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Centenary (Louisiana) will become a member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference at the beginning of the 2012-13 academic year.
Currently a member of the American Southwest Conference, Centenary is in its second year as a provisional member of Division III and is on track to achieve active membership status by 2014-15.
Centenary, located in Shreveport, La., became just the second athletics program in the last quarter century to move from 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 before the 2006-07 academic year.
Austin College President Marjorie Hass, who currently serves as the chair of the SCAC board of directors, cited Centenary’s strong academic profile and broad-based athletics philosophy as aligning with current SCAC membership. “We look forward to many years of spirited athletics competition and student-athlete development with our new partner,” Haas said.
Centenary will become the sixth member of the SCAC, joining Austin, Colorado College, the University of Dallas, Trinity University (Texas) and Southwestern University (Texas). The addition helps rebuild the SCAC after seven of its 12 members announced this summer that they’ll form a new conference next year. SCAC officials said Centenary teams will compete in conference postseason play next year and be immediately eligible for league awards and records.
“Our focus is always on providing the best opportunities for our student-athletes in line with the mission of the college,” said Will Broussard, director of athletics at Centenary. “We’ve seen conference shake-ups 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.”
Founded in 1825, Centenary is the 43rd oldest college or university in the nation. It 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.” Centenary sponsors 17 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 and diving, men’s and women’s tennis, and women’s volleyball.
SCAC Commissioner Dwayne Hanberry said, “As we look to the future, our primary focus is to build a strong Division III conference that reflects the high academic and athletic goals and standards that have 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.”