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Jun/09

4

The case for Centenary (La.) and D-III

The Shreveport Times broke a story on Wednesday that Centenary College, in Shreveport, La., had an exploratory meeting with the presidents of the American Southwest Conference as part of what seems to be “due diligence” concerning its ongoing intercollegiate athletics program.

The other Division III conference is reported to be the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, whose presidents are scheduled to meet in the next 1-2 weeks. The report also said that two other D-1 conferences were being evaluated.

Thursday’s Shreveport Times reported on a news conference held by men’s basketball coach Greg Gary who completed his first year as head coach. Gary said that he thought D-I was the place for Centenary.

Centenary College, a private liberal arts college of 854 undergrads, and its athletic community are at a crossroads.

Centenary College has been a member of the Summit League, a non-football D-1 conference formerly known as the Mid-Continent Conference, since 2003. The Summit League spans nine states with its 10 full members, from Oakland College in Rochester, Mich., to Southern Utah in Cedar City, Utah. All other members are state schools except Oral Roberts University, in Tulsa. Four Summit League members play FCS football.

Travel from Shreveport to the rest of the league requires one and two layovers in major hubs. Air travel out of Shreveport goes to Memphis, DFW, Houston Intercontinental and Atlanta. There is no direct flight to Chicago from Shreveport, a feature that Oral Roberts in Tulsa enjoys. Fellow Summit league member Oral Roberts is still 347 miles away from Shreveport.

Centenary was recently placed on a postseason ban in men’s basketball for poor Academic Progress Rates (APR). The Centenary baseball program was also under scrutiny for APR issues in 2008-09.

The economic downturn is said to have decreased earnings from Centenary endowments by $1.5 million. The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) 2008 report gave Centenary’s endowment at $118 million as of June 30, 2008. Centenary reported that the endowment was down 20% this year. The 2008 endowment was less than nearby D-III schools Austin, Southwestern and Trinity (Texas).

Centenary currently awards scholarships in men’s and women’s basketball, golf, soccer, swimming and tennis, baseball, softball and women’s gymnastics and volleyball. Full D-I funding for those varsity sports would entail 107.9 men’s scholarships and 112 scholarships for women, roughly 25% of the undergraduate student body. At current tuition rates of $22,000 per year, that is $4.8 million for 219.9 scholarships, a sum greater than the annual yield of the entire endowment at a prudent 4% rate of draw.

The challenge to find another D-I conference in the south is problematic. The Southland Conference is comprised of D-I (FCS for football) schools from Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. All 12 members are public schools. Eight currently play football. Two more have announced the addition/restoration of football, and one is studying restoring football. The announced fundraising efforts to accomplish this have been in the tens of millions of dollars.

The Sun Belt Conference is a BCS-football conference of 13 schools over eight states including Louisiana. Louisiana Tech is in the Western Athletic Conference. The other, better known D-I options are not plausible.

Centenary has not mentioned the option of a non-football D-II conference, which would be the Heartland Conference, which extends the 1050 miles from Laredo, Texas to Jefferson City, Missouri.

So, Centenary has two options in Division III.

The American Southwest Conference is a 15-member conference in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi that is divided into two divisions, East and West. The eight-member West Division is west and south of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Centenary is right in the middle of the seven-member East Division. Six of the seven ASC-East members are within a three-hour bus ride on the interstate from Shreveport. Being the eighth member would balance the “travel partner” schedule used by the ASC.

The ASC sponsors every varsity sport that Centenary offers except swimming and women’s gymnastics. Several ASC members have varsity or club swimming programs. men’s club lacrosse, which Centenary has, is being explored by a few ASC schools. Centenary swimming might be the catalyst for the ASC to add the sport. Women’s gymnastics might be the only casualty in a move to D-III. The membership of the ASC has seen four members add football in the last decade, which would also be an option for Centenary.

The case that the ASC makes is almost complete accommodation for Centenary’s sports, geographic proximity, and a minimum of missed class time. The ASC offered charter membership to Centenary when the conference was formed in 1996. The conference would presumably love to have Centenary.

The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference is expected to receive the Centenary delegation at its Presidents’ meeting later this month. Although geographically more dispersed than the ASC, the SCAC can host all of Centenary’s sports except varsity gymnastics. The burgeoning interest in men’s lacrosse in the SCAC is also a plus for Centenary’s club team. If Centenary follows the model used by Birmingham-Southern when it announced its move to D-III in 2006, then male sports such as football and lacrosse are integral to the strategy. Centenary’s re-instituting football could become the SCAC’s 10th football program. The current male: female ratio of the student body is 42:58. Adding football might bring that closer to parity. (The SCAC does not sponsor women’s gymnastics either.)

