In the final moment of the 2014-15 athletic year for UNCG, infielder Tripp Shelton grounded into a season and Southern Conference-ending putout against the Citadel in last year’s Men’s Baseball conference tournament.
As the concluding play of a UNCG athletic year that saw both elevated highs and basement-level lows, Athletic Director Kim Records affirmed that regardless of the results of the last sporting year, August 2015 is the start of a fresh beginning for all student-athletes at UNCG.
“The start of a new season is always exciting because you get to start over,” Records told The Carolinian. “You have returners, so you have student-athletes who have been here for multiple years, so we have senior student-athletes who are embarking on their last hurrah. And then we also have newcomers with so many freshmen who are excited to be here and anticipating what their team will be like…”
Preparing to begin her seventh year as the athletic director of UNCG, Records, who is known for her work behind the scenes of the field and in the business offices of the Coleman Building, is not only proud for her returning and new athletes, but also for the sight she now sees around campus. A blue and gold sight, which the school struggled with when she first arrived to UNCG.
“I think when I came in 2009, there was a renewed commitment to improving the competitiveness, accessibility and visibility of the program” Records shared. “And so we have spent a lot of time focusing on those things. From increasing the visibility as it relates to student-athletes and their relationship with the students on campus, I see more Blue and Gold and Spartan gear than I did in 2009 and would like to continue the growth of student enthusiasm and spirit.”
And in this contest to strengthen the athletic program at UNCG, like the athletes who don the Blue and Gold, Records has shared in both triumph and defeat. Leading a program that recruits athletes who, as Records emphasized, were “first and foremost here to get an education,” as exemplified by the 113 student athletes who made the Southern Conference Honor Roll last school year, Records has also seen troubling difficulty as the athletic director of UNCG.
In June, after self-imposing a one-year probation period, UNCG was placed on a two- year probation by the NCAA for failing to properly certify athletes across 13 sports from 2007-2008 through 2012-2013.
The punishment also featured a vacation of wins and a $5,000 fine. When the violations were first brought to Records’ attention, she explained that the department understood their mistake and sought to immediately correct them.
“When we discovered the violation, we immediately self-reported,” Record said. “And we did that because that is the right thing to do. We have a responsibility to the institution of the NCAA since we are a member, so there was never any question of self-reporting.”
With the desire to make up for the department’s past mistakes and to get back on the field of play, Records is eager to begin watching the first games of the new athletic season. And with this idealistic sentiment for college sports, where every new season brings the chance for successful possibilities, the athletic director is convinced that not only will campus sports elevate the spirit of the school, but is a practice all students of the university should try to experience.
“I think part of going to college is participating and supporting your peers. So my belief is that college athletics is one of the few things on a college campus that is completely unifying. It brings people together for a common goal” Records said.
“And I think it’s an opportunity to support other students, its fun, and it’s part of college life, just like living on campus” Records added. “And while we certainly have great community support for many of our sports, I know many of our student athletes would say there is nothing like having students there.”