Centenary announced Tuesday that it was dropping from Division I to Division III in all sports. According to the press release the Louisiana college released, the school will compete in the Summit League for two more years, and will honor the scholarships of current players.
“This is one part of an overall wide-ranging plan which will be implemented by incoming President Dr. David Rowe,” Ed Crawford, the acting chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees, said in a press release. “Centenary must and will restructure its overall strategy to achieve financial and academic stability. We on the Board look forward to working with President Rowe as he helps rebuild an even more firmly established Centenary College as a leading institution of higher education in the South and in the nation.”
Centenary has fielded athletic teams since 1894 and has been Division I since the NCAA started classifying schools. It has to get NCAA approval to drop to Division III, and money of course was cited as a primary driving force to downsizing athletics at the school. The Shreveport Times reports the school’s endowment is down by 20 percent and that it faced a $1.5 million athletics budget shortfall.
The Gents’ baseball program went 33-19 this season after a 30-26 season in 2008—the first winning seasons for the program since 1993. Coach Ed McCann had been making progress, selling prospects on the "Rice of the Red River," the "Princeton of the Pines," and the "Brown of the Bayou."
It now appears that progress will be for naught.
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