Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference
Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference logo
DivisionDivision III
Sports fielded
  • 19
    • men's: 9
    • women's: 10
Former namesCollege Athletic Conference (1962–1991)
HeadquartersLawrenceville, Georgia
CommissionerD. Dwayne Hanberry
Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference locations

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 Colorado, Louisiana, and Texas. Difficulties related to travel distances led seven former members to announce the formation of a new Southeastern US-based conference, the Southern Athletic Association, starting with the 2012–13 academic year.

Prior to 1991, the conference was known as the College Athletic Conference (CAC). The commissioner of the SCAC is Dwayne Hanberry. The chair of the Executive Committee of the SCAC is Danny J. Anderson, Trinity University (Texas) president.


Chronological timeline

Member schools

Current members

The SCAC currently has nine full members, all are private schools:

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment U.S. News
Endowment[2] Nickname Joined Colors
Austin College Sherman, Texas 1849 Presbyterian 1,291 82
(National: Lib. Arts)
$134,746,000 Kangaroos 2006    
Centenary College of Louisiana Shreveport, Louisiana 1825 United Methodist 500 167
(National: Lib. Arts)
Gentlemen &
Colorado College Colorado Springs, Colorado 1874 Nonsectarian 2,011 31
(National: Lib. Arts)
$720,085,000 Tigers 2006    
University of Dallas Irving, Texas 1956 Catholic 3,255 13
(Regional: West)
$45,630,000 Crusaders 2011    
University of St. Thomas Houston, Texas 1947 Catholic
(Basilian Fathers)
1,626 26
(Regional University: West)
$78,360,000 Celts 2019    
Schreiner University Kerrville, Texas 1923 Presbyterian 1145 8
(Regional College: West)
$62,946,000 Mountaineers 2013    
Southwestern University Georgetown, Texas 1840 United Methodist 1,536[4] 65
(National: Lib. Arts)
$255,955,000 Pirates 1994    
Texas Lutheran University Seguin, Texas 1891 Lutheran ELCA 1,400 3
(Regional College: West)
$89,986,000 Bulldogs 2013    
Trinity University San Antonio, Texas 1869 Nonsectarian[a] 2,487 1 / TBD
(Regional University: West
National: Lib. Arts)[5]
$1,725,000,000[6] Tigers 1989    
  1. ^ Partially affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.

Affiliate members

The SCAC currently has two affiliate members, both are private schools. McMurry University and the University of the Ozarks are affiliate members for men's and women's swimming and diving only. McMurry was accepted in June 2014 as an affiliate member starting in the 2014–15 school year.[7] The University of the Ozarks was approved as an affiliate member in February 2016 to begin competition in the 2016–17 school year.[8]

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joined SCAC
McMurry University Abilene, Texas 1923 United Methodist 1,430 War Hawks 2014–15m.sw.;
men's swimming & diving;
women's swimming & diving
American Southwest
University of the Ozarks Clarksville, Arkansas 1834 Presbyterian 630 Eagles 2016–17m.sw.;

Former members

The SCAC had 16 former full members, all were private schools:

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joined Left Current
Birmingham–Southern College Birmingham, Alabama 1856 United Methodist 1,600 Panthers 2007–08 2011–12 Southern (SAA)
Centre College Danville, Kentucky 1819 Presbyterian 1,215 Colonels 1962–63 2011–12 Southern (SAA)
DePauw University Greencastle, Indiana 1837 Methodist 2,400 Tigers 1998–99 2010–11 North Coast (NCAC)
Earlham College Richmond, Indiana 1847 Quakers 1,181 Quakers 1984–85 1988–89 Heartland (HCAC)
Fisk University Nashville, Tennessee 1866 United Church of Christ
800 Bulldogs 1983–84 1993–94 Gulf Coast (GCAC)
Hendrix College Conway, Arkansas 1876 United Methodist 1,400 Warriors 1992–93 2011–12 Southern (SAA)
Illinois College Jacksonville, Illinois 1829 UCC & PCUSA 1,000 Blueboys &
Lady Blues
1980–81 1982–83 Midwest
Johnson & Wales University Denver, Colorado 1914 Nonsectarian 1,291 Wildcats 2018–19 2019–20 N/A[a]
Millsaps College Jackson, Mississippi 1890 United Methodist 1,146 Majors 1989–90 2011–12 Southern (SAA)
Oglethorpe University Atlanta, Georgia 1835 Nondenominational 1,000 Stormy Petrels 1991–92 2011–12 Southern (SAA)
Principia College Elsah, Illinois 1910 Scientist 550 Panthers 1974–75 1983–84 St. Louis (SLIAC)
Rhodes College Memphis, Tennessee 1848 Presbyterian 1,690 Lynx 1962–63 2011–12 Southern (SAA)
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Terre Haute, Indiana 1874 Nonsectarian 1,970 Fightin' Engineers 1974–75,
Heartland (HCAC)
Sewanee: The University of the South Sewanee, Tennessee 1857 Episcopal 1,383 Tigers 1962–63 2011–12 Southern (SAA)
Washington and Lee University Lexington, Virginia 1749 Nonsectarian 2,203 Generals 1962–63 1972–73 Old Dominion (ODAC)
Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, Missouri 1853 Nonsectarian 14,070 Bears 1962–63 1971–72 University (UAA)
  1. ^ Johnson & Wales–Denver discontinued its athletic program after the 2019-20 school year. Later the school closed in 2020.[9]

