Coming attractions: Centenary (La.)

Yesterday the Centenary College Board of Trustees voted to “reposition” the Louisiana-based school from Division I to Division III in two years. Until then the Ladies and Gents (great nicknames) sports teams will compete in Division I’s Summit League.

We’ve been following this story on the Daily Dose this summer. Check out earlier posts including some very insightful commentary from Ralph Turner.

The Case for Centenary (La.) and Division III

20 thoughts on “Coming attractions: Centenary (La.)

  1. To Centenary: Welcome aboard!

    I think it would be hard to argue that Centenary fits in better anywhere but Division III, with 854 full-time undergraduates. I believe it’s been on the record that Centenary has met with the American Southwest Conference and was expecting to meet with the Southern Collegiate Athletics Conference. The ASC is a perfect fit because it has just seven schools in its East Division, where Louisiana College and others already reside.

    It will be interesting to see if Centenary chooses to add football and boost its enrollment that way. That’s a strategy that has worked elsewhere. Although football carries with it start-up costs, you can literally grow by 200 students very quickly and make that back in tuition costs.

  2. YES!

    Welcome to D-III, Centenary!

    You don’t know how much you are wanted in this part of the country!

    Centenary provides another great liberal arts option for student-athletes in this part of the country.

    Your travel savings alone will be incredible, and your student-athletes can have a great experience.

  3. Is there any lower form of human communication than the comments section on a newspaper web site? Things are heated over at the Shreveport Times web site.

  4. Here is the aforementioned coverage by the Shreveport (La.) Times.

    It includes this snippet:

    “Getting into Division III won’t be as easy as saying they’d like to do so. The NCAA must approve the move and only allows about four schools per year to make the move, according to sources. It helps speed the move with conference affiliation, but the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference has already rejected Centenary and one of the Centenary trustee committees voted to spurn a membership offer to join the American Southwest Conference, which includes Louisiana College and ETBU.”

    While I’m glad to have another school in Division III, I understand the difficulty that others in the school’s community are having with the decision. Economics have forced a lot of places to make painful choices, whether its Centenary moving to D3 or Colorado College cutting football.

  5. Associated Press story from Baton Rouge…

    “The move to Division III athletics is just one small part of a much larger plan to reposition Centenary College for future long-term health and stability,” said Ed Crawford, the board’s acting chairman. …”

    Basketball prospects were not good at Centenary in D-1.

    “Even though it will compete in Division I this season, Centenary’s basketball team will not be able to vie for a national championship. The team was banned this spring from postseason play because of poor Academic Progress Rate scores. …”

    And it is possible that it could have gotten worse in 2009-10.

    “Next year, schools with four straight years of poor scores could face the NCAA’s most severe penalty, restricted Division I membership for the entire athletic department.

    As a result of the APR scores, Centenary also was banned from playing in the 2008-09 season-ending conference tournament.”

    And, it is just not athletics that is undergoing the reassessment.

    “Crawford said the board also endorsed other restructuring proposals including:

    — establishing a vice president of enrollment management to concentrate on the overall design and implementation of the college’s enrollment and retention strategies

    — increasing the budget for student life in each of the next five years to work toward the completion of special projects such as residence hall renovations and a Greek Village

    — restructuring academic programs to reduce the number of under-utilized majors.”

  6. Good comments on the SCAC message board by SCAC/Trinity alum Ron Boerger.

    The SCAC doesn’t have to jump yet to accept Centenary’s invitation. Any appeal to a conference could be made spring 2011 or 2012, and Centenary will not be ready to have a D-III playoff game until 2015-16. As for Centenary’s prosects of having a playoff game in D-1, there were ominous signs that that might have happened due to sanctions arising from its poor Academic Progress Report.

    For a conference that wants to cut expenses by reducing the number of contests by 10% , adding another division member that is “right smack in the middle” of Rhodes, Hendrix, Millsaps, Austin College and Southwestern is almost a no-brainer.

    Practically speaking, who in the SCAC would not trade Colorado College without football, for Centenary without, or better yet, with football?

  7. Getting into Division III won’t be as easy as saying they’d like to do so. The NCAA must approve the move and only allows about four schools per year to make the move, according to sources.

    I don’t believe the four schools per year restriction applies to schools changing classifications. Not sure Jimmy’s sources helped him out a whole lot there.

  8. The vitriol unleashed against the Centenary Board is astounding. I’m still trying to decide if the local writer’s attacks on DIII are from ignorance or to stir up controversy. Is it this bad for every transition from DI to DIII, however logical?

  9. Well, it seemed pretty bad when B-SC did it too. A similarly uninformed columnist leading the charge, fans who had only known D-I attacking the move in the comments.

  10. d3shreveport: welcome.

    There have been very few transitions from D1 to D3 in recent years; Birmingham-Southern was the first school since 1988 to make the move (according to B-SC literature, there have been only three in previous 25 years). Combine that with the general lack of knowledge about D3 in the mainstream media and by the “win at all cost” mentality of many D1 supporters and you get the kind of misinformed spewage you see from Watson and others. A school with such limited resources (numerically and financially) doesn’t belong in D1 athletics.

  11. Copied from the comments section of Tim Brando’s column above.

    The links go to the 2008-09 Directors Cup, the Summit League Commissioner’s Cup and to the NCAA APR report on Centenary, dated May 4, 2009.

    “The lack of football facilities is one of the big reasons that the Southland and Sun Belt did not want CC.

    Anyone looking at the CC job would see that a large percentage of the budget for CC was being put into maintaining a Division I-AAA (non-football) program. The school did not even score a single point in the Director’s Cup again this year.

    The athletics program finished 10th in the 2008-09 Summit League’s Commissioners Cup.

    The Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores for CC have the school receiving penalties in three sports and the fourth, baseball, is in danger of penalties.

    The Campus needs maintenance and repairs.

    The CC Board recognized this and acted.”

  12. President David Rowe has made an incredible hiring.

    Dave Voskuil has been a success at every school that he has been.

    Quotes from the Centenary press release of December 11, 2009 …

    “Voskuil is currently the Vice President for Enrollment Management at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, a position he has held since 2004. He has also held administrative positions at Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, Texas; the United States Sports Academy in Mobile, Ala.; Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth Texas; and North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, N.C.”

    In real terms, he knows D-III. As a college athlete himself at Lakeland (where he played basketball and still faithfully serves his alma mater), at North Carolina Wesleyan, where he instrumental in the start-up of a football program that has been successful in the USA South AC, and at McMurry where has increased enrolling classes by 30% over his 5+ year term.

    Dave Voskuil is an incredibly likable man. He never met a stranger, and he can positively sell the favorable attributes of his college with the highest degree of integrity. He knows how to bring Centenary to new heights of success.

    The recent NACUBO numbers on endowment show that Centenary had these endowments in the stated years.

    2004 $105.661M
    2008 $112.219M
    2009 $89.448M

    My assessment of the discount rate, the difference of what the stated tuition is versus what the student actual pays to the college (or is paid in her/his behalf) may be in the 50% range. All the money paid in athletic scholarships is money that could go to merit and need based students.

    If those students choose to play athletics, then good.

    If Dr Rowe wants to increase the enrollment of Centenary to help the bottom line, Mr Voskuil can help him do that. Where do Centenary want to be? Up from 874 students to 1100, a 26% increase? If they have the capacity to do that, then that may be an incredible accomplishment. It would not surprise me to see Centenary at level by 2016, if they choose.

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