The “fit” as a peer institution is what may give the SCAC its inside track. Centenary is one of 16 schools in the Associated Colleges of the South.

Fellow ACS members in the SCAC include Birmingham-Southern, Centre, Hendrix, Millsaps, Rhodes, Sewanee, Southwestern and Trinity (Texas). (Other D-III schools in the ACS include Spelman and Washington and Lee.)

Centenary would strengthen the western side of the SCAC. The SCAC has maintained that it wants to be a 12-member conference, but Colorado College’s decision to drop football this spring probably took some of the luster of having the Colorado Springs, Colo., school in the league. DePauw, in Greencastle, Ind., is another geographically isolated member of the conference. Since the SCAC uses a travel partner format for scheduling, the departure of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute, Ind.) from the SCAC because of travel constraints and missed class time for its student-athletes has made DePauw’s isolation more pronounced.

Centenary joined the Summit League in 2003. It has won an average of seven games in men’s basketball in the last five seasons. The budget crunch that has hit all college athletic programs seems to be affecting Centenary. B. David Rowe will become the 12th president of Centenary on August 1st. Dr Rowe is a Southwestern grad and has spent time at Emory and LaGrange. He has a solid D-III background. However, the decision may be made by the time that he begins.

The Centenary board has hard decisions to make, but Division III athletics seems to have more plusses than minuses for a school that prides itself in its academic reputation.

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16 comments

  • Author comment by Ralph Turner · June 5, 2009 at 8:37 am

    There are other ways to look at the success in “D-1″ by Centenary’s teams.

    A cursory look at the 2007-08 Directors’ Cup shows that Centenary had no points from post-season NCAA participation, and Centenary has scored no points in the Directors’ Cup competition in 2008-09 through the May 28th reporting period.

    http://www.nacda.com/auto_pdf/p_hotos/s_chools/nacda/sports/directorscup/auto_pdf/D1May28

    The Summit League Commissioners’ Cup archives from 2007-08 are not readily available on the website, but Centenary was last of the 10 schools in the standings after the fall 2008 season.

    http://www.thesummitleague.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=3900&ATCLID=3632067

    On the 2007-08 Summit League Commissioner’s List of Academic Excellence, Centenary ranked 8th of 10 schools with 77 recipients. South Dakota State led the league with 144.

    http://www.thesummitleague.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=3900&ATCLID=1481029

    A critical self-examination by Centenary will ask if they are succeeding at the student-athlete experience. Is the Summit League experience what the school hoped that the conference would provide when Centenary joined in 2003?

  • Author comment by David Collinge · June 5, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    I saw a similar raindance at Tulane six or seven years ago, and I am convinced that they were never serious about D3. When the administration hinted that they were considering downsizing the athletic department and joining Division III, I think they were mostly trying to scare potential donors into giving to the athletic programs. I wouldn’t be surprised if Centenary is trying a similar tack.

    Frankly, if Centenary is not serious about maintaining academic standards among its athletes (“Centenary was recently placed on a postseason ban in men’s basketball for poor Academic Progress Rates (APR). The Centenary baseball program was also under scrutiny for APR issues in 2008-09.”), I don’t want them in D3.

  • Author comment by Pat Coleman · June 5, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I agree on the last point, David, but I suspect that they would be in a better position to recruit actual student-athletes if they move to D-III.

    Rice also played the D-III card. I don’t see Centenary being such a similar institution to those two, however.

  • Author comment by Ralph Turner · June 5, 2009 at 4:00 pm

  • Author comment by Ralph Turner · June 5, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    More on Centenary in the Summit League…

    Let’s look at how CC finished this year in the Summit League.

    Baseball 4th of 6, only better than 2 cold weather baseball schools, NDSU and Oakland
    Hoops – Men 9th of 10; Women 10th of 10
    Cross Country – Men 10th of 10; Women 10th of 10
    Golf – Men 9th of 10; W 9th of 10
    Soccer – Men 7th of 8; Women 8th of 9
    Softball – 3rd of 9
    Swimming – Men 2nd of 6; Women 4th of 6
    Tennis – Men 7th of 7; Women 9th of 9
    Track and Field — Men and Women did not compete
    Volleyball — 9th of 9.

    Centenary is not succeeding in D1.

    They scored no points in 2007-08 Directors’ Cup competition (worse than 279 other schools).

    They have scored no points in the 2008-09 Directors’ Cup competition through May 28 (worse than 261 other D1 schools).

