Centre one of eight institutions to form new athletic conference
On June 7, Centre College and six other current members of the NCAA Division III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) announced their decision to leave the conference effective July 1, 2012, to form a new conference beginning with the 2012-13 season.
Spanning six states, the new conference will include Berry College, Birmingham-Southern College, Centre, Hendrix College, Millsaps College, Oglethorpe University, Rhodes College and Sewanee: The University of the South.
The new conference was born out of the eight schools’ desire to promote athletic competition and cooperation among academically selective, residential liberal arts colleges in the southeast.
One obvious benefit of the new conference is that travel times and costs will be greatly reduced, as all schools are in the same region. At the same time, a conference of like-minded institutions, all of which integrate competitive athletics into the whole of the student’s educational experience, will be able to flourish.
“This opportunity will be a good one for Centre,” says John Roush, president of the College. “It will improve student welfare and also lessen the high cost of travel to the schools in the West.”
Student welfare, which Roush describes as “striking a better balance between academics and athletics,” was the overriding factor in establishing the new conference.
In addition, the new conference will be less burdensome on institutional resources while also reducing the conference’s carbon footprint in substantial ways.
As part of the SCAC, Centre student-athletes traveled nearly 1,160 miles to play Colorado College, 1,127 miles to play Trinity University, 864 miles to play the University of Dallas and 833 miles to play Austin College. In contrast, the furthest distances in the new conference will be the 603 miles to Millsaps and 563 miles to Hendrix. The College’s shortest distances will be to Sewanee (251 miles) and Berry (321 miles), and the average distance to all schools is 411 miles.
Although the establishment of the new conference remains a work in progress (as does the naming of the conference), Roush says that “the principles and values that will undergird our efforts in athletics are in place and solid as rock—emphasizing the importance of the student-athlete and first-rate competition.”