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AU to Add Football in 2024

Observer Reports

Anderson University announced today the school's first football program, after receiving a $3 million challenge gift. An additiona $3 million is needed to field a team. 

“After years of discussion, careful consideration and operating from a position of academic and financial strength, Anderson University’s Board of Trust is adding a Trojan football program as its next successful athletic team,” said Anderson University President Evans P. Whitaker. “In the past several years, Anderson has experienced exponential growth in enrollment, added innovative academic programs and enjoyed the best national and regional rankings in the history of the University, among them being recognized as 27th in the nation for student engagement by the Wall Street Journal, and being named an Apple Distinguished School for the last six years. With this firm foundation, and the magnificant gift we’ve secured, the time is right to offer Trojan football to our community.”

Upstate South Carolina philanthropist and friend of Anderson University, Dr. Melvin Younts, is providing $3 million as a challenge gift in support of the initiative. University officials are seeking partners to realize Dr. Younts’ gift and bring in a total of $6 million to launch the program. The goal is to field a team for the 2024 season that will play NCAA Division II competition as a member of the South Atlantic Conference (SAC). 

“The Trojan football program is being built on the same foundation that has made Anderson into one of the best Christian universities in the country,” said Vice President for Athletics Dr. Bert Epting. “Our administration will recruit student-athletes and coaches who are excellent ambassadors of our university who excel on and off the field. The future of Anderson University in general—and our athletic program specifically—is very bright.”

“Launching football from a position of strength means two things: that football will maintain Anderson’s student selectivity and high academic standards, along with its equally high standards for student-athletes’ personal and professional development, and that paying for football will not take resources from existing academic, athletic or student-life programs," Whitaker said. 

South Atlantic Conference members that field football include longstanding members Carson-Newman University, Wingate University, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Mars Hill University, Newberry College, Tusculum University and Catawba College.

Anderson University currently fields 18 intercollegiate athletic teams, with men’s lacrosse beginning play in 2021.

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