ASC adds Centenary (La.)

The American Southwest Conference announced Monday that Centenary College of Louisiana has accepted its invitation of membership to the NCAA Division III conference. The announcement was made during a news conference on the Shreveport, La., campus.

Centenary, currently competing as a Division I institution in The Summit League, announced in July 2009 that it would seek reclassification as a NCAA Division III member. The school will make its application to the Division III Membership Committee in May. The start date for membership in the American Southwest Conference will be determined following Centenary's selection into the Division III membership education program.

"The American Southwest Conference is pleased to welcome Centenary College of Louisiana to our membership and to support the college's transition to NCAA Division III affiliation," Amy Carlton, commissioner of the ASC, said.

"Centenary College brings to the ASC a strong academic profile and a commitment to athletics as part of the student's overall collegiate experience – both cornerstones in Division III and the American Southwest Conference."

With the addition of Centenary (La.), the ASC will return to a 16-member level for the first time since the 2006-07 academic year. Geographically, Centenary is centered among the ASC East Division schools with the opportunity for athletic rivalries to form quickly within the division as well as with ASC West Division programs.

"This is great day for Centenary College and the ASC," Centenary president David Rowe said. "We are thrilled to join this conference and look forward to the new rivalries and increased spirit that it will bring to all of our schools."

Centenary fields teams in 13 ASC sports, including baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball. Additionally, Centenary competes in women's gymnastics and swimming and diving. Its men's athletic teams are nicknamed "Gents" while the women's programs are nicknamed "Ladies." The athletics mascot is Skeeter, a Catahoula dog.

"The addition of Centenary will strengthen the competitive profile of the ASC championship sports," Carlton said. "In the broader picture, Centenary's Division III membership benefits not only the ASC, but Division III institutions and conferences across the south and southwest."