College of The Bahamas announces affiliation with U.S. athletic bodies

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The College of The Bahamas (COB) on Tuesday, September 18 announced a partial affiliate membership with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Florida Sun Conference (FSC) allowing “fixtures” or matches against American college teams that would count toward a seasonal record.

“Regular competition is, of course, very important, so to guarantee this, the college applied to become the first member of the NAIA and the FSC from outside the continental United States, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Greg Harshaw, the college’s Athletic Director.

He said membership would mean a regular schedule of matches against colleges in the conference, but as COB has not been accredited by the NAIA, full membership could not immediately be granted.

However, Mr. Harshaw said, this year, the Council of Affiliated Conferences and Independents, a committee within the NAIA structure, met to consider COB’s position and made the decision to grant a two-year exception, allowing what effectively amounts to affiliate membership of the conference. A site visit to assess facilities will take place during those two years and should lead to full membership in 2009.

“This ruling means games played between COB and FSC schools will count on the schools’ record and is a huge step forward for the college’s teams and the athletics program,” Mr. Harshaw said. Florida Sun schools will be far more motivated to arrange fixtures with the COB teams knowing that the results mean something and count on their record.

“This in turn will give COB athletes more regular exposure to international sporting competition and will undoubtedly mean more competitive teams. It will also be excellent preparation before joining the conference proper in two years’ time.”

The College of The Bahamas’ (COB) Athletic Director Greg Harshaw at a press conference on September 18, announcing the college’s partial affiliate membership with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and Florida Sun Conference (FSC). COB President Jayne Hodder looks on.
(BIS photo: Kris Ingraham)

To this end, Mr. Harshaw said he has not only been steadily adding sports and teams to the program but has also established links with colleges and universities in the United States that have provided competition and international exposure for COB’s athletes.

“In this way, COB athletes are able to measure themselves in competition against athletes from similarly-sized schools in the United States and can set benchmarks for future progress and development,” Mr. Harshaw said. “The College is carrying out its mandate of attracting Bahamians to college at home while at the same time connecting them to the world.”

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