    They were dead last in the Summit League Commissioners’ Cup standings after the fall season.

    They were 8th of 10 schools on the Summit League Commissioners List of Academic Excellence.

    The athletic program needs to re-assess what it can do well and what it can accomplish with the resources that it has. It looks like the “skimming scholarships” is because there wasn’t enough money after the horrendous travel budget for anything else.

    What D-1 Conference wants Centenary? No one else has mentioned any candidates. We have shot down the Southland and Sun Belt as prospects. All other D1 conferences are travel nightmares, as is the Summit.

    Hard reality is setting in. D-III is the most viable option.

  • Author comment by Ralph Turner · June 6, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Blogs from the Shreveport Times (for archive sakes)

    Birmingham-Southern was in the same place three years ago. They made to move from D-I to D-III, and can show Centenary how to do it, if Centenary wants to move up to D-III.

    Here is an article by Sports Illustrated’s Frank DeFord on Birmingham Southern’s move to the Southern Collegaite Athletic Conference.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/frank_deford/01/10/birmingham.southern/index.html

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    There is a good web site that gives data on intercollegiate athletics, participation and expenses, etc.

    http://ope.ed.gov/athletics/

    Revenue is hard to determine by source, that is, tuition allocation, ticket sales, booster clubs, etc.

    Expenses are easier. Let’s look at 2007-08, this last year for data

    If we look at the Summit League we see this.

    Oakland spent $8.398M, including $2.440M athletically related student aid (mostly in-state tuition).

    Oral Roberts spent $11,997M, including $3.251M athletically related student aid.

    Centenary spent $5,724M including $2,502M athletically related student aid.

    I don’t think that Centenary did a bad job. I don’t think that they had money to begin with.

    Let’s assume that all of the aid was given as tuition — $2,502M divided by $22,000 tuition. That gives only 113.7 scholarships, out of the allowable 219.9.

    For all of the effort by everyone, coaches administrators, etc., CC didn’t have enough funds to award another 100 scholarships.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Let’s look at D-III now using this web site — http://ope.ed.gov/athletics/ and see what these schools were able to do. All have football, too. (2007-08 data)

    These amounts are the expenses related to intercollegiate athletics.

    Centenary — $5,724M (without football)

    These schools have football.

    ETBU – $1,513M
    Louisiana College – $1,527M

    Millsaps — $1,780M
    Austin College TX — $1,772M

    Birmingham Southern was in its first year as a re-classifying member of D-III and spent $6,311M including $2,046M in athletically related student aid as it honored the athletics scholarships that it had given. It also had the start-up costs of on-campus football that year. (The old-time alums remembered the glory days from the 20′s and 30′s when BSC was a power!)

    What can Centenary do with another $4M? Give more academic scholarships.

    What really happens with the money is those great student-athletes now come to Centenary on “academic” scholarships and play sports for fun.

  • Author comment by Ralph Turner · June 7, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Here is the link to the third article written on June 5, 2009, by Shreveport Times columnist Jimmy Watson about Centenary and D-III. Comments following the article outline the benefits to D-III.

    (I wonder if d3guy is our fearless leader.)

    http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20090605/SPORTS02/906050309/1025/SPORTS0101

  • Author comment by Pat Coleman · June 7, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Yes, that’s me. I’m not trying to hide. :)

  • Author comment by Just Bill · June 12, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    That visionforgrowth guy on the comments of those Shreveport Times articles is an absolute whack-job. He’s so far out there he’d need a rocket just to return to “crazy”.

  • Author comment by Ralph Turner · June 21, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Permit me to copy the arguments that the D3faithful made on the Shreveport Times blog before they get lost or erased.

    Here is the original Comments section link where these arguments were made.

    http://www.shreveporttimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=pluckcomments&key=20090605.shreveporttimes.D9906050309.article.SPORTS02&s=d&page=6#pluckcomments (Page 6 has the earliest posts in the series.)

    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    From “d3guy” 6/5/2009 9:26:55 AM

    Jimmy:

    That’s alright — we don’t expect someone who hasn’t experienced Division III athletics to understand what it’s all about. It’s an acquired taste, and we like it. Is it the highest level of athletic competition? No, certainly not. But it’s still competition, and in fact, it’s competition solely for the sake of competition. Nobody in Division III is getting any kind of athletics aid — it’s the highest form of TRUE amateur athletics in the nation.

    What is a school about, athletics or academics? Or, should it rather be some healthy mix of both, like the real life these kids will graduate to? Just because newspapers like yours don’t cover Division III athletics doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. Newspapers miss the boat on great stories all across the country because they think only Division I is worthy of their time, and I know because I worked for Gannett for 12 years myself. Perhaps some education of the readership is in order, rather than an uninformed, knee-jerk response.

