• Student athletes looking for new places to play after college merger

    By: Ross Cavitt


    COBB COUNTY, Ga. - Student athletes at one school are reeling from the news their teams have been disbanded after the college merged with another.
    Channel 2's Ross Cavitt found out the merger between Kennesaw State and Southern Poly Tech means some students will be looking for new places to play.
    “We knew it was coming but not like this,” said Southern Poly soccer player Avery Shepard.
    Cavitt spoke with a group of soccer players at Southern Poly. Their program in seven short years had become nationally ranked.
    They knew the merger with the much-larger Kennesaw State would someday swallow up their athletic department, but not this fast.
    “We had hoped to have the spring season, you know, to go out with a bang, so it’s kind of upsetting,” player Sekou Thornhill said.
    School officials said the athletes' scholarships will be honored, but there's no guarantee KSU will have playing time for them. In fact, KSU doesn't even have a sanctioned soccer program.
    So most players told Cavitt they'll be moving on.
    “We have to find a new school, you know, and you build relationships with people from the team and you just have to go your own ways and look out for yourself,” Shepard said.
    “I definitely thought we'd have a fall and I just feel bad for some of the guys that just got here in the spring. Just tough for a lot of guys, 'cause they came over from other countries and stuff. Just real tough. They're going to have to find someplace else to go,” player Tyler Budd said.
    It is another example, the athletes say, of the merger costing Southern Poly its identity.
    “Ten years from now, telling people you played Southern Poly soccer, they'll probably never remember that,” said Gabrielle Warner.
    School officials told Cavitt the basketball team will finish up its season, and for good, this weekend. The baseball team will continue to play this season. It will be the last Southern Poly team standing.

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