In February 2011, Shorter announced its plans to conduct a feasibility study regarding the possible move. "The feasibility study examined our current program of athletics and outlined how such a transition would affect the university," Peterson said. "We feel that the move to NCAA Division II will allow us to take Shorter Athletics to the next level in terms of name recognition. We are also appreciative of the emphasis that Division II places on the development of the total student-athlete. Several years ago, D-II created a program titled 'Life in the Balance' that is a great fit with our mission of not only winning athletic championships but also of developing student athletes who are well-rounded, well-educated and who leave Shorter with an understanding of the value of helping others."
If accepted into the NCAA Division II, Shorter would become a member of the Gulf South Conference. "The Gulf South Conference is delighted to throw its support behind Shorter University's application for NCAA Division II membership," said GSC Commissioner Nate Salant. "They bring a comprehensive and highly successful athletic program that includes football, a tradition of community engagement and outreach, and the kind of campus-wide support that emphasizes going to the games and matches.
"Shorter is clearly one of the institutions we need as we re-populate the GSC with like-minded institutions committed to winning regional and national championships and to academic integrity."
Since the feasibility study was completed, Shorter has hosted a visiting team from the Gulf South Conference. The conference has unanimously endorsed Shorter's application for NCAA Division II membership. A decision on Shorter's application should be made this summer, beginning a three-year transition period. During the first year, Shorter would remain a full member of the NAIA and be eligible to compete in national tournaments. During the second and third years, Shorter would have full NCAA Division II schedules, but would not be eligible for postseason play.
Shorter is currently a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), with which it has been affiliated since the 1950s. Today, Shorter athletics consists of 21 highly competitive sports teams for both men and women. The Shorter athletics program seeks to challenge student-athletes spiritually, academically and athletically so that they may be successful in their future endeavors. With a program based on faith, integrity, excellence, and scholarship, Shorter athletics is dedicated and committed to providing our student-athletes with the best college experience in the nation.
Shorter has served as host of the NAIA's football national championship event since 2008, and Peterson said the university's change in status could lead the NAIA to relocate the championship event at the end of the current contract. "Hosting the NAIA championship game has created approximately $5 million in economic impact for the Rome/Floyd County community over the past three years," Peterson said. "Now, with the possibility of hosting athletic events with schools such as Valdosta State, West Georgia and other members of the GSC, we could see additional economic impact that will rival those numbers."
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