|With just four teams in the SCAC for football, some teams have played each other twice in a season. All four teams will do so in 2016, but in 2017 Austin College and Trinity will move to the SAA for football.
Photo by Joe Fusco, d3photography.com
In 2011, seven schools broke away from the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference to form their own league, leaving four football programs behind in creating the Southern Athletic Association.
It took the SAA until 2015 to get an automatic bid. And to fill out a conference schedule, the SAA had added affiliates in the University of Chicago and Washington University-St. Louis. This past June, before Wash U and Chicago had played a single SAA game, they were already announced as leaving.
The SAA will fill that gap with Austin College and Trinity (Texas), two schools that they left in 2011. AC and TU start play in the SAA in 2017. With just Southwestern and Texas Lutheran remaining in the SCAC for football, the conference will no longer sponsor the sport.
The Southern Athletic Association has seven full members of Division III aside from Wash U and Chicago, so if automatic bid-qualifying rules remain the same, the SAA's bid will not be affected.
"Scheduling had become increasingly difficult for our football-playing members," SCAC commissioner Dwayne Hanberry said. "As it became less likely that an internal option or even expansion would solve this problem, the league's Executive Council agreed that other options should be explored.
"I am pleased that Austin College and Trinity have found a new football home and I anticipate a similar result as Southwestern and Texas Lutheran continue to weigh their options."
"We are thrilled to add Austin College and Trinity University as full football members in the fall of 2017," SAA commissioner Jay Gardiner said. "Both schools share the core principles of dedication and determination that the SAA and NCAA Division III embody, and they will be excellent additions to our conference."
"When it became clear this summer that expansion beyond the current four teams was unlikely, each of the presidents agreed that their programs would seek an associate membership for football that best served its individual interests," said Stuart Dorsey, Texas Lutheran's president. "That turned out to be the SAA for Austin and Trinity, and we wish them well.
"For Southwestern University and Texas Lutheran, a football conference affiliation within Texas will serve us best by controlling travel costs, minimizing lost class time for students and building traditional local rivalries. We will be working with Southwestern University and other Texas independent universities to explore these options in the coming weeks."