Faithful chromosome segregation during meiosis I depends upon the formation of connections between homologous chromosomes. Crossovers between homologs connect the partners, allowing them to attach to the meiotic spindle as a unit, such that they migrate away from one another at anaphase I. Homologous partners also become connected by pairing of their centromeres in meiotic prophase. This centromere pairing can promote proper segregation at anaphase I of partners that have failed to become joined by a crossover. Centromere pairing is mediated by synaptonemal complex (SC) proteins that persist at the centromere when the SC disassembles. Here, using mouse spermatocyte and yeast model systems, we tested the role of shugoshin in promoting meiotic centromere pairing by protecting centromeric synaptonemal components from disassembly. The results show that shugoshin protects the centromeric SC in meiotic prophase and, in anaphase, promotes the proper segregation of partner chromosomes that are not linked by a crossover.