Student athletes at Aiken Technical College will soon have to find another program if they are to continue competing in men's basketball or women's softball.
In the following press release, ATC officials announced the discontinuation of the school's intercollegiate athletics programs:
Aiken Technical College will discontinue its intercollegiate athletics programs at the end of the Spring 2013 semester. The decision to discontinue the Knights men's basketball and Lady Knights women's softball programs is a result of declining resources that have traditionally been available to two-year colleges.
The college takes great pride in the achievements and leadership of its student-athletes and acknowledges the contributions of both current athletes and the many alumni who have participated in ATC's athletics programs over the years.
“We are proud to have provided our students the opportunity to compete in intercollegiate athletics while pursuing their academic goals, and we have consistently been impressed with their successes,” said ATC Athletics Director and Dean of Student Development Dr. Vinson Burdette. “The decision to discontinue the athletics programs was a difficult one, but we believe it is the right choice in order to best serve the entire student population and fulfill the college's mission.”
ATC will continue to assist current student-athletes in pursuing their goals. Student-athletes who remain at ATC will receive an extension of their existing scholarship support through the end of the Spring 2014 semester. Student-athletes who decide to transfer to another institution to participate in athletics will be aided in the process by ATC staff.
“We want to make sure that our student-athletes complete their educational goals,” said Burdette. “It is important that ATC keeps its promise of educational support to our athletes and that we do everything we can to guide them in their transitions to further educational achievement and athletic success.”
The men's basketball program began in 1991 and the Knights have achieved national rankings and major tournament wins in the program's history.
The Knights were Division 1 Region 10 Conference Champions in 2006, 2007, and 2008, and Tournament Champions in 2007 and 2008. After winning the District 3 championship, the team participated in the NJCAA National Tournament in 2007. The Knights ended the 2012-2013 season with a 12-16 overall record and a 6-7 record in Region 10.
The women's softball program began in 2004, and the team's current record is 28-20 overall and 16-4 in Region 10. The Lady Knights played their way to a Region 10 Championship win last April, were named District J champions, and made an appearance at the 2012 NJCAA National Tournament in St. George, Utah, last May. They will compete in the Region 10 tournament to be held later this month at Citizens Park and Aiken Technical College.