TIFTON—The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Council of Presidents officially approved Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) for membership at its meeting on October 2. The membership is effective July 1, 2024.
“Joining the NAIA is a giant step for ABAC as we continue our transition to four-year athletics for all our sports,” said ABAC President Tracy Brundage. “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.”
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.
“All five applicants showed a strong commitment to athletics and supporting student athletes,” said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr. “Each of these schools brings something unique to the NAIA and we are proud to add them as members.”
ABAC has already been approved to be a member of the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC), which currently has 13 full-time members. Six of the SSAC’s members are in Georgia (Brewton-Parker College, Dalton State College, Life University, Middle Georgia State University, Point University, and Thomas University). Other members include Faulkner University, Stillman College, and University of Mobile in Alabama, Blue Mountain College and William Carey University in Mississippi, Loyola New Orleans in Louisiana, and the University of Tennessee Southern in Tennessee. Florida College and Dillard University in Louisiana are affiliate SSAC member schools.
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 in May. Both basketball teams will begin play in the 2024-25 season.
“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 ABAC athletic director Charles 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.”
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.