The NCAA Division III Faculty Athletics Representatives Association (FARA) has weighed in against the proposal that would eliminate the ability of Division III institutions that “play up” in a single Division I sport to grant athletic scholarships.
The proposal is part of a sweeping Division III reform package that is in the finals legislative phase. It will be voted on by the Division III membership at the annual NCAA Convention in January. If this piece of the reform package is passed, it would eliminate the ability for four Division I hockey schools to award scholarships — Clarkson, St. Lawrence, Rensselaer and Colorado College.
In FARA’s preliminary report, Dennis Leighton, the faculty representative at the University of New England, and Lorrie Clemo, the faculty representative at Oswego State, made recommendations on 18 pieces of the legislation.
The intent of the entire legislation is to steer Division III athletics back in line with its stated goals and philosophies. The ability to “play up” in one sport was confirmed by the passing of a waiver in 1982-83.
Proponents of the new legislation want to eliminate the waiver because they believe the Division III philosophy should apply consistently across all members.
In stating its objection, FARA said, “Less than two percent of current Division III member institutions and roughly 250 participating student athletes operate under this waiver. These institutions have developed identities through the success of their Division I sport that greatly impact recruitment among the general student population as well as alumni relations and gift-giving. Elimination of this waiver may create an undue burden on these member institutions.
“Eliminating the waiver will impose a burden on the affected institutions in terms of potential damage to their institutional identities, while no significant benefit will accrue to other membership institutions.”
The affected schools have been waging an aggressive education campaign in hopes of persuading the more the 400 Division III school presidents to reject this part of the reform package.