are nicknamed Gents while the women’s programs are nicknamed Ladies. Both teams wear school colors of maroon and white, and the athletics mascot is Skeeter, a Catahoula dog.

Centenary sponsors 17 intercollegiate varsity programs, 16 of which are sponsored by the SCAC including: baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s swimming & diving, men’s and women’s tennis and volleyball.