Comets to face new ASC foe

UTD will gain a new conference adversary this fall, after the American Southwest Conference, added Centenary College of Louisiana to the East Division.

Centenary, a private liberal arts college in Shreveport, La., competed in The Summit League at the Division I level in all sports until officially joining the ASC on July 1.

The school announced its intention to leave Division I in July 2009 and was accepted into the ASC in April 2010, according to the ASC’s website. Centenary’s four-year transition into Division III began in Sept. 2010.

Although Centenary will not be able to compete in postseason play in any of its 13 athletic programs for its first three seasons in the conference, UTD head volleyball coach Marci Sanders said wins and losses against the “Gents” and “Ladies” of Centenary will count in the standings.

With just 887 undergraduates, Centenary was among the smallest of all Division I members. David Rowe, the school’s president, announced the college would phase out 22 of its majors during the next few years — amounting to half the majors, according to ABC TV affiliate KTBS in Shreveport. Rowe said in his interview with the news station that Centenary has been “spreading (its) resources quite thin.”

Since it was announced that the private United Methodist school would drop down two rungs in the NCAA ladder, athletic director Tom Tallach and head basketball coach Greg Gary have departed, according to reports by The Shreveport Times, which also reported that since the transition was announced, several important athletes transferred to other D-I programs, leaving Centenary with rosters largely made up of D-III recruits playing at the highest level of collegiate athletics. This proved to be a huge setback for the basketball program last season, as the Gents posted a measly 1-29 record in 2010-11.

The move expands the ASC to a 16-team conference while McMurry attempts to reclassify to Division II. During the process, McMurry will still compete in the ASC, according to the conference’s website.

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