Hendrix College to Join New Athletics Conference, Add Teams

New Conference Map 

CONWAY, Ark. (June 7, 2011) — Hendrix College will join seven fellow NCAA Division III institutions in forming a new athletic conference. Spanning six states, the new conference also will include Berry College in Georgia, Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, Centre College in Kentucky, Millsaps College in Mississippi, Oglethorpe University in Georgia, and Rhodes College and Sewanee – The University of the South in Tennessee.

All but Berry are current members of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC). The seven members announced their intention to leave the SCAC effective July 1, 2012, at the 2011 annual meeting of the SCAC. The new conference will begin competition during the 2012-2013 academic year.

The new conference is being formed to foster athletic competition and cooperation among academically selective, residential liberal arts colleges located in the southeastern region of the United States. The geographic focus will result in reduced travel time and costs, while still allowing for a strong conference of like-minded institutions, all of which integrate competitive athletics into the whole of the student’s educational experience. 

“Hendrix is honored by the invitation to join our historic rivals and academic peers in an exciting new era of intercollegiate competition,” said Hendrix President J. Timothy Cloyd. “The new conference will more closely resemble the makeup of our academic consortium, the Associated Colleges of the South, further ensuring the continuity of mission in our academic and athletic programs.”

Given the success of the SCAC over the last 20 years, the decision to start anew was difficult. Formed in 1991, the SCAC grew out of the College Athletic Conference, which was formed in 1962 by three of the colleges in the new conference (Centre, Rhodes and Sewanee). The new conference will continue in this same tradition of academic and athletic excellence. 

As it moves to the new conference, Hendrix will introduce two new sports – men’s football and women’s lacrosse. Following a year-long feasibility study, the Board of Trustees authorized the new sports in 2008. As discussions of a new conference progressed, the Board asked the administration to develop a plan to start both sports in the 2013-14 academic year.

The new athletic conference and new teams will continue the College’s commitment to NCAA Division III competition. NCAA Division III is a non-scholarship division, meaning student athletes do not receive financial assistance for their participation in sports. Other NCAA Division III schools include Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon, Washington & Lee University, and Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

“In NCAA Division III, student athletes at Hendrix have had an extraordinary opportunity to compete with peers who share their mutual love of sportsmanship and scholarship,” President Cloyd said. “As a result, they have become leaders on campus and, as alumni, often single out their intercollegiate athletics experience as a hallmark of their Hendrix education. The new conference will continue this life-changing tradition for our student athletes.”

Jay Gardiner, who currently serves as athletics director at Oglethorpe, will serve as the new conference’s interim commissioner. Oglethorpe president Lawrence Schall, who currently chairs the SCAC executive committee, will serve as convener of the conference’s Presidential Council during the 2011-2012 academic year. Brian Chafin, athletics director at Centre, will serve as convener of the Athletics Director Council in 2011-2012.

The new conference held its first official meeting the afternoon of Tuesday, June 7 in Atlanta, Ga., immediately following the conclusion of the 2011 annual SCAC meeting. Questions regarding the new conference may be directed to President Cloyd at president@hendrix.edu or John Roush, president of Centre College, at john.roush@centre.edu or 859-238-5220.

To learn more about NCAA Division III athletics, read more on our website.

Hendrix, founded in 1876, is a selective, residential, undergraduate liberal arts college emphasizing experiential learning in a demanding yet supportive environment. The college is featured in the 2010 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country’s best 371 colleges, was identified as the nation’s top “Up and Coming” liberal arts college for 2011 by U.S. News and World Report, and is ranked among 45 “Best Buy” colleges by the 2011 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.