November 17, 2005
Americus - Georgia Southwestern got an early Christmas present on Thursday.
The Peach Belt Conference informed GSW president Dr. Michael Hanes that the Hurricanes application for membership has been accepted.
The Hurricanes will begin competing in the conference starting in the fall of 2006 and will now work to meet requirements to join the NCAA.
Georgia Southwestern has been wanting to join the Peach Belt for over a decade.
Athletic Director Randolph Barksdale says the NAIA is an organization dominated by private schools while the Peach Belt will allow Georgia Southwestern to compete against public schools that share the same mission.
It will also allow the Hurricanes to build some strong rivalries against schools like Columbus State, Georgia College and Augusta State.
Dr. Michael Hanes said "It also means a lot for the campus as a whole. To move to a conference where most of our sister institutions are competing now. That is an opportunity for us to renew some old rivalries."
Randolph Barksdale said "I think all of our sports are going to be excited about it. I think it is going to bring a competitive spirit to our campus. I think it is going to be a challenge for us."
The Peach Belt last year added North Georgia from the Southern States Athletic Conference which Georgia Southwestern is also a member.
GSW and North Georgia will replace Kennesaw State and North Florida who have moved to the Division I level at the NCAA.