    ++++++++++++++

    d3guy…

    One of our many readers reminded me of this — it’s basically a D3 student-athlete’s mission statement:

    (part 1)

    It’s not about getting a scholarship, getting drafted, or making SportsCenter. It’s a deep need in us that comes from the heart. We need to practice, to play, to lift, to hustle, to sweat. We do it all for our teammates and for the student in our calculus class that we don’t even know. We don’t practice with a future major league first baseman; we practice with a future sports agent. We don’t lift weights with a future Olympic wrestler; we lift with a future doctor. We don’t run with a future Wimbledon champion; we run with a future CEO. It’s a bigger part of us than our friends and family can understand. Sometimes we play for 2,000 fans; sometimes 25. But we still play hard. You cheer for us because you know us. You know more than just our names.
    6/5/2009 10:56:45 AM

    ++++++++++++++++++++

    (part 2)

    Like all of you, we are students first. We don’t sign autographs. But we do sign graduate school applications, MCAT exams, and student body petitions. When we miss a kick or strike out, we don’t let down an entire state. We only let down our teammates, coaches, and fans. But the hurt is still the same. We train hard, lift, throw, run, kick, tackle, shoot, dribble, and lift some more, and in the morning we go to class. And in that class we are nothing more than students. It’s about pride–in ourselves, in our school. It’s about our love and passion for the game. And when it’s over, when we walk off that court or field for the last time, our hearts crumble. Those tears are real. But deep down inside, we are very proud of ourselves. We will forever be what few can claim…college athletes.

    (from JFerg012)
    6/5/2009 10:55:02 AM

    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    txbob wrote…

    Birmingham-Southern dealt with the outcry of the “athletics first” crowd, then did the right thing, went to Division III, and oh by the way are in the middle of a huge capital campaign that will increase their enrollment from 1200 to 1800 … without sacrificing academic integrity. You D1 supporters might not know what that means, since the NCAA has to keep slapping your programs with penalties for failing to keep up academically. For those who tout athletic fundraising as the way to improve Cenentary’s fortunes, it seems there are plenty of people and firms who are proud to associate themselves with colleges that actually have education as their primary focus. See

    http://www.bsc.edu/advancement/campaign/home.htm
    6/5/2009 2:54:55 PM

    +++++++++++++++++++++

    d3guy wrote

    Plenty of D-III schools exist in large markets. New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc. And I can’t help but look at Shreveport’s 200,000 people and think of Grand Rapids, Mich., with 200,000 people and Calvin College.

    Calvin is, of course, a Division III school, but it averaged 2,555 fans at its men’s basketball games last year. (That seems to bely the uneducated assertion by the columnist that only parents of players attend, as Calvin has significantly fewer than 1,200 players on the roster.) That’s more than three times the 761 fans that Centenary averaged. 761!

    “It is hard to find athletes who can pay the hefty tuition of the private school without scholarships.”
    “Going Division III is the EASY WAY OUT.”

    It’s clear that Division I advocates at Centenary just have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s either hard or it’s easy. But it’s not both.

    In fact, somehow about 300 private schools find plenty of student-athletes who can afford their tuition without scholarships. Amazing.
    6/5/2009 10:11:20 PM

    ++++++++++++++++++

    Ralph Turner wrote


    The D3sports.com websites give great information.

    The “Miracle in Mississippi” was D-III.

    See the Youtube here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHbzQoXuxdU

    That webcast done by the Trinity parents group, PAWS.

    http://www.pawsfootball.com/

    Millsaps video streamed almost everyone of its home and away football, men’s and women’s hoops games, and baseball games for free.

    The internet has allowed everyone to participate. In fact, Centenary may see more real support of intercollegiate athletics at the D-III level than it ‘s experiencing now . (Only averaging 761fans at a D-1 men’s hoops game? There are more fans than that at a LeTourneau ETBU game.)

    Centenary played its first 15 Men’s basketball games on the road. First Home Game was 01/08/2009. By then, they were 2-13.

    If the Southland invites them, then good.

    I want the fans to keep an open mind about D-III.
    6/6/2009 6:43:48 PM

    +++++++++++++++++

    Ralph Turner wrote

    Visionforgrowth, you’ve done a good job on focusing the issue that faces the Board of Trustees at Centenary.

    I will believe your $18M figure as the annual budget at Centenary, and I will use the $5.724M number that Centenary has declared to the federal government at

    http://ope.ed.gov/athletics EDIT

    as the expenses incurred with a D-1 non-football athletic program.

