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Georgia Highlands Begins Sports Program

The competitive, intercollegiate offerings will take place on the Rome and Cartersville campuses and at other locations.

students will begin playing competitive intercollegial sports by fall 2012, according to President Randy Pierce, who made the announcement today at a news conference in the gymnasium of the Floyd campus. The college has been researching the issue since last year, when it formed a study committee to look into the feasibility and interest in offering a program.

“Today,” said Pierce, “the Board of Regents approved an athletic fee for Georgia Highlands College, which will allow us to provide a program students have wanted for a long time. We will be joining the Georgia College Athletic Association of the National Junior College Athletics Association in the next few months, and will immediately begin a search for an athletics director.” 

Pierce said the athletics program should be ready to launch in the fall of 2012 with a basketball team on the Floyd campus. Preliminary future plans also call for baseball and softball teams, as well as soccer and tennis programs. All sports will include men’s and women’s teams. 

Last year GHC hired the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics to conduct a feasibility study on athletics. It also conducted a student survey to gauge the interest of students in such a program, and held a number of student and community forums to explore the issue among these constituencies. Ultimately, a new student fee to pay for the program was approved by GHC’s Student Engagement Council, and the results of the forums and studies all pointed to enthusiastic support for a formal athletics program. 

For the next few years, all GCAA activities will be run from Rome or Cartersville.  The other GHC sites can’t currently accommodate the facilities required to support teams. The Floyd campus, which sits on 226 acres of land 6 miles outside Rome, already has a gymnasium, as well as eight tennis courts and a soccer field. Additionally, it has the space to construct a baseball field if desired. 

The Cartersville campus encompasses 50 acres of land, and while there is currently no baseball field on the campus, there is room to create one at a later date.  In the meantime, the college can explore other options to use existing playing fields in Cartersville and Bartow County. 

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