The tournament remains on neutral ground for the 11th consecutive year, thanks to a one-year agreement with the Greater Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Rome Braves, which will jointly host the five-day tournament at State Mutual Stadium from May 4-8. The GSC Tournament returns to the Peach State for the first time since 2001, when Valdosta State hosted the event on its campus.
"We could not be more excited about making the move to State Mutual Stadium in Rome, GA,” stated GSC Commissioner Nate Salant. “The City has worked hard to win the bidding for the event, and the Braves are not only providing us with a great venue, but are also stepping up as active co-hosts. We are very grateful to Lisa Smith and (Rome) Braves' GM Mike Dunn for this opportunity. They came after us, spent a lot of time showcasing their city and facility, and the result is the start of a great new chapter for Gulf South Conference baseball.
"Although we were disappointed when USA Stadium (the home of the GSC Tournament for 11 years) declined to continue the relationship, fortune smiled upon us and we are heading to a state-of-the-art facility in a much larger city with a history of local support for every sports event its Convention & Visitors Bureau brings to town. When our student-athletes take the field, they will be 'wowed,' and will feel that this is a truly special event.
"Another advantage is that we bring one of our championships to the northeast part of our footprint, which has not seen one since we held our golf championships in Rome in 2000. We expect large turnouts from our West Georgia, Alabama-Huntsville and Valdosta State fans, and lots of greater Rome supporters as well. Another benefit is that it puts the Tournament in Shorter University's backyard, and with Shorter playing a full GSC schedule next year and becoming a full member for 2014-15, we want their fans to get to know us, too."
Smith, the Executive Director for the Greater Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau, expressed her excitement about the agreement.
“Rome and Floyd County are very excited about hosting this prestigious championship," she said. "The entire community wins each time a tournament is hosted here. We are very fortunate to have a facility like State Mutual Stadium and the cooperation with the Rome Braves that we can extend this major league feel to their athletic experience.”
Dunn echoed the benefits of bringing the GSC Tournament to his facility,
“The Rome Braves are proud to be community partners with the CVB to allow for the playoffs and championships to take place. It will be a great opportunity for the public to turn out to watch good collegiate baseball.”
Salant also addressed the parameters for the one-year agreement.
"The reason is that the franchise agreement between the Braves and Rome is currently year-to-year, so they were not able to sign a longer deal," he explained. "It is quite clear that all parties want the GSC Tournament to make Rome its long-term home."
The GSC is home to 29 NCAA Regional and six National Baseball Champions, including the 2011 Division II National Champions, the University of West Florida Argonauts.