I think it makes sense as to why they went through with it as far as the money part, but for the athletics it sucks. I would say that it puts the most pressure on freshmen and sophomores since they have to transfer if they want to keep playing- which is what I plan on doing. It is a little stressful that most programs have already done their recruiting for next year, but I am looking at it as an opportunity. Our team was already close before this happened but I think it actually brought us closer since we aren’t sure if this will be our last season together or not.
After finding out about the merge, I was initially worried about my teammates, other athletes, and their futures. As a Student-athlete I couldn’t imagine my life without sports, and the way this merge would dissolve Armstrong Athletics is absolutely crushing. This merge, however, is so much more than just about the athletics. The futures of staff and current students hang in the balance. From whether that staff member will have a job in a year or if that student’s major could be taken away, all hang up in the air. Being active in protesting the merge was definitely a priority for me. I was initially contacted by Casey Couch about a merge opposition video, and everything took off from there. Athletes, students and alumni were all contacted about the video, and that we were showing our opposition of the merge on campus. I edited and filmed the video as well as attended the protests on campus. So regardless of the outcome of the merge, no one can say Armstrong didn’t go without a struggle.
Personally, this merge is not having a dramatic effect on me at this specific point in time, as I am graduating in May; however, I will never be able to come home to my Pirates ever again. Over the last four years I have made huge strides educationally and personally, been given so many incredible opportunities, and most importantly, made so many friends I now consider to be my family all because I came to Armstrong, not Georgia Southern. When I leave Armstrong in May, I am going to be leaving everyone behind in shambles, when I originally expected to leave everyone to finish what they started, but now, they are being stripped of their chance to even finish it. Despite all of this stress and uncertainty that has been placed upon all the athletes and faculty, we remain strong and ready to take on the spring semester. If this is our last semester to prove ourselves, we are going to show everyone exactly what they will be missing when they cut our program. They may be able to take away the future of the Pirate athletics, but there is no way for them to take away everything we have accomplished while we were here. Once a Pirate, always a Pirate!
I just am upset that all this is happening and we didn’t even have a say. I feel so bad for Coach Eric and Coach Kayley who have spent so much time and put so much work into this program to have it just taken from them and then all the younger girls have to leave if they want to continue a soccer career. I hate how this decision was made by a few people whom it’s not even affecting, and the people who’s lives are being changed by it don’t even have a voice in the matter.
As an athlete, I think that the merge is quite unfortunate. For the athletic department to have just reinstated Woman’s Cross Country so it can be taken away so quickly is incredibly heartbreaking. We barely got a chance to prove ourselves and develop our program. I don’t want to transfer but I want to play my sport more than anything and this merger is giving me no choice but to consider transferring due to the cut in athletics. I fell in love with Armstrong the moment I visited, and came expecting to spend 4 years as a pirate athlete. Ultimately I came here to play the sport I love. It truly breaks my heart knowing there’s nothing I can do to save our programs. Our team has had a talk about this and you could feel the disappointment settle through the room. Although we didn’t necessarily hear good news, every single person on the team showed and continue to show their loyalty to Armstrong athletics.
I feel this merge is extremely unfortunate. It is impacting far more students and Savannah residents than the Board of Regents are choosing to accept. Many student athletes and administrators have yet to be given information regarding our futures here at Armstrong. We are having to plan to lose our jobs at a school we all chose to become apart of. As stressful as starting a new semester is, many of my fellow athletes are also struggling with the lack of ability to know whether to start looking for other schools to further their education and athletic career – this itself is making this new year begin much more stressful than it should be for most. Personally, this ends my athletic career. I am so far into my Cell Molecular Biology degree it is unrealistic for me to transfer and potentially lose credit hours when I am so close to graduation. From the talk around our team, I wouldn’t want our young players to hope for the best and stick around while losing opportunities to further their education elsewhere. Our team has been so successful, and our individual talent does not deserve to be unseen by other college coaches. This is why all we ask for is answers regarding athlete futures. We are having to take chances and hope to have futures elsewhere with only uncertainty to back up our decisions. That is scary to anyone.