The NCAA has announced that the University of Saint Thomas (UST) Houston has been accepted as a provisional member. UST successfully completed their exploratory year last season and has already been accepted into the SCAC giving them 10 schools for the upcoming volleyball season.
Provisional membership is a four-year process during which time the school is not eligible for DIII tournaments. JWU (Denver), a fellow SCAC school, will be going into their second year in the fall. UST was previously an NAIA school.
With respect to the other SCAC teams, we learned last year that the results against JWU Denver didn’t count towards the NCAA selection criteria so initially there is no penalty or benefit with this addition. Looking forward it’s all a matter of how well UST performs and whether they can strengthen the conference (and the region). I personally think they are a great addition as it really opens up the Houston area for recruiting.
Another point to make is that this takes the SCAC to 10 members and evens up the schools. Last year, with 9 schools, the scheduling had to change and took up more weekends than past years. This, in turn, reduced the available weeks schools could play out of conference. I’ve reached out to the SCAC on this matter and will update this post when I get a response.
The SCAC is changing it up again with the addition of a 10th school. The end result is an extra weekend for out-of-conference play. I’ll have more information in a “musing” article this week.