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Augusta United programs hopes to open doors for more athletes

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 6:29 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - On National Signing Day, there were a number of local players who signed with Augusta United.

So, what exactly is Augusta United and how does it help local athletes earn college scholarships? It’s not just a college, and it may not even cost athletes a year of NCAA eligibility.

“Division two or higher. That’s what we want to promote all our kids for. Division two or higher,” Head Football Coach TJ Norris said.

Norris spent the last few seasons calling defensive plays at Hephzibah High. Now, he’s the head coach of Augusta United, which hopes to offer graduated seniors a second chance at a football scholarship.

The program just opened its new facility on Friday.

“It is a training center, but it’s not only a training center for the physical. It’s a training center for the mental. It’s a training center for mental. It’s a training center for the emotional. And it’s a training center for the spiritual,” Cornell Harris, founder, and athletic director, explained.

And the target enrollee is a graduating high school senior who may have flown under the recruitment radar.

“Those guys will be here for six months. So, from June to December,” Norris said.

During that time period, the players will be taking courses at East Georgia State, while still working out and, of course, playing games against similar programs.

“The season begins in August, and right now, we have a total of ten games already scheduled. We already have a conference and everything,” Norris said.

And more games, means more game footage. That footage will be sent out to various colleges and hopefully, a scholarship can be earned.

If a player is able to pick up an offer, they won’t lose a year of NCAA eligibility.

If they aren’t able to pick up an offer, the player can re-enroll for another year and continue to take courses. That will cost one year of NCAA eligibility.

Currently, Augusta United has 40 players enrolled, with up to 63 spots still available.

The program hopes to have more sports next year, including boys and girls basketball and track and field. In two years, they hope to expand to add baseball, softball, and lacrosse.

The cost is $5,500 for remote learning athletes and $7,000 for those who sign up for housing. They will be able to offer housing for signees outside the Augusta area, but they are still working out those details.

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