University of Chicago and Washington University to become SAA football affiliate institutions in 2015
In advance of its official start in fall 2012 as the newest NCAA Division III athletic conference, the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) recently announced the addition of the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis as affiliate football institutions beginning in fall 2015.
With this addition, SAA football will span eight states by the 2015-16 season.
Besides Centre College, the SAA includes Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, Hendrix College in Arkansas, Berry College and Oglethorpe University in Georgia, Millsaps College in Mississippi, and Rhodes College and Sewanee-University of the South in Tennessee.
Birmingham-Southern, Centre, Millsaps, Rhodes and Sewanee currently field football teams in addition to other varsity sports. Berry and Hendrix have announced they will offer football in fall 2013.
Dr. John A. Roush, president of Centre College, is confident that the new member institutions represent a good fit. “Both the University of Chicago and Washington University are recognized for their academic excellence,” Roush said, “and each has a storied football tradition. Centre football fans and the SAA as a whole can be proud of the company we keep.”
Roush credits Centre athletic director Brian Chafin, who is a member of the SAA athletic directors group, for his role in this outcome. “Brian’s leadership within the SAA continues to be strong and important,” he said. “I’m proud of his work to help make this possible.”
Chafin is excited about what this will mean for the new conference. “Adding two premier academic institutions to the already strong SAA speaks very highly of the mission of our new conference,” Chafin said.
With both universities each approximately 350 miles away from Danville, competition with the Bears of Washington University and Maroons of the University of Chicago will not be taxing on Centre’s student-athletes and will have a gentle impact on the College’s carbon footprint.
Competition with one of the new affiliate institutions will not be new for Centre and two other SAA football programs.
Centre College — along with Rhodes, Sewanee and Washington & Lee — was a charter member of the College Athletic Conference (CAC), formed in 1962. Washington University joined later in 1962 and remained in the CAC until 1972.
As for tradition, while Centre’s football program dates back to 1880, both new SAA affiliate institutions also have football programs more than a century old. The Washington University Bears began playing football in 1890, and the Maroons of the University of Chicago began in 1892.