MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – Commemorating one of the longest-standing rivalries in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC), the athletic departments of Georgia College and Columbus State University have joined with the Pickle Barrel Café and Sports Pub to compete in the annual “Battle for the Pickle Barrel”.
With point values for on the field competition, grade point average and community involvement, the Battle for the Pickle Barrel will echo the core covenants of the NCAA Division II model.
The teams from both departments have been in heavy competition since both schools were members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The men’s basketball teams, for example first played in the 1971-72 season, when the squads split the season series one win each. The competition has always been tight, with the series histories in each sport caught within a few games.
Both athletic departments decided to make the move from the NAIA to NCAA Division II in 1990, becoming two of the seven charter members of the then-Peach Belt Athletic Conference, or PBAC.
The universities continue to mirror each other athletically, as both schools recently added volleyball to compete in the fall of 2013, hiring former college teammates. Both Columbus State head coach Casey Cornett and Georgia College head coach Gretchen Krumdieck were standout student-athletes at Wheeling Jesuit College.
The Barrel will be determined using a point system, with the winning team in head-to-head contests receiving one point per victory. In golf and cross country, the teams play in tournaments instead of head-to-head, so the PBC Championship finish will decide the points for those sports. The team with the higher two-semester GPA overall in comparable sports will also take in a point, while the school that raises more money for the annual Make-A-Wish fundraising efforts through the PBC offices will bring in another point.
The winner gets its Welcome Back Student-Athlete Picnic catered by the Pickle Barrel, and served by the losing school’s athletic director and other available staff.
At press time, CSU owns an 8-4 advantage, owning higher finishes at the PBC Championships for both men’s and women’s cross country, and taking regular-season and PBC Tournament soccer victories in the fall. During the winter season, the basketball programs split their home-and-home series as each team took care of business on their home court. So far in the spring, Columbus State took a pair of victories in tennis while Georgia College swept a doubleheader in softball.
The next match-up between the two programs comes Friday, April 12 at Ragsdale Field on the campus of Columbus State as the baseball teams kick-off a three game PBC series.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 11 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at www.twitter.com/BobcatSports and www.facebook.com/gcbobcats for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCBobcats.com for more information, and to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GC Athletics Hall of Fame.