NCAA denies YHC athletics
By Ethan Burch, Sports Editor
This year, Young Harris College was been denied membership of the National Collegiate Athletic Association for the third consecutive time. With yet another denial, students and fans are left to wonder why this would happen.
“The NCAA really does not give you a point blank, specific reason for your denial,” said YHC Athletic Director Randy Dunn. Instead, the NCAA gave YHC a list of seven reasons that led to their denial by the NCAA.
While Dunn did not elaborate on the seven reasons given by the NCAA, he had developed a conclusion of what the reason for denial could be.
“We suspected that the denial was due to the fact that we did not have a championship sport in the winter season,” said Dunn. This means that YHC must have a sport for each season in which the NCAA sponsors a championship.
The NCAA divides its schedule into three seasons, with those being fall, winter and spring. In order to be a member of the NCAA, a school has to have a team sport in each of the three seasons. The school must also meet minimum game requirements and minimum participation in each of the three seasonal sports.
For example, if a cross country team only has four runners as opposed to the five that are required to compete, the team did not participate in that meet.
“At this point, we feel that we have everything in place as far as minimum requirements. And, upon completing the season this year, we should be ready to apply again,” Dunn said.
YHC will also compete against all four-year institutions instead of two-year schools in order to get ready for an NCAA membership bid.
“We will submit our membership application prior to June 1, 2011, with all the documentation that is required, and we should get an answer somewhere in mid-July from the NCAA,” Dunn said.
YHC is considering joining two conferences upon acceptance in the NCAA. The first conference is the Peach Belt Conference and the other is the South Atlantic Conference.
“One thing that a school must receive is an offer for conference affiliation,” said Dunn. “The SAC, however, is not interested in receiving any institutions that do not sponsor football; And, at the current time, Young Harris does not have any plans to start football.”
YHC has been in discussions with Peach Belt Conference Commissioner David Brunk for over a year, and there is an interest by the Peach Belt for having YHC as a conference member.
“Most schools in the Peach Belt are state supported schools with the exception of one school which is Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL.,” said Dunn. “We would be the smallest school in the Peach Belt, as far as enrollment numbers, but we feel that with what YHC has to offer as far as an institution, that we will fit well and will fit the mission of the colleges in the Peach Belt Conference.”
Dunn went on to emphasize that nothing has been offered or committed and YHC is just in the discussion phase of presenting their case to the school presidents of the Peach Belt Conference. Dunn is confident, however, that YHC would be a good fit for the conference.
“Our institutional mission as well as our mission statement of athletics would fit well with the schools already associated with that conference,” Dunn said.
As part of YHC’s aspirations to join NCAA, Dunn discussed plans to expand the college’s current sport offerings, including discussions of a potential lacrosse program.
YHC will now look to a full season of basketball to decide their fate with the NCAA.