Baseball,  Basketball,  Blog,  College Football,  Football,  Men's College Basketball,  UWG,  Volleyball,  Women's College Basketball

UWG Announces Athletics Move to Division 1 ASUN Conference

Carrollton, GA- Today, Dr. Brendan Kelly, president of the University of West Georgia, announces that UWG has officially begun their transition to NCAA Division 1 in athletics. The Wolves will leave the Gulf South Conference, their home since 1983, and join the Atlantic Sun Conference on July 1, 2024. The ASUN’s headquarters is a rock throw from West Georgia’s campus in Atlanta, Georgia.

ASUN is shining bright in Carrollton, and Kelly strongly believes that West Georgia’s campus is a strong fit for a Division 1 program.

“Our university was built around having lots and lots visit it for athletic events.” UWG is currently the 2nd largest public campus in the state of Georgia and has a larger football stadium on campus than current USG Division 1 university and former ASUN Member Kennesaw State, who is leaving the conference next year for Conference USA.

In football, the Wolves will compete in the United Athletic Conference, also known as the UAC. The conference is a merger of UWG’s new home, the ASUN, and the Western Athletic Conference. The UAC was officially founded on July 1, 2023. Members of the UAC include Austin Peay, who is coming off an ASUN Conference Championship in 2022, and Stephen F. Austin, who won the WAC last season with a record of 6-5.

West Georgia’s departure from Division 2 and the GSC means its long-standing rivalry with Valdosta State will come to a seemingly permanent end. The Wolves have owned the rivalry as of late, beating the Blazers in football, basketball, volleyball, and soccer within the last year.

Although UWG is losing one rival, they’re gaining a previous rival: The University of North Alabama. UNA was a budding rival of West Georgia’s in football as a former Division 2 member of the GSC until it left in 2017. UWG has a 2-2 record against the Lions all-time, with their last matchup resulting in a 37-23 Wolves victory six years ago.

Excitingly, UWG games spanning all sports will be streamed on ESPN+ under the ASUN’s current deal with ESPN. To watch the Wolves compete in the GSC, fans have had to pay a fee of $30 a month. 

“It elevates everything at the university,” says Kelly.

Transitioning to Division 1 also has the Wolves’ sights on new additions to their athletic department. West Georgia is officially adding a men’s indoor and outdoor track and field team next year, and the university has plans to add beach volleyball and stunt to its athletic portfolio.

While moving up a division could mean initial struggles for West Georgia Athletics competitively, there is a strong confidence that UWG will remain competitive in a strong conference. Dr. Kelly commented that maintaining a competitive edge will come down to 3 points.

 “Student athletes who want to compete, coaches who want to take them there, and the support of the institution behind them.” There’s strong confidence on campus that UWG checks all three boxes.