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SUWANEE, Ga.- In a key piece of conference realignment news released Monday afternoon, the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference announced the addition of Concordia University Texas and University of the Ozarks–both current ASC member institutions–beginning in the 2024-2025 academic year.
Though neither of these two schools field football teams, the loss of two additional members of the ASC is poised to have a noticeable impact. With no additional conference moves through the summer of 2024, the ASC would have the following members entering the 2024-25 academic year: Mary Hardin-Baylor, Texas-Dallas, LeTourneau, Hardin-Simmons, East Texas Baptist, and Howard Payne. Texas-Dallas and LeTourneau are the only schools without football programs out of that group.
In order to retain automatic bids to the NCAA Championships for all sports, conferences must have at least six member schools participating in that sport. With no additional conference moves before 2024-25, the ASC would have four in football and track & field, five in cross-country, six in baseball, softball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis, volleyball, and men’s golf, and seven in women’s golf.
“We are overjoyed that Concordia University Texas and University of the Ozarks have agreed to become part of the SCAC family,” said commissioner Dwayne Hanberry in a press release from the conference. “Our membership is very familiar with both institutions and believe the two will seamlessly fit into the culture of our conference – a culture whose primary commitment is to broad-based athletic programs, gender equity, and the campus integration of student-athletes.”
This raises the SCAC to 10 member schools for 2024-25, with McMurry also having announced its departure from the ASC in October of 2022. Sul Ross State has also applied to Division II as of January 2023 and been invited to join the Lonestar Conference, per a press release. The release also stated that “SRSU will receive notification from the NCAA sometime this summer,” on its application to move up to Division II.
That is the extent of what is currently known. For UMHB in particular, this means it loses its travel partner in Concordia, for certain sports. The way the league is set up, for sports such as basketball and soccer, conference schedules are typically structured around “travel partners”, allowing a visiting program to play two conference opponents a reasonable distance apart within one road trip, thus minimizing the amount of travel. The travel partners for this past year were: UMHB/Concordia, Howard Payne/Sul Ross State, Texas-Dallas/Ozarks, ETBU/LeTourneau, and Hardin-Simmons/McMurry.
This article will be updated should any further information become available.