    The Centenary Board of Trustees will look at an endowment that is down 20%. It will read that even Harvard’s has been down 33% and think that they are not as bad off as other places.

    Then they will ask if the 30% of their annual budget which is spent in the “Intercollegiate Athletics Entertainment Business” fulfills the College’s mission to provide a private liberal arts education to the students in the Ark-La-Tex.

    I think that the Board will say that Centenary can have a D-III intercollegiate athletic program for $4M less and use that $4M somewhere else to educate the college students from the Ark-La-Tex.

    That is clear and simple.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    Ralph Turner wrote

    Centenary’s 2007-08 budget spent the following monies on these D-1 sports according to this web site.

    http://ope.ed.gov/athletics

    Men’s Hoops — $826,000
    Women’s Hoops — $725,000

    Other Men’s sports — $1,510,000
    Other Women’s sports — $1,679,000

    Expenses not allocated by sport or gender — $982,000

    That total is $5,724,000.

    I don’t know what the source is that you are using for the $1.2M figure for expenses at Centenary and what it includes. In fact, $1.2M is about what it takes to run a D-III non-football program such as LeTourneau or University of the Ozarks or Concordia University of Texas in Austin.

    If that $1.2M figure doesn’t include the cost of giving athletics scholarships, which is counted in my $5.724M figure, it appears that Centenary does not have the resources or the endowment to fund a D-1 athletic program. And, that endowment lost 20% in the last year, or what I am guessing was $24M.

    I know this decision is tough, but I see great opportunity for Centenary!
    6/9/2009 11:54:33 AM

    +++++++++++++++

    hickory1952 wrote

    vision,

    D3 is the best. It is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics that doesn’t allow athletic scholarships. The highest level where you get student athletes based on the merits of the college’s academics and programs, rather than the merits of their checkbook. Division 3 may be the highest level of purely amateur athletics. Maybe Centenary belongs at Division 1 but based on the econmics I’ve seen displayed here that situation is sketchy, Division 3 is just as good. You have student athletes giving it everything they’ve got and you know that when they go home after the game they are doing their homework because that is the reason they are attending school. The whole reason a college exists, For the academics, not athletics so alumni can have something to brag about to their coworkers.
    6/9/2009 6:44:54 PM

    +++++++++++++++

    visionforgrowth wrote

    Ralph, First off…Scholarships are not “Real Money”… 90 Full Scholarships at $27,000 = $2.43 million….SO SUBTRACT THAT FROM $.5.7 FIGURE..You are down to $3.27 mil before we said hello….

    And Cetenary has about $2 mil more a year they “creatively add” to the Athletics “Fixed & Variable Cost Bill / Budget”….to make it look like they are spending more real dollars on Athletics.. including many costs for what used to be Haynes Gym..now called Centenary Fitness Center..which is of no direct benefit to the major sports at Centenary: Basketball (both men’s and women’s) Baseball, Softball, Soccer, Golf, etc…Sure all these sports are needed to be Division I… Fitness Center was remodeled for STUDENTS. Great, but NOT FOR ATHLETICS.

    WRITE IT DOWN.. AS CONSERVATIVE AS CENTENARY IS ABOUT SPENDING MONEY ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF KINGS HWY. THERE IS NO WAY THEY ARE SPENDING MORE THAN $1.2 MIL IN “REAL MONEY”.

    Heck, they didn’t spend that when Stock Market was good…
    6/9/2009 7:04:36 PM

    ++++++++++++
    visionforgrowth wrote

    Hickory1952, D-III has never been best in a market the size of Ark-La-Tex ..WITH NO OTHER DIVISION I COMPETITION FOR COLLEGE ENTERTAINMENT DOLLAR…AND LEVEL OF ATHLETE.

    Last night, Sean West of Captain Shreve High (Shreveport) won a Major League Game by pitching a 2-hitter…beating the Legendary Randy Johnson. Point being ..there is plenty of talent around here to compete in Division I…. Now I’m not saying Centenary will get most of the Sean West’s either… I AM SAYING CENTENARY CAN RECRUIT WELL ABOVE AVERAGE HIGH SCHOOL TALENT…AND WIN / COMPETE.

    Go look at the Record Books when Centenary was in the Trans America Athletic Conference and HAD THE MOST BALANCED / COMPETITIVE PROGRAM IN THE LEAGUE .. 1987 THRU 1991. It’s a Fact… Didn’t Have Major Money then either.
    It Can and Will Be Done Again…when the Big Boys decide it is time. We will see IF the Money People at Centenary ON THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES are Competitive or Quitters.

