The University of West Georgia is officially moving to Division One to compete in the Atlantic Sun Conference. On Sept. 8, the university announced the move after the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia voted on it. Our transition to Division One will elevate not only athletics but the university as a whole.
Although the university recently made the announcement, the move officially becomes effective on July 1, 2024. Currently, The University of West Georgia competes at the Division Two level in the Gulf South Conference, and we have been for the past 40 years.
“We’ve been a part of the Gulf South Conference for decades,” said Dr. Brendan Kelly, President of the University of West Georgia. “That has been a wonderful experience for this university, for the students we’re in service to, and for tens of thousands of alumni.”
This move represents the beginning of a new era for UWG, and maintains the university’s commitment to excellence. It also provides its student-athletes with the opportunity to compete at the highest level of collegiate athletics.
“This university has evolved to a place, and our collegiate athletics program has evolved to a place where we need to amplify the opportunities for student-athletes and for our institution as a whole,” said Kelly.
The Division One transition is the best way to give our student-athletes those opportunities. Those opportunities not only include our current athletics but the ones in the future as well.
“We will also be adding to our sports portfolio as a result of this move,” said Kelly. “We will be introducing, next year, men’s track and field, both indoor and outdoor. The plan after that includes both stunt and beach volleyball.”
However, after competing in Division Two for so long, one might wonder how UWG can compete and stay competitive with our future Division One opponents.
“Transitions are hard,” said Kelly. “Maintaining a competitive edge comes down to three things: student-athletes who want to compete, coaches who want to take them there, and the support of the institution behind them to give them the tools they need.
“But, during the transition, there’s going to be a lot of learning that goes on,” continues Kelly. “There’s going to be a lot of advancement that happens, but all of us are going to do that together.”
Togetherness and unity are a big part of this transition because the move influences every aspect of life at the university. However, one important thing for students will remain the same.
“The athletic fees that students invest in so that we can have experiences like that will not go up,” said Kelly. “We’re really utilizing the new diverse set of revenue streams that will be available to us to make all of this work.”
Unlike other university students who saw their fees increase when their school transitioned to Division One, UWG students will not have to worry about that. Also, UWG students’ game ticket prices won’t change either. Student tickets are free and will remain so after moving to Division One.
Major changes are coming to The University of West Georgia, and they will all provide new opportunities for future and current students, as well as the alumni who used to call this campus home.