January 13, 2004
D3 doings

Some rule changes for Division III sports:

Eight Division III schools will be allowed to continue giving out scholarships for sports that compete in Division I, though no other Division III schools will be allowed to award athletic scholarships in the future.

The NCAA had proposed ending waivers approved 20 years ago that allowed the eight schools to circumvent Division III's no-scholarship policy.

The NCAA Convention on Monday passed legislation allowing the scholarships by a 304-89 vote. It was passed with an amendment that said no more scholarship waivers will be granted for other Division III schools.

The eight schools field one or two teams that compete in Division I: Clarkson University (men's hockey); Colorado College (men's hockey and women's soccer); Hartwick College (men's soccer and women's water polo); Johns Hopkins (men's and women's lacrosse); Oneonta (men's soccer); Rensselaer (men's hockey); Rutgers-Newark (men's volleyball); and St. Lawrence (men's and women's hockey).

"We are extremely grateful for the support that we received from our partners in Division III," Colorado College president Richard Celeste said.

Several schools -- including Johns Hopkins, which has won seven NCAA titles in men's lacrosse -- said the tradition of Division I sports was important on their campuses.

Delegates who voted against the measure said giving athletic scholarships was inconsistent with the purpose of Division III.

As I recall from my college days, a DIII school was allowed one D1 sport. Trinity had a topflight tennis program, though sadly their webpage no longer has any of the old history on it. The time a group of students sitting on the roof of one of the dorms that overlooked the main court incited Stanford's John McEnroe into one of his trademark tantrums was legend back in the day. I was sad to see them drop out of D1 even if I never cared much about the sport.

Division III has been focusing on reform that keeps academics at the forefront and further distinguishes it from the big-time moneymaking sports of Division I schools.

Not all of their reform measures passed, however.

Schools will not be allowed to redshirt athletes to save a season of eligibility, a practice prevalent in Division I.

As I recall from the old days, in DIII you had eight semesters of eligibility, and they did not have to be consecutive, though I believe that if you were a full-time student, then that semester counted towards those eight. There was a guy at Trinity during my time there who had dropped out of school and re-enrolled a decade or so later, and was on the football team. This was OK because his eligibility clock stopped while he was not in school. This differed from D1 where you essentially have five years to complete four years' of eligibility, which is where the redshirt idea comes in. At least, that was how I understood it. I'm not sure what if anything this changes for D3.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 13, 2004 to Other sports | TrackBack

By no means does having a Division I program in a Division III school mean that you get any breaks. Colorado College, Clarkson, and RPI all have nationally ranked hockey programs, while Johns Hopkins is a top 5 school every year in lacrosse. Clarkson and RPI play in the ECAC, which includes Harvard, Yale, Cornell, and Princeton. RPI also has several current and former NHL players among their alumni, including current Montreal Canadiens captain Joe Juneau. He completed a double major in three years (one was physics) while learning English at the same time (he's from Quebec).

Posted by: William Hughes on January 13, 2004 2:18 PM

I forgot to mention this in my earlier comment, however, all of the DIII schools with DI teams play under DI rules for those teams. All the NCAA did was continue to allow the status quo for those teams.

Posted by: William Hughes on January 13, 2004 2:53 PM