Athletic directors from seven of the eight schools affected by the Division III proposal to eliminate athletic scholarships for members playing a Division I sport, met to plan their opposition to the proposal on the campus of Rensselaer.
Those attending were Sean Frazier (Clarkson), Joel Nielsen (Colorado College), Betty Powell (Hartwick), Tom Calder (Johns Hopkins), Ken Ralph (Rensselaer), John K. Adams (Rutgers-Newark), and Margie Strait (St. Lawrence). Nielsen and Adams took part by telephone. The eighth school affected is SUNY-Oneonta.
“We had a very productive meeting, and are confident that we have a strategy that will benefit all of our institutions,” said Ralph.
“We are committed to working together to ensure that all parties understand what is at stake here, and to develop alternatives to proposals now on the table.”
Among the topics discussed were the academic excellence and strong traditions and history that have been attached to the affected programs, the importance of the affected programs to their local communities, and raising the awareness of the issue among any and all interested parties.
Hockey is one of the sports affected the most by the proposal, with Clarkson, Rensselaer and St. Lawrence of the ECAC along with Colorado College of the WCHA facing a severe blow to their programs should the proposal pass the full NCAA membership in January. They would then be unable to offer any athletic scholarships to student-athletes, although they could continue to sponsor hockey at the Division I level.
All four schools offer the maximum 18 scholarships allowed under NCAA rules. One other Division III school, Union, plays Division I hockey but does not offer athletic scholarships.
Clarkson and St. Lawrence sponsor Division I hockey for both genders, meaning that a total of six Division I men’s and women’s hockey programs are affected.
Also affected are the men’s soccer and women’s water polo programs at Hartwick, men’s soccer at SUNY-Oneonta, women’s soccer at Colorado College, men’s volleyball at Rutgers-Newark, and men’s and women’s lacrosse at Johns Hopkins.
The proposal is scheduled to be discussed at a meeting of the NCAA President’s Council in October, with feedback from the affected schools slated to be heard. At that time the proposal can be amended or withdrawn.
If it is not withdrawn, it will be put to a vote of all 424 NCAA Division III presidents at the annual convention in January in Nashville, Tenn.