I heard that rumor about a year ago, but I don't think it ever came true. I also know that you now have to be 121 PIC to be competitive. Unfortuneately it may be 6 months before hiring starts again- just the latest word, and it'll probably change tomorrow.
If you were an ATA grad who had gone on to acquire 4000+ hrs and a substantial amount of 121 turbine PIC time, and had your resume submitted by an AirTran pilot, then I am sure that you would be looked at just like anyone else in the stack right now.
If they are telling you that you will graduate from their program competitively qualified to apply to AirTran, I would take my business elsewhere!
PS, ran into Jill N. last week (head of pilot hiring) and she said September is what they're looking at right now, but things do change rapidly . . my guess would be July or August.