SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – Many are worried about what will happen to the athletics department at Armstrong if this merger goes through.
In his statement about the merger, the Board of Regents chancellor made valid points about how it could strengthen academics at the schools, but no mention of athletics and alumni and students are concerned.
“All of a sudden you’re out of work and don’t have a job, this is effecting lives,” says former coach BJ Ford who is responsible for creating several of the university’s women’s athletics after Title 9.
It’s not just classes you’d see under a new logo if the GSU/ASU merger goes through athletics departments may also change in a big way.
“We’re very successful, we’re national champions in tennis, we compete nationally in almost all of our sports to think that it could just be gone is just overwhelming,” says former soccer and basketball player Morgan Mitchell.
Armstrong holds thirteen national titles in their women’s and men’s tennis programs. The division two athletic department has 170 current student athletes, a multi million dollar 2016 budget, and hosts hundreds of home games bringing in dozens of teams to stay and support the Savannah economy.
“When they applied for school or accepted a scholarship it was to Armstrong, it wasn’t to Georgia Southern all of these kids aren’t going to Georgia Southern and participate, where are they going,” asks Ford.
The fear around campus is that they’ll be out in the cold if the merger happens.
“Right now there are a lot of questions that nobody has the answers to and I don’t understand that,” says Ford.
Official in the athletic departments at Georgia Southern and Armstrong would not comment on the merger and referred us to the Board of Regents who has not yet responded.
“It’s more than just the education that we are going to receive, Armstrong is great in many ways both in athletics and academics and it’s just the atmosphere that we want to keep,” says Jamie Baker who played on the teams inaugural women’s soccer team.
The board will vote Wednesday on whether to study the merger. If it passes, committee’s will be formed to figure out the specifics.