At least some of the students do, and they are supported by a number of individuals in the community and even the editorial staff at WALB.
Now, I doubt that UGA will be dipping into the JUCO ranks for players any time soon, and if Georgia did, it probably wouldn't be for more than one athlete every 5 or 6 years. However, this issue is bigger than UGA basketball, and it's even bigger than basketball in small towns and basketball in the state of Georgia. It's about the kids, and for that reason, I'm blogging about it.
The student-athletes at ABAC are just that. They are student-athletes. And in that sense, they aren't "just that." They're "all that." Guys and girls who love the game of basketball, enough to travel on buses to compete against other small schools in small arenas. However, watch the video. The kids are big on effort. They give it their all night in and night out.
While there is a chance that ABAC players will get noticed and earn a scholarship to a four-year institution, the vast majority of the kids know that this is their moment. And they are seizing it. Many of the players not only produce on the court, but also in the classroom, earning GPA's of over 3.0.
Cutbacks are tough, and there will be more painful impacts from reduced state revenues. And sure, it's small school basketball and it may seem that the game might not merit the continued investment of scarce state resources. However, ABAC basketball is no doubt a valued part of the overall student experience, and the game provides a great outlet for the players and quality entertainment in southwest Georgia and beyond.
Maybe the alumni can pull together and make a statement. Perhaps a wealthy member of the community can step in-- I'm not sure to do what, but step in, nonetheless.
There are no easy answers. But I'm not looking for an easy answer-- just the right one. And the elimination of basketball altogether, in my very humble opinion, is not it.
Let's get bball back at ABAC.