    Not Very Complicated. D-I or Bust.
    6/9/2009 7:24:15 PM

    +++++++++++++++

    Gentfan wrote

    I’m a d1 fan – particularly if the school could get in a conference like the Southland or Sun Belt with local rivals. d1 is the highest level of competition and competing against the best says a lot about Centenary and its graduates. No matter whether you’re from Harvard, Arkansas or Texas A&M, Centenary and its grads will compete with you – in the board room or the ball field.
    What will competing against ETBU or Sul Ross State do for Centenary? It’s not going to get us any publicity; it’s not going to instll pride in the alumni; and, it’s not going to draw any community interest. Its also not going to save money as operating costs are not that much different once you offset d1 revenues. Plus, starting football costs millions and, even if it had the money, Centenary doesn’t have the space for onsite football facilities. So, Centenary would be at a competitive disadvantage in recruiting student athletes against other area d3 schools that have on-site facilities.

    ++++++++++++++

    Ralph Turner wrote

    Gentfan, thanks for the comments.

    You have grasped the decision for Centenary and D-1. The old Trans America Athletic Conference from the late 1980′s, when current Centenary athletes were born, has evoled into something diffferent. Look at the composition in the widipedia article.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans_America_Athletic_Conference

    Everyone else has gone to a football conference. The Summit League is no longer viabel. Does the average Shreveport sports fan know in what city three Summit League teams that aren’t Oral Roberts, Missouri-Kansas City and Indiana-Fort Wayne are found?

    The bid “if” is whether the Sun Belt or the Southland Conference will accept Centenary’s appeal to join either of them. If they refuse Centenary, then Centenary has not realistic hope but D-III.

    IMHO, I think that Centenary goes to the SCAC. The SCAC schools are peers.

    http://www.colleges.org

    and the SCAC may want to expand.

    http://www.laxmagazine.com/blogs/coyne/060809_scac

    6/10/2009 5:45:53 PM

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Ralph Turner wrote

    Vision, your comment about the scholarships not being “real money” does not reflect the fact that the 90 full scholarship equivalents represent 30 credit hours of instruction per scholarship each per year. Those 2700 credit hours are represent student athletes sitting in classrooms. The NCAA’s academic progress report (APR) and other auditors doing the college’s accreditation inspect and review that to verify that Centenary is doing what it should. To the Feds and to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits the Centenary degree programs and makes student loans possible, that $2.43M is very real.

    If the Feds do not “find” that $2.43M (those athletic scholarships) on the Centenary books, then someone at Centenary gets walked out of the administration building in handcuffs.

    6/10/2009 6:21:25 PM

    +++++++++++++++++++

    Gentfan wrote

    Ralph,
    I agree with you on many points but not on others. D3 schools give plenty of aid to athletes – some academic and some labelled as service or leadership awards. The total tuition discount rate at schools like Millsaps and BSC is not that much different than at schools like Centenary.
    d1 student athletes can also be just as “scholarly” as d3 athletes. The Ivy League schools are, after all, d1 as are schools like Northwestern, Rice and Davidson.
    At Centenary the GPA for athletes is roughly the same as for non-athletes and over 60% have over a 3.0 GPA.
    A good friend of mine who played d2 told me that the only difference between d1, d2 and d3 athletes was talent – d1 athletes just had more.
    Small schools can be successful at d1. Davidson – 1600 students; Wofford – 1300. Other small d1s, like Belmont, have smaller endowments but still grew the last 10 years.
    You can be small and do d1; Centenary just hasn’t done it very well in recent years.
    6/11/2009 6:12:34 PM

    +++++++++++++++++++

    Ralph Turner wrote…

    Gentfan,

    Thanks for the response and the information on Centenary’s discount rate. The suditing of the distribution of aid at D3′s is critical to the process. A school can abuse the “leadership” scholarships.

    I believe that “Summit League” conference travel is one factor, the probation for APR’s is another, and the lack of “real” rivals is a third.

    Davidson’s endowment is nearly $500M. Wofford is lucky to have numerous schools like it in D1 nearby, unlike Centenary.

    Landing in the Southland would be like a “decade” of Christmases.

    I am looking forward to the reports from the SCAC (which occurred on June 11th) and the other 2 D-1′s.

    As for academic rankings, Centenary does not score as favorably in the “ratings contests” such as US News as Millsaps, Birmingham Southern and Hendrix (all Tier 1 National Liberals Arts colleges versus Centenary at Tier 3). That can be fixed with money and effort.

