WILSON, N.C. — January 30, 2018 — Barton College is bringing NCAA DII collegiate football to Wilson. On Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, the Barton College Board of Trustees made the bold, unanimous decision to approve a football program for the Barton campus in Wilson.
Barton’s decision to integrate football into its NCAA DII athletics program is based in the College’s commitment to its mission of providing programs and opportunities to encourage the intellectual, spiritual, social, and cultural development of its students. Barton’s mission fits well with the NCAA Division II philosophy, which states that “the educational well-being and academic success of the participating student-athlete is of primary concern.” In prior years, Barton College has been the recipient of multiple Allan Sharp Awards, recognizing annually the Conference Carolinas member institution having the highest academic success rate among student-athletes. The award looks at the graduation rate, gathered by the NCAA, for student-athletes over a six-year period of time. Barton expects to continue and cultivate its commitment to academic excellence among student-athletes.
In alignment with the College's BartonBold Strategic Plan, the addition of football will intentionally focus on campus vibrancy, institutional growth and vitality, and balance in the current gender ratio of 70/30 women to men.
Energy around the football program will also strengthen and encourage greater levels of involvement and engagement from all across the campus and community. In addition, Barton's appreciation for deep and meaningful traditions can translate to new opportunities for students, alumni, and friends to connect to the College and create lasting memories, while fostering school spirit. Strategic growth will further Barton's influence in the community, region, and beyond.
“This is an exciting time for Barton College,” shared Dr. Douglas N. Searcy, President of Barton College. “During the past three years, Barton College has focused on being bold. We’ve set that course of action internally for our faculty and staff. And, everyday, we are moving forward boldly, addressing new initiatives and doing tremendous work with our students. We know that we also have to make choices institutionally that will continue to expand our footprint and provide new and exciting opportunities for our students as well as positively engage our friends and partners in the community. Bringing football to campus is exactly that kind of bold choice. Football will undoubtedly create a tremendous surge of energy and enthusiasm among students, as well as faculty, staff, alumni, and the Wilson community.
The Board’s decision was made following great thought and deliberation. This decision followed on the heels of a feasibility study, which included trustees, faculty, staff, alumni, community members, and student participation. Complemented by an administrative review, a number of detailed analyses were conducted, which included business, enrollment, financial aid, and social models to ensure a successful fit for the Barton College community.
The next step will be the appointment of an Implementation Team (which will include faculty, staff, and student leaders) that will oversee the process of officially establishing the football program on campus. An effective implementation of the Barton football program will rely on the successful selection of the right coach, building appropriate facilities to support the program, and continuing to provide an environment of safety and well-being for our student-athletes, while instilling a healthy attitude toward competitive excellence. The College is committed to a healthy integration of the football program into the Barton Experience.
The Implementation Team will be charged to make decisions concerning timeline, conference affiliation, coaching choices, scheduling, recruitment processes, contact information, and internal facility planning, among other details. Further information will follow in the coming weeks regarding the inaugural season. The College is committed to a healthy integration of the football program into the Barton and Wilson communities.