Copyright 2014 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Southern Poly announced Monday the current season will be the last for its athletic teams as the Marietta school prepares to merge with Kennesaw State.
The merger, announced in November, is the fifth consolidation of colleges in the University System of Georgia. The merger is expected to be completed in August 2015, pending approval by an accrediting agency and the university system's board of regents.
Southern Poly has 88 student-athletes, 11 full-time coaches and three full-time administrative staff members, according to information released by the school this week.
Athletes who stay at the school will get to keep their scholarships during the 2014-15 school year, athletic director Matt Griffin said. It is not known whether those scholarships will be honored once the colleges are consolidated. Griffin said he was unsure Monday of the number of student-athletes currently receiving athletic scholarships.
Southern Poly athletes can try out for the new teams as can any other student, Griffin said.
Southern Poly fields four teams --- baseball, men's and women's basketball and men's soccer --- and plays against NAIA competition. Kennesaw State, a member of the NCAA Division I Atlantic Sun Conference, fields a much broader array of teams. Football begins play in 2015.
The university system's board of regents decided early in the consolidation process that the new school would be named Kennesaw State and adopt the Owls' colors and mascot.
Kennesaw State is Georgia's third-largest public university, behind the University of Georgia and Georgia State, with more than 24,500 students. Southern Poly's enrollment is about 6,500. The combined enrollment for the merged institution is expected to reach more than 31,000. Both campuses are expected to remain open.
The consolidation plans were proposed by Chancellor Hank Huckaby in 2011 as a way to cut costs and streamline the system.
The first four consolidations are expected to save between $5 million and $7.5 million annually. The latest merger is expected to save less than $5 million a year.