    6/12/2009 12:06:41 AM
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    visionforgrowth wrote

    GentFan, You are right on the mark….

    In an earlier blog a Div. III “Activist”….that’s what these people have been for 15 years here…..asked if I was a Centenary Graduate….

    Maybe I am…. Maybe I’m not. Regardless, I care about Centenary College AND the Ark-La-Tex Region. Which is more than can be said for anyone “promoting” D-III.

    Look, going Div. III at Centenary would be ridiculous and MYOPIC.

    THERE’S A DIVISION I WORD FOR YA…… By the Way, Wherever I Graduated from…..It was with 3.7+ GPA (on a 4.0) scale…. SO FOR ALL YOU DIV. III guys out there…. I probably just “outpointed you” in the Classroom as well.

    Let’s Play a Game…. IF YOU DIDN’T FINISH WITH A 3.7 GPA (in 4 years) in College you can’t write on this Blog anymore.

    It won’t take long to call roll now…… “Stand Up” for CONTINUED Division I at Centenary…since 1959. Div. III “Cowards” ….on the court that is…. CAN GO TO THE HOUSE.

    Checkmate.
    6/12/2009 12:10:05 AM

    ++++++++++++++++

    d3guy wrote

    No doubt, there are people who are fans of Division III as a concept and we definitely stand up against those who smear it, the way columnist Jimmy Watson did. And we stand up against those who don’t understand it, or don’t listen, like Mr. Vision here. Nothing wrong with that and nothing wrong with vision STANDING UP FOR HIS POINT OF VIEW, IN ALL CAPS WHEN HE FEELS THE NEED.

    But Centenary profiles just like a Division III institution, even more so than Birmingham-Southern does. And Division III fans will welcome it with open arms.
    6/12/2009 5:21:46 PM

    ++++++++++++++

    d3guy wrote

    “d3 Guy, Centenary has “profiled” as a Division I school …IN REALITY SINCE 1959.”

    Dude, I get that you are currently a member of Division I. Congrats with that, really. No need to shout, since I can read. But are you successful at Division I, truly and honestly? Two sports finishing in the upper division of a bad league with teams scattered in tiny outposts all across the country? Is that the best thing for the school.

    And I get your drumbeat over and over that your massive Shreveport market (market No. 97) must have a Division I school in it. I’ve provided Grand Rapids as a comparable market with a prominent D-III school and no D-I. Now, apparently I’ve oversold Shreveport, since Grand Rapids is media market No. 49, a bit larger. But here are others, pretty sure anyway:

    No. 86 Davenport, Iowa
    No. 72 Scranton, Pa.
    No. 63 Harrisburg, Pa.

    Ralph can tell me whether No. 88 Tyler, Texas, qualifies.

    Not sure how Duke-UNC is relevant to your argument.
    6/13/2009 11:41:30 PM

    +++++++++++++++

    Ralph Turner wrote

    D3guy, thanks for the information. At your encouragement, I looked up media markets.

    Centenary is actually one of two D-1 programs in the Ark-La-Tex media market.

    Southland Conference member Northwestern State University (NSU) in Natchitoches, LA is the other! This map shows it clearly.

    http://www.truckads.com/Affiliate/Shreveport.htm#map

    Here is the complete map of the U.S.

    http://www.truckads.com/licensed_affiliates1.asp#usamap

    In fact, the only D-1 football school in the “Ark-La -Tex”, the Shreveport Designated Media Area (DMA), is NSU. D-1 fans in the Ark-La-Tex can still get D-1sports, if Centenary decides to move up to D-III.

    The Tyler media market includes D-1 Southland Conference member Stephen F Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX.

    As for “D-1″, the divisions in the NCAA were not created until 1973-74.

    I want to thank the readers who have read these arguments for Centenary’s choice. This is and has been nearly a complete discussion of the issues.
    6/14/2009 1:20:18 PM

    +++++++++++++

    As of now there are about 60 posts on that comment section.

    Here is the complete link, going to Page 1 (most recent)

    http://www.shreveporttimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=pluckcomments&key=20090605.shreveporttimes.D9906050309.article.SPORTS02&s=d&page=1#pluckcomments

    Thanks to all. Hopefully the Centenary community has a better grasp of the issues. I think that Centenary will make a great D3 school. I hope that they move up to D-III.

  • Author comment by Just Bill · June 29, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Centenary loses recruit to Ursinus:

    http://www.mcall.com/sports/all-s-grollercol.6939746jun25,0,7509097.column

    Who is Centenary kidding, really?