Former affiliate members

The SCAC had one former affiliate member, which was also a private school. The University of California, Santa Cruz was an affiliate member in men's swimming and diving only during the 2013–14 school year.[10][11]

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joined Left SCAC
University of California, Santa Cruz
(UCSC, UC Santa Cruz)
Santa Cruz, California 1965 Public 19,700 Banana Slugs 2013–14 2013–14 men's swimming & diving Coast to Coast (C2C)

Membership timeline

University of St. Thomas (Texas)Johnson & Wales UniversityTexas Lutheran UniversitySchreiner UniversityCentenary College of LouisianaUniversity of DallasBirmingham–Southern CollegeColorado CollegeAustin CollegeDePauw UniversitySouthwestern UniversityHendrix CollegeOglethorpe UniversityTrinity University (Texas)Millsaps CollegeEarlham CollegeFisk UniversityIllinois CollegePrincipia CollegeRose–Hulman Institute of TechnologyWashington University in St. LouisWashington and Lee UniversitySewanee: The University of the SouthRhodes CollegeCentre College

Conference overview

Prior to the 2012 conference split, the SCAC fielded competition in baseball, basketball, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, outdoor track and field and volleyball. With membership greatly reduced and in flux, some of these sports (field hockey, women's lacrosse) no longer have enough participants (zero and two, respectively) to allow the conference to sponsor them. In addition, after struggling with only four football playing schools for several seasons, the conference in November 2015 announced football would be discontinued as a conference sport effective the 2017–18 school year, with football playing institutions affiliating with either the American Southwest Conference[12] or the Southern Athletic Association.[13] On July 21, 2018, the conference announced that men's and women's lacrosse would once again be offered as conference sports, and made a commitment to holding an eSports championship in 2019.[14] With only four schools fielding women's lacrosse teams, and five men's, the conference champions will not qualify for an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs.

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 the Division I programs—namely men's ice hockey and women's soccer—do not compete in the SCAC. (The conference does not sponsor ice hockey for either men or women.)

The conference had 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 spread across the southern US. 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 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.

On June 9, 2010, DePauw University announced that it was departing the SCAC for the North Coast Athletic Conference. Like Rose-Hulman, DePauw cited "a less strenuous and more environmentally friendly travel regimen for our teams." DePauw became a member of the NCAC for the 2011–12 season except for football, which will join for the 2012 season.[15]

On September 22, 2010, the University of Dallas announced that it had accepted an invitation to join the SCAC at the beginning of the 2011–12 academic year.[16]

The May 10, 2011 issue of the DePauw college newspaper, The DePauw, reported that four schools (Centre, Sewanee, Hendrix, and Rhodes) were considering leaving the conference at the end of the 2011–2012 school year, ostensibly due to travel issues and issues relating to the conference splitting into two divisions.[17] As the two reasons were somewhat exclusive (e.g. divisions would reduce overall travel), and other regional conferences would offer similar issues, it remained to be seen at that time what the schools planned in a post-SCAC world.

After the conclusion of the June 7, 2011 SCAC Presidents' meeting, the conference announced that seven of the twelve schools would be leaving to form a new, more compact conference based in the Southeastern US. This transition was effective at the conclusion of the 2011–12 academic year. The schools departing include founding SCAC [CAC] members Centre, Sewanee, and Rhodes, in addition to Birmingham-Southern, Hendrix, Millsaps, and Oglethorpe. Berry College will also join the newly formed Southern Athletic Association.

The SCAC intends to remain a viable entity, enlisting other schools which subscribe to the SCAC charter. Commissioner D. Dwayne Hanberry will remain with the conference to oversee that effort, which will be complicated by the paucity of unaffiliated Division III schools in the SCAC's new region of Texas and Colorado.[18] Reflecting that challenge, the conference has sought new members from the American Southwest Conference, whose geographical footprint is similar to that of the "new" SCAC. On September 28, 2011, Centenary College of Louisiana announced it would join the SCAC beginning in the 2012–13 season.[19] Two more ASC schools joined the SCAC for the 2013–14 season: Schreiner University announced their decision on January 23, 2012,[20] and on February 16, 2012, Texas Lutheran University announced it too would join the SCAC.[21]

Football will no longer be sponsored by the SCAC beginning in the 2017–18 school year.[22] The conference had four schools playing in 2015 and 2016: Texas Lutheran University, Austin College, Southwestern University and Trinity University. Texas Lutheran University and Southwestern University will play football as affiliates in the ASC, while Austin College and Trinity University will be affiliates of the Southern Athletic Association.

