College Sports

Mercer's Backlund adds honor to growing resume

Nick Backlund may have started the season as an unknown to A-Sun pitchers, but he changed that pretty quickly, and he may be the most known hitter in the conference in 2013.

The rising junior at Mercer picked up another honor by being named to the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings all-South Region first team.

He was the lone A-Sun player picked, and joined by Georgia pitcher Alex Wood.

Backlund, a native Californian who played one season at an Oregon junior college, led the A-Sun with a .381 batting average and .668 slugging percentage as well as 85 hits and 149 total bases.

He finished in the top 40 nationally in total bases and slugging as well as home runs (12th) and RBI (32nd).

It's the third straight year Mercer has had an ABCA/Rawlings selection. Jacob Tanis made the second team in 2010, and was joined by Joe Winker in 2011 on the second team.


FVSU has new tickets plan

A new ticket plan will be in place for Fort Valley State football this fall in hopes of decreasing the athletics department's deficit.

The costs rise, as do benefits.

Packages start at $70 for recent alumni to $1,000, and include extras ranging from a key chain to stadium chair.

The packages:

$125 - first choice of available seats in the reserved seat sections V & S, a Fountain City Classic ticket ($25) and a donation to the athletics program.

$250 - same as $125, plus: VIP parking, mention in game programs, concession meal ticket, FVSU athletics sponsor cooler pack and commemorative key chain.

$500 - same as $250, plus: FVSU athletic sponsor polo shirt, cap, stadium cup, and commemorative car decal

$1,000 - same as $500, plus: limited edition FVSU sponsor windbreaker, commemorative stadium chair, rights to purchase official fan gear.

Other packages:

$350 - family package of four season tickets (two adults, two children) in sections 25 or 26.

$70 - “Young Alumni” package for graduates from years 2008-12 of one reserved season ticket, with class or group seating available.

Single-game tickets are $10 for general admission and $15 for reserved, rising to $20 and 30 for homecoming. Children from ages 6-12 and military will be admitted for $5, with children under 5 free. Parking is $8, $15 for VIP/stadium parking.

The packages of $250 and more are available until July 1. Current season-ticket holders must purchase the $250 package or greater by July 1 to guarantee their same seats from last year. After that, all season tickets will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

FVSU opens the season at Delta State and Valdosta State, and welcomes Clark Atlanta on Sept. 15 in the home opener.

For more information, call the ticket office at 825-6433, visit the office in the Troup Building, or go to


Around Mercer/A-Sun

The A-Sun basketball schedule will be a little different in 2013-14, and the equation in the conference's all-sports races has changed.

Those were among the items discussed and voted on at the conference's spring meetings in early June in Daytona Beach, Fla. The meeting included athletics directors, senior women's administrators and faculty athletic representatives.

The conference will use a new formula in the all-sports races.

Previously, it was based on total points, which led to a disadvantage to schools that didn't offer a sport. Now, it will be based on the average points earned based on how many sports a school offers.

A sport must have five conference teams to be involved in the all-sports calculation. Sand volleyball was added last year, and women's lacrosse will debut in 2012-13.

The basketball regular season will undergo a format change in 2013-14.

Currently, a school is at home on Saturday for a doubleheader, with the other “weekend” game coming on Thursday or Monday, the men and women alternating.

The change is that teams will travel on opposite weeks, so men and women can play a Thursday-Saturday slate minus doubleheaders.

The conference approved change from pay per view to free for all sports. Cooperation from schools on has been increasingly spotty in recent years, ranging from fewer live events to a dwindling archive.

The A-Sun will again work with College Sports Southeast and ESPN.

Belmont's tenure in the conference is over, and that of Northern Kentucky begins, both officially on July 1.