  • Author comment by Ralph Turner · July 1, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    I have copied my post from the Shreveport Times showing the Massey Ratings for Centenary and Ursinus in 2008, etc..
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    “A fellow D3fan at D3hoops.com posted this link about a Pennsylvania 6′ 9″ high school post, Jon Ward, who has left a scholarship to Centenary LA on the table, in favor of playing D-III ball at Ursinus, a 2008 D-III Final Four program. He called D-1 a “meat market”.

    http://www.mcall.com/sports/all-s-grollercol.6939746jun25,0,7509097.column

    Just how good was Centenary in 2008?

    Massey Ratings ranked 1936 college programs in 2007-08.

    http://www.mratings.com/rate.php?lg=cb&yr=2008&mid=6

    IUPI-Ft Wayne was #228
    LSU-Shreveport was #250
    Centenary LA was #302.
    D-III National Champion Washington Univ of St Louis was #308
    D-III Final Four Ursinus was #368.

    Centenary finished at #380 in 2009, behind 5 D-III’s.
    D-III Washington Univ of St Louis defended its title in 2009 and finished with a ranking of #229

    http://www.mratings.com/rate.php?lg=cb

    Since Ursinus has a history of sending players to play Pro ball in Europe, Ward decided to go for a quality education and playing time in D-III.”

  • Author comment by Gordon Mann · July 9, 2009 at 8:53 am

    As an update to this thread, Centenary has withdrawn from the Summit League effective 2011-2012. There’s a financial penalty for leaving earlier.

    http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20090708/SPORTS02/907080313/1026/SPORTS02

  • Author comment by Ralph Turner · July 9, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I wonder if the Summit League might not release Centenary from its 2010-11 obligations for the sake of travel savings for the other Summit League members.

    That might make Oral Roberts and Southern Utah “travel partners”.

    It is easy to catch connecting flights into Tulsa (for Summit League member Oral Roberts) from Chicago, but connections into Shreveport appear much more difficult, i.e., via DFW, Memphis, Houston or Atlanta.

  • Author comment by Ralph Turner · July 16, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    The links to Shreveport Times articles become inactive over time. Here is the July 8, 2009 article.

    Centenary to leave Summit League

    By Jimmy Watson • jimwatson@gannett.com • July 8, 2009

    Apparently Centenary’s love affair with The Summit league, formerly known as the Mid-Con, is over.

    Summit officials said on Tuesday that they received paperwork from outgoing Centenary President Ken Schwab in May notifying the league it will leave in 2011. Unless a significant upfront payment is made, schools must give two years notice to leave the league.

    Although Schwab couldn’t be reached for comment on Tuesday, Centenary interim president Michael Easton confirmed the move and said the decision was permanent.

    “The main reasons were financial and to find a conference more geographically appropriate,” Easton said.

    The country’s economic downturn has led Centenary officials to seek ways to save money. Centenary’s endowment is down 20 percent and the school is seeking implementation of $1.5 million in budget reductions. Some Board of Trustee members are pushing for a drop to Division III competition in athletics as a way to save even more money.

    “We respect Centenary’s decision to re-evaluate the direction of their athletic program,” Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple said. “In difficult economic times, hard decisions have to be made and we wish them all the best in the future. Centenary has been a good member since joining the league in 2003 and we look forward to their final seasons of competition.”

    The decision to withdraw from the Summit League was a directive of the Centenary Board of Trustees at its May meeting, according to Easton. The move doesn’t necessarily mean the Ladies and Gents are headed toward Division III status, however.

    “We’re still investigating the options out there,” Easton said. “Our new president (B. David Rowe), hopes to have this issue settled before he takes office on Aug. 1.”

    Centenary’s departure is likely to have little effect on the Summit, since most of the Ladies and Gents teams rarely contend for league titles. The softball team, which has won two postseason league crowns, is the only sport of the major four to win a title. Baseball, along with men’s and women’s basketball, have advanced to the postseason, however.

    “We are a league that is moving forward with a bright future,” Douple said. “We have nine strong members and a tenth member (South Dakota) joining our league for the 2011-12 season.”

    It took more than a year of work by former Centenary athletic director David Bedard to get the Gents and Ladies into then Mid-Continent Conference, consisting schools located mostly in the upper midwest. The face, as well as the name of the league, has changed during Centenary’s tenure in it. Departed is nationally recognized Valparaiso, along with Chicago State, while long trips to North and South Dakota States have been added.

  • D3hoops.com Daily Dose » Blog Archive » BREAKING NEWS: Centenary to D3 · July 22, 2009 at 10:04 am

    [...] The Case for Centenary (La.) and Division III [...]

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