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The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), founded in 1962, is an athletic conference which competes in the NCAA's Division III. Member institutions are located in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas. As such, it is one of the most geographically widespread non-scholarship athletic conferences in the United States (though most schools are in the Southern US). Prior to 1991, the conference was known as the "College Athletic Conference." The current commissioner of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference is Dwayne Hanberry. The current chair of the Executive Committee of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference is Dr. Jake Schrum, current Southwestern University president.

Contents

Member institutions

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Mascot Colors Football?
Austin College Sherman, Texas 1849 Private/Presbyterian 1,291 Kangaroos Crimson & Gold Yes
Birmingham-Southern College Birmingham, Alabama 1856 Private/United Methodist 1,600 Panthers Black & Gold Yes
Centre College Danville, Kentucky 1819 Private 1,215 Colonels Old Gold & White Yes
Colorado College Colorado Springs, Colorado 1874 Private 2,011 Tigers Gold & Black No
DePauw University Greencastle, Indiana 1837 Private/United Methodist 2,350 Tigers Black & Old Gold Yes
Hendrix College Conway, Arkansas 1876 Private/United Methodist 1,300 Warriors Orange & Black '10?[1]
Millsaps College Jackson, Mississippi 1890 Private/United Methodist 1,146 Majors Purple & White Yes
Oglethorpe University Atlanta, Georgia 1835 Private 1,000 Stormy Petrels Black & Gold No
Rhodes College Memphis, Tennessee 1848 Private/Presbyterian 1,690 Lynx Red & Black Yes
Sewanee: The University of the South Sewanee, Tennessee 1857 Private/Episcopal 1,383 Tigers Royal Purple Yes
Southwestern University Georgetown, Texas 1840 Private/United Methodist 1,265 Pirates Gold & Black No
Trinity University San Antonio, Texas 1869 Private/Presbyterian 2,487 Tigers Maroon & White Yes

Conference overview

The SCAC fields competition in cross country, football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, swimming and diving, baseball, golf, softball, tennis, field hockey and track and field. As of 2006, several member schools have announced plans to form varsity lacrosse teams; this, combined with the existing club lacrosse teams at several other member institutions likely makes lacrosse the next sport to be added to this list.

Unlike many Division III conferences, where geography is the primary determining factor for membership, the SCAC is made up of private institutions where the primary focus is on academics; the New England Small College Athletic Conference and University Athletic Association are other athletic associations with similar academic emphasis. Almost all members sport Phi Beta Kappa chapters. Member schools are prominently featured in annual "Best College" rankings; admissions are highly selective.

In an unusual move for the conference, Colorado College, which offers two Division I (scholarship) sports, was accepted as a member beginning in the 2006-07 season. It is the only SCAC school to offer any sort of scholarship athletics, though naturally the Division I programs will not compete in the SCAC. (In fact, one of the school's two Division I programs is in men's ice hockey, a sport not sponsored by the conference.)

The conference has previously announced its desire to expand to a total of twelve members, which would ease scheduling issues and allow the conference to divide into eastern and western divisions. [2] On May 26, 2006, Birmingham-Southern College, one of the smallest Division I schools in the country, announced its intentions to drop scholarship athletics and join the SCAC. [3] This is a multi-year process subject to final approval by the NCAA. The SCAC approved BSC's application, pending NCAA approval, on June 8, 2006.

Due to the unusual (for Division III) distances between member institutions, travel costs and durations must be factored into any decision to join the conference. Rose-Hulman cited these factors as reasons for leaving the conference when it rejoined the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference in 2006-07. Austin College readily took RHIT's place, moving from the American Southwest Conference before the 2006-07 season.

President's Trophy

Each year, the "President's Trophy," a 300-pound railroad bell, is awarded to the school with the best overall sports record. Teams are awarded points for their final position in each sport; the school with the most points is declared the winner. For the 2008-2009 school year, the President's Trophy was awarded to DePauw University for the fourth consecutive year.[4]

National championship teams and individuals

SCAC members have won a total of six team championships and 19 individual championships.

Team champions:

  • 1999-2000: Men's Tennis (Trinity); Women's Tennis (Trinity)
  • 2002-2003: Women's Basketball (Trinity), Men's Soccer (Trinity)
  • 2006-2007: Women's Basketball (DePauw)
  • 2008-2009: Men's Golf (Oglethorpe)

Individual champions:

  • 1983-1984: Men's javelin, outdoor (Chris Trapp, Rose-Hulman)
  • 1984-1985: Men's javelin, outdoor (Chris Trapp, Rose-Hulman)
  • 1985-1986: Men's javelin, outdoor (Chris Trapp, Rose-Hulman)
  • 1995-1996: Women's tennis, singles (Nao Kinoshita, Rhodes)
  • 1996-1997: Women's tennis, singles (Nao Kinoshita, Rhodes); Women's tennis, doubles (Kinoshita, Taylor Tarver, Rhodes)
  • 1997-1998: Men's pole vault, indoor (Ryan Loftus, Rose-Hulman)
  • 1999-2000: Women's 1500 meters, indoor (Heather Stone, Sewanee); Women's 1500 meters, outdoor (Stone, Sewanee)
  • 2002-2003: Men's 100 meter breaststroke (Matt Smith, Rose-Hulman)
  • 2003-2004: Women's high jump, outdoor (Christyn Schumann, Trinity)
  • 2004-2005: Women's high jump, indoor (Christyn Schumann, Trinity); Women's high jump, outdoor (Schumann, Trinity)
  • 2005-2006: Women's high jump, outdoor (Christyn Schumann, Trinity)
  • 2006-2007: Women's tennis, singles (Liz Bondi, DePauw)
  • 2008-2009: Men's pentathlon, indoor (Todd Wildman, Trinity); Men's golf, medalist (Olafur Loftsson, Oglethorpe); Men's triple jump, outdoor (Chrys Jones, Centre)

This list does not include championships won by schools outside of their period of membership in the SCAC.

Overall success on the national level

While championships come infrequently, overall SCAC athletic programs rate favorably when compared against the diverse Division III membership. The NACDA Director's Cup provides one representation of any school's athletic success as compared to its peers. Trinity has ranked in the top five nationally twice, most recently in 2004-2005 when it placed fourth. 2008-9 was a challenging year for the conference; Trinity's 27th was the best showing the conference could muster. DePauw, at 39th, was the only other SCAC competitor to place in the top 100. [5]

The SCAC and Division I

On several occasions the SCAC has been used as a role model for academically high-achieving Division I programs considering a move to non-scholarship athletics. In 2004, Rice considered a move to Division III with Trinity cited as a possible model by the Houston Chronicle [6]. That program eventually remained in Division I. In 2006, Birmingham-Southern College elected to leave Division I for Division III, and stated that they would seek membership in the SCAC. [7] This represented the first time since 1988 that a Division I school has changed affiliation to Division III [8].

There is speculation [9] that Centenary College of Louisiana, which is beginning the transition from Division I to Division III in 2011-12 [10], will seek admission into the SCAC.

External links

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