Aiken Tech discontinuing athletics program

News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The news release cites lack of resources as the reason to halt the men's basketball and women's softball teams. (WRDW-TV)
The news release cites lack of resources as the reason to halt the men's basketball and women's softball teams. (WRDW-TV)

GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WRDW) -- It's the end of an era for Aiken Technical College. The school is ending its athletics program.

That means after this season, there will be no more women's softball or men's basketball team.

The school's Athletic Director Dr. Vinson Burdette said it was a difficult decision to make, but he says it just comes down to resources.

A court that has been full of players since 1991 will be empty next season now that Aiken Technical College has decided to end its intercollegiate athletics program.

"Every year the college assesses what its priorities are, and this decision is part of our planning for the next fiscal year and looking at the projected resources, how we could best utilize those and how we can serve the broadest range of students we possibly can," said Dean of Student Development and Athletic Director of Aiken Technical College Dr. Vinson Burdette.

As this season rounds to an end, so will the men's basketball and the women's softball teams. It's a difficult decision for a college that has prided itself on many championships over the years, and students are sad to see it go.

"Being at Aiken Tech you don't live on campus, so the athletics kind of keep people together in a way. I know they're really bummed out there's no more basketball," student Hannah Burton said.

"I feel like it's not fair because a lot of students come to this school to join and participate in those programs, and it helps them pay for their studies," student Pierce Floyd said.

The scholarship money is one thing Burdette says won't change.

"Our top priority is to support the 14 students that would have been returning the next academic year, and we have committed to provide for them the same level of scholarship funding that they received during their first season of competition this year," he said.

The April 8th decision was just released to the athletes yesterday and is still sinking in, but Dr. Burdette says this decision is about benefiting the most number of students possible.

"Hopefully they can put that time and money into something else," Burton said.

With the end of the athletics program, Burdette says now the areas they plan to prioritize are employment preparedness and student placement services to help students transition into the workforce.

He also says their student athletes are highly sought after, and he's confident they'll have multiple options once other institutions learn the news.

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