Carrollton, GA – The University of West Georgia officially announces the transition to Division 1 by joining the FCS Division 1 ASUN (Atlantic Sun) conference. This move is a big deal and will have a massive impact on the university’s athletic department and how things are run daily.
For the 2023 season, the ASUN conference joined forces with the WAC (Western Athletic Conference) to create the United Atlantic Conference for football programs. This provides a greater region for outreach and eyes on the university. That increased attention will potentially bring in more recruits to what will be seen as a “larger” program. With top-of-the-line facilities, that outshine a lot of current Division 1 schools, the opportunity for more commitments leads to better overall recruiting classes. Big-time recruiting classes aren’t uncommon with teams in the newly formed United Athletic Conference; in the 2023 cycle, Austin Peay brought in the 4th ranked FCS recruiting class and the 5th overall FCS class, including high school recruits and transfers in football.
There’s more to it than just recruiting. Moving up to Division 1 allows our basketball team to make and compete in the NCAA March Madness Tournament. This past season, our men’s basketball team made the Division 2 tournament as an eighth seed after a great season, but as we’ve seen time and time again, making and winning games in the Division 1 NCAA tournament does big things for more than just your basketball program. In 2011, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) made the final 4 in the NCAA Tournament. In 2012, they saw a 20% increase in applications. VCU made almost $3.4 million more in tuition for the school during the 2012-13 academic year. That spike in applications and overall tuition at VCU is a prime example of the impact the Division 1 NCAA tournament can have on a university. An opportunity that will be available to UWG in July 2024.
This move to Division 1 brings partnerships with big-time media companies. The ASUN conference is partnered with ESPN, the world’s largest sports entertainment provider. Last year alone, the ASUN had over 300 events shown on ESPN+, and that’s not even including football. UWG sports broadcasted on ESPN will make games much easier to access and allow more people to see the university on a larger scale.
UWG transitioning to Division 1 is a very big deal. It will send waves throughout the community and any associated with the university, directly or indirectly.