IT MIGHT NOT BE CONDI RICE and Darla Moore breaking the gender barrier, but there’s more news out of Augusta, Georgia, home to the Masters, and also those back-to-back NCAA Men’s Division I golf champions, Augusta State. Here’s the deal. Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University are in the process of merging. The resulting school is set to be named Georgia Regents University.
Folks are not happy about this, to put it lightly. You can be sure it’s a topic of heated conversation at Augusta’s 10 or so Waffle Houses and elsewhere.
“I grew up in Augusta, and I had great pride playing for Augusta State,” golfer Carter Newman told Golfweek. “I can tell you right now, I wouldn’t have stepped foot on campus if it was named Georgia Regents University.”
According to Sean Martin’s reporting, there was “a lack of public input” and the new name did not do well in polling. “Georgia Regents University” didn’t crack the top three. “University of Augusta” got the most votes. Martin wrote:
Meanwhile, the ire of students, alumni and Augusta citizens builds. William S. Morris III, publisher of The Augusta Chronicle and a former chairman of the state’s Board of Regents, has resigned from a board at Georgia Health Sciences University, expressing his disappointment with GHSU president Ricardo Azziz and calling for the school to be renamed with “Augusta” in the title. Morris also is an Augusta National Golf Club member.
Josh Gregory, the school’s former golf coach who led them to consecutive NCAA titles in 2010 and 2011, said the Augusta State name was “a huge recruiting tool” and called Augusta “perhaps the most famous small town in the world.”
“I don’t know how they could have messed it up any more,” Newman added.
The team will compete as Augusta State during the 2012-13 season. Then, unless something changes, it’s goodbye Augusta, hello Georgia Regents.