It’s an exciting time to be a sports fan at ABAC! October 2, 2023, ABAC was officially chosen to join the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
According to a statement from the NAIA, prospective schools must meet criteria that include financial stability, sports sponsorship, accreditation, and a commitment to character-driven athletics before being approved. Aside from ABAC, four other schools (Baptist Bible College, Defiance College, New College of Florida, and Spartanburg Methodist College) were also granted NAIA status this month.
NAIA’s president and CEO, Jim Carr, said, “[ABAC] showed a strong commitment to athletics and supporting student athletes. [ABAC] brings something unique to the NAIA and we are proud to add them as [a member].”
So, what exactly does this mean for ABAC’s athletes? In joining the NAIA, ABAC’s athletic programs will receive a boost in funding, which means the potential for higher quality gear and equipment, free gear for athletes, and more opportunities for athletic scholarships.
ABAC’s Tracy Brundage said, “Joining the NAIA is a giant step for ABAC as we continue our transition to four-year athletics for all our sports. We are excited about moving to a higher level of competition, and we look forward to establishing new rivalries with the teams in our conference.”
ABAC’s proposal to transition to four-year athletics, as well as its proposal to bring back men’s and women’s basketball, was approved by the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents at its monthly meeting back in May.
Basketball was discontinued at the college back in 2008 but is coming back in full force. Both basketball teams will begin play in the 2024-2025 season.
“Participation in a four-year athletics conference will allow ABAC to continue to build our brand,” Brundage said. “Athletics can bind a campus community together with a sense of pride and identity. It’s more than just a logo or a mascot. A brand embodies mission, character, history, and legacy that has an emotional impact. ABAC has that and this move will help us further our mission athletically and academically.”
ABAC’s Athletic Director, Charles Wimberly, was happy to add his input on the situation as well.
“We are so excited to be in the NAIA and the Southern States Conference and for our athletic programs to be competing on the four-year stage,” said Wimberly “This will give our student athletes the opportunity to play all four years of their athletic careers at ABAC. It is truly an exciting time to be a part of ABAC and its growth into the future for our student athletes and our college,” he said.
While these new developments in basketball are certainly exciting, don’t let it distract you from all the other sporting opportunities that ABAC already has in place.
ABAC currently fields teams in baseball, softball, men’s golf, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s cross country.
ABAC’s membership into the NAIA is effective July 1, 2024