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COLLEGE ATHLETICS: Centenary to leave Summit

The Summit League -- a conference UND has said it would like to join -- is losing a member. Centenary College in Shreveport, La., has notified the Summit League that its last year in the conference will be 2011. The announcement does not come as ...

The Summit League -- a conference UND has said it would like to join -- is losing a member.

Centenary College in Shreveport, La., has notified the Summit League that its last year in the conference will be 2011.

The announcement does not come as a surprise. Centenary has struggled greatly since it joined the league in 2003 and it has been rumored that the school will consider dropping its athletic programs to the NCAA Division III level.

The Summit League said Wednesday that outgoing Centenary president Ken Schwab notified them about the school's intent to pursue other opportunities. Interim president Michael Easton told the Shreveport Times that the move is related to financial and geographical reasons.

The University of South Dakota will become a member in 2011, which will keep the league at 10 teams.

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UND has made it clear that it would like to join the Summit League, as it is a good geographical fit. North Dakota State and South Dakota State currently are members.

It is unclear how this move will affect UND's hopes to get in the league. But South Dakota was admitted as an 11th team earlier this year.

The Summit League also has said that a half-dozen teams have showed interest in joining the conference.

Summit League commissioner Tom Douple released a short statement about Centenary's departure on Wednesday.

"We respect Centenary's decision to re-evaluate the direction of their athletic program," Douple said. "In difficult economic times, hard decisions have to be made and we wish them all the best in the future. Centenary has been a good member since joining the league in 2003 and we look forward to their final seasons of competition.

"We are a league that is moving forward with a bright future. We have nine strong members and a 10th member (South Dakota) joining our league for the 2011-12 season."

Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to bschlossman@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: LOCAL SPORTS
Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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