by Alex Cooper, sports information student assistant
INDIANAPOLIS – The Georgia College athletic department, led by the Bobcat Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) ranked fourth in all of Division II in Make-A-Wish fundraising for the 2013-14 academic year, raising $9,385 for the foundation as announced by the NCAA recently.
"Philanthropic support is part of the DNA of our University and our student-athletes align with that spirit,” said Director of Athletic Wendell Staton. Under the guidance of (Assistant Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator) Ginger Chaffinch, our SAAC continues to grow in such a positive manner.”
The 2013-14 year also set a new Division II Make-A-Wish fundraising record, as student-athletes across the county raised over $567,000. Since 2003, Division II has raised almost $3.5 million and granted more than 470 wishes to children with life-threating medical conditions. The Peach Belt Conference (PBC) raised the most money as a conference, becoming the first to ever raise over $50,000 at $55,293.
Starting four years ago, the Georgia College SAAC has grown the fundraising from just $500 to over $9,000 this past year. The Bobcat tennis program raised $5,000 of the $9,000 from the proceeds of the Milledgeville Open, a tennis tournament open to the public that used to serve as a fundraiser for Bobcat Tennis.
Women’s basketball player Shanteona Keys (Roswell, Georgia), Georgia College SAAC President and National SAAC Representative, is quoted in the NCAA release saying: “I think it has a lot to do with the student-athletes and the attributes we like to hold to high esteem.”
The Bobcats also generated funds through the Student-Athlete Formal Dance as well as a number of raffles throughout the year.
“SAAC President Shanteona Keys has been the driving force behind the engagement of our student-athletes and has created the wildly successful student-athlete formal each spring, which has quickly become a tradition and a "must attend" event,” said Staton. “I want to give special thanks to (Head Tennis Coach) Steve Barsby and the tennis student-athletes. As opposed to putting these funds into the tennis program, they now use the Milledgeville Open specifically to raise funds for Make-A-Wish. This selflessness speaks volumes to the character and ideals of our tennis program."
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 @GCBobcats on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit GCBobcats.PhotoReflect.com to purchase photo prints from home athletic contests.