A much-needed travel partner for isolated Colorado College will join the conference in 2018. On February 21, 2017, the conference announced that the Denver campus of Johnson & Wales University would join the conference as it transitions from the NAIA to NCAA Division III, after the school's "exploratory year" in 2017–18. It is expected that the school will not be eligible for conference championships or NCAA playoff bids until the transition to Division III is complete, per typical NCAA practice. The conference has already announced plans to pursue a tenth institution to better balance travel and scheduling requirements.[23]

On February 14, 2018, the University of St. Thomas - Houston announced it would become the SCAC's 10th member after completing an exploratory year in Division III. SCAC competition would begin in the 2019-2020 season.[24]

The most recent membership change was announced in June 2020. On June 25, Johnson & Wales University announced that it would close its Denver campus at the end of the 2020–21 school year due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and would accept no new students at that campus effective immediately. The following day, the Denver athletic program was shut down.[25]

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 2020-21 school year, the President's Trophy was awarded to Trinity University for the 21st time, and tenth-straight season, both conference records.[26] The 155-point margin of victory (over second-place Southwestern) was the third-largest in conference history.

NCAA national championship teams and individuals

SCAC members have won a total of ten NCAA team championships and 34 individual championships.

Team champions:

Individual champions:

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 Learfield IMG College Directors' 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. Trinity again led the way in 2018-19 when it placed 36th nationally; Texas Lutheran, at 73rd, was the only other conference member in the top 100 of 323 ranked institutions.[27]

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.[28] 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 represented the first time since 1988 that a Division I school had changed affiliation to Division III.[29] In 2012, Centenary College of Louisiana joined the SCAC, after leaving Division I in 2011; however, its initial partner in the transition from Division I was the American Southwest Conference.


  1. ^ "College Rankings - Best Colleges - US News".
  2. ^ "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY2014 to FY2015" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 31, 2016.
  3. ^ "Rankings | Colleges with the largest endowment - Most endowment money | State | Louisiana (LA)".
  4. ^ "Southwestern: About Southwestern". Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  5. ^ "Trinity University Reclassified as National Liberal Arts College". Trinity University. January 20, 2022. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  6. ^ "Trinity University Endowment Report 2020-21". Trinity University. November 7, 2021. Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  7. ^ "McMurry (Tex.) Joins SCAC as Men's and Women's Swimming & Diving Affiliate Member". July 3, 2014.
  8. ^ "University of Ozarks joins SCAC as Men's and Women's Swimming Affiliate Member". March 11, 2016.
  9. ^ "JWU Denver ends all athletic programs". JWU-Denver Athletics. JWU-Denver. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  10. ^ "UC-Santa Cruz Joins SCAC as Men's and Women's Swimming & Diving Affiliate Member". May 31, 2013.
  11. ^ "Swimming and Diving Schedule 2014-15".
  12. ^ "Southwestern; Texas Lutheran Accept Football Affiliate Membership Offer from ASC". December 3, 2015. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  13. ^ "Austin College; Trinity Accept Football Affiliate Membership Offer from SAA". November 18, 2015. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  14. ^ "xxx". July 1, 2018. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 30, 2010. Retrieved January 14, 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "University of Dallas to join Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference - Dallas". September 22, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2015. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  17. ^ "Four schools consider SCAC departure in 2012". thedepauw. Archived from the original on September 19, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  18. ^ "Major Changes for the SCAC Following 2011–12 Academic Year - SCAC". June 7, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2015. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  19. ^ "Centenary College to Join Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference". Archived from the original on July 6, 2012.
  20. ^ "Schreiner University". Archived from the original on August 5, 2012.
  21. ^ "Texas Lutheran University Bulldogs - Texas Lutheran University to join Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference". Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  22. ^ "Southwestern; Texas Lutheran Accept Football Affiliate Membership Offer from ASC". December 3, 2015. Retrieved December 25, 2015. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  23. ^ "Johnson & Wales (Denver) Becomes Ninth SCAC Member". Southern Collegiate Athletic Association. February 21, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  25. ^ "JWU Denver ends all athletic programs" (Press release). JWU Denver Athletics. June 26, 2020. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  26. ^ "Trinity Wins 10th Straight SCAC Presidents' Trophy Title". May 21, 2021. Retrieved June 16, 2021. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  27. ^[bare URL PDF]
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 13, 2007. Retrieved May 30, 2006.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 20, 2010. Retrieved January 2, 2009.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)