February 24, 2014: Southern Polytechnic State University athletics program will conclude with the 2013-14 season

Southern Polytechnic State University athletics program will conclude with the 2013-14 season

KSU and SPSU campus officials will work together to support student-athletes through consolidation

KENNESAW, Ga. (Feb. 24, 2014) — Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) officials today announced that the institution’s athletics program will be discontinued at the end of the 2013-14 season. Today’s announcement is aligned with the consolidation of SPSU with Kennesaw State University (KSU), as announced by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia in November.

SPSU currently fields four sports teams — baseball, men’s and women’s basketball and men’s soccer — which compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as a member of the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC).

SPSU will continue to fully support the affected teams as they compete through the remainder of their competitive seasons during the current academic year. In total, there are 88 SPSU student-athletes, 11 full- time coaches and three full-time administrative personnel directly affected by the decision to discontinue the program.

Currently active scholarships will be honored for all affected SPSU student-athletes who choose to continue their education at SPSU in the 2014-15 academic year, and subsequently at the new consolidated university. In addition, the student-athletes will be provided the opportunity to try out for Kennesaw State teams.

In addition to the opportunities within the new consolidated university, SPSU officials also will assist any student-athlete interested in transferring to another school to continue their athletic pursuits. Per NCAA rules, student-athletes who transfer because their athletic program was discontinued may compete immediately and not sit out a season.

“Out of concern for our student-athletes, coaches and staff, we wanted to make this announcement as soon as possible to provide them with enough time to explore the various options available to them,” said SPSU Athletic Director Matt Griffin. “We also respect the planning and scheduling implications this creates for the conference and wanted to make sure that SSAC officials also had enough time to prepare for next season.”

In addition to addressing the needs of the student-athletes, SPSU officials also will provide all employees affected by the changes with access to a full range of support services, including job search assistance, employee relations specialists and access to counseling services.

“We are committed to the academic and athletic success of all the student-athletes at Kennesaw State University and at Southern Polytechnic State University,” Kennesaw State Director of Athletics Vaughn Williams said. “We will work in every way possible with those affected by this decision to ensure their success either here or at other universities.”

With KSU and SPSU competing within the framework of different organizations, Kennesaw State will continue to play intercollegiate athletics at the NCAA Division I level.

KSU operates a wide-ranging sports program, including intercollegiate athletics, club sports and intramurals. Kennesaw State currently sponsors 18 intercollegiate athletic teams, including three of the four affected sports at SPSU — baseball and men’s and women’s basketball. The University’s intercollegiate athletics program is a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference in all sports except football, in which it will compete as an associate member of the Big South Conference when the program launches in Fall 2015.

Southern Polytechnic State University students have already been granted – and have already begun taking advantage of – the opportunity to attend Kennesaw State sporting events. Likewise, KSU students also have begun attending SPSU sporting events.

In addition to intercollegiate athletics, KSU also fields 38 men’s, women’s and co-ed competitive club sports teams. SPSU students will be able to participate in these club sports programs, beginning in the new academic year (2014-2015).

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia announced the consolidation of Southern Polytechnic University and Kennesaw State University on Nov. 12. A Consolidation Implementation Committee was named two weeks later including representatives from both universities. The timeline calls for the submission of the consolidation plan to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in October, with a decision rendered from SACS by December 2014. Final action by the Board of Regents regarding consolidation of the new institution will be forthcoming in January 2015.

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 90 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of more than 24,600 from 130 countries.

Southern Polytechnic State University is one of the fastest-growing universities in the University System of Georgia. Southern Polytechnic offers 57 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including architecture, computer sciences, engineering, new media arts, and technology-related fields to over 6,500 students on 203 acres in Marietta, Ga.

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