In the past year, Kennesaw State’s enrollment increased by 9% to more than 41,000 students. It’s now the second largest university in Georgia.
The university’s recent growth coincided with the successful birth of its football program. Since starting play in 2015, the Owls are 48-15 and have won two Big South championships.
“We’re settled. We’re ready. We know who we are now,” Kennesaw State president Pamela Whitten said. “Now it’s time to make some traditions in football. We see the inclusion of these schools as really an important part of who we will become moving forward. We want that competition.”
Sports other than football at Kennesaw State have competed in the ASUN since 2005.
Even when Kennesaw State and North Alabama leave the Big South, the partnership between the two conferences will continue in 2022. They are in initial talks for an event called the ASUN-Big South Challenge where teams would compete on the final day of the regular season. Matchups would be determined in the middle of the season.
In another announcement, the ASUN said it is working to schedule a multiple-game series called the “United Atlanta Classic” that would begin either this year or the next. The conference is trying to create an entity that would work with mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Atlanta Sports Council to establish the game. No details about the game have been decided, the league said.
The next big item on Gumbart’s agenda is to attract at least one more school that plays football. Greg Seitz, athletic director at Jacksonville State, said the conference has to make sure any new schools value football the same as its current members.
Trying to move the ASUN from FCS to FBS isn’t an immediate priority, Gumbart said. He’d like to see it happen one day, though.
“Everyone has aspirations,” Gumbart said. “I like to put it his way: I’ve never been to New Zealand. I aspire to go to New Zealand. But I have no plan to do it right now. It’s not on my workflow chart. But it’s definitely a place I want to go. ... I just haven’t gotten to it yet. So today, we’re celebrating the birth of a new FCS conference.”