Area colleges: Trevecca wants one last shot at TranSouth honors, titles

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 10:53pm

Last month, Trevecca Nazarene learned it had been approved as an NCAA Division II provisional member, subsequently ending its partnership with the NAIA.

Already, the TranSouth Athletic Conference appears to be more than ready to say good riddance to one of its original members.

At the league meetings this week in Henderson on the campus of Freed-Hardeman, the league athletic directors voted 8-1 — Trevecca’s Mark Elliott was the lone dissenter — to exclude the Trojans from competing for regular-season and postseason conference championships. Plus, Trevecca student-athletes won’t be eligible to win the TranSouth’s player of the week awards or be named to postseason all-conference teams.

The TranSouth schedule for 2011-12 still would include Trevecca but the Trojans would be treated like a non-conference opponent — with their wins and losses not counting in the conference standings.

None of these suggested changes, however, are set in stone. The nine school presidents have the final vote.

If the presidents approve the decisions, it could be a harsh end to Trevecca’s partnership with the TranSouth. The Trojans joined the conference when it was founded in 1996. The league was composed of many schools from the Tennessee Collegiate Athletic Conference (TCAC) and its predecessor, the Volunteer State Athletic Conference (VSAC). Of the TranSouth’s nine current members, only Bethel, Trevecca and Union started with the VSAC. 

“It is pretty heavy. We thought maybe we could maneuver around it a little bit more,” Elliott, who was hired last month, said. “We are going to abide by whatever the TranSouth says. ... I tried to bring up some discussion and people just kind of looked at me. It didn’t sway them.”

Trevecca isn’t the only TranSouth school leaving the NAIA.

Union, located in Jackson, also was accepted for NCAA Division II provisional membership. But what hinders Trevecca is that the school applied for Division II membership in consecutive years (unlike Union). By NAIA rule if a school does that, it is disqualified from the association and cannot compete in national tournaments.

Thus, if Trevecca captured a conference postseason tournament championship it would receive the league’s automatic berth to an NAIA tournament. Since the Trojans wouldn’t be eligible to compete, though, the TranSouth would lose a bid.

“I can see its logic but I disagree with it,” Elliott said. “To me there is enough damage in being excluded from NAIA postseason play because you are going to the NCAA. But I disagree with it because I think from a conference level we have been a conference member in good standing for a long amount of time. We pay conference dues like everybody else. We’re not receiving all the benefits that I think we could — not should — but could be entitled.”

The Trojans have applied for temporary membership in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) and, if approved, would be eligible to compete in regional and national tournaments as soon as this season. They wouldn’t be alone either as several other NAIA schools have also applied to the NCCAA as they let the NCAA process run its course.

“It is possible the NCCAA could become quite the tournament,” Elliott said. 

Since the Trojans can’t compete in NAIA postseason play, they aren’t eligible for individual All-American honors. Elliott says he has a problem with that legislation, especially on the conference level.

“That is wrong to me. That is not fair,” Elliott said. "Those individual players are playing that schedule. If they are better than somebody else and get voted to an all-tournament team, they should be all-conference or all-tournament. They should be able to get that honor. They didn’t have anything to do with us going Division II, with the decision.”

• Del Greco wins Alabama Open: Vanderbilt rising senior Trey Del Greco won the Alabama Open presented by Yamaha Golf-Car on Sunday.

The Birmingham, Ala., native shot a six-under par 210 at the Ol Colony Golf Complex in Tuscaloosa. He edged out professional Daniel Creele by one stroke.

A couple weeks ago, Del Greco was a Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar by the Golf Coaches Association of America. He was one of 178 Division I golfers on the team, which included recent Vanderbilt graduate Ryan Haselden.

Leaving Lipscomb: Former Brentwood Academy standout Brian Wright will not be back for his senior season at Lipscomb.

The 6-foot-6 forward averaged just 1.4 points and 6.8 minutes in 20 games last year. After redshirting the 2007-08 season, he played in 81 games over the next three years, averaging 5.0 points and 2.3 rebounds. He was named to the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman team when he averaged a career-high 6.7 points during the 2008-09 season.

Wright, however, does intend to finish his degree in corporate management at Lipscomb.

He is the second player to leave the program this summer. Sophomore guard Brandon Barnes transferred to California State University-Bakersfield to play for his father, Rod.

Skateboard record: Jeff Vyain, a former Belmont cross country runner, set the world record for skateboarding marathon on Saturday.

Vyain, a native of Indianapolis, set the world record with a time of 1:31:40, winning the marathon at the 26.2-mile course on Governor’s Island in New York. The race was part of the four-city Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon.

The 27-year-old Vyain, in fact, broke his own record of 1:40:58 which he set at the inaugural Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon in Hallandale Beach, Fla., last November.