Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference

Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference

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. John Brazil, current Trinity University president.

Member institutions

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. [] 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. [] 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 joined the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference in 2006-7. 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. In 2007-2008, the President's Trophy was awarded to DePauw University for the third consecutive year. []

National championship teams and individuals

The SCAC has had limited success nationally. SCAC members have won a total of five team championships:

*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)

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)

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 have been hard to come by, 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. In 2006-07, DePauw led the way with a 15th place finish, slightly down from the previous season's 13th. Trinity slipped from 8th to 49th; no other SCAC members placed in the top 100. []

The SCAC and Division I

On at least two 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 [] . 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. [] This represents the first time in 25 years that a Division I school has changed affiliation to Division III.

External links

* [ SCAC Online]

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