SSAOs can best prepare their athletics programs
for success by broadening their knowledge and
understanding of the mission and philosophy of
their athletics departments and working to align the
departmental mission and philosophy with that
of the institution.
half of DII athletics directors who follow that reporting structure. In addition, most DIII members believe that chancellors
and presidents need to increase their involvement in intercollegiate athletics.
Survey participants indicate that DIII athletics programs
add value to their respective institutions, and the majority of
campus leaders believe that DIII institutions should maintain
current legislative standards for recruitment and eligibility,
regardless of the continued growth that the division may
experience. To maintain the high academic standards that currently exist at DIII institutions, administrators strongly believe
that newly admitted student-athletes should fit the general
academic profile of all incoming students. Additionally, admissions policies for student-athletes should be consistent with
the general student body.
DIII survey respondents believe that financial aid decisions
made by the admissions department should be completely
independent from the athletics department. They also believe
that leadership in athletics should be considered equally with
leadership in other student activities in awarding financial
aid. One of the core values of DIII institutions is the omission of athletics scholarships. By keeping athletics separate
from the financial aid process, DIII administrators maintain
the values of the division while also promoting the complete
student-athlete experience. Surveyed DIII institutions agree
with how financial aid is currently monitored and believe that
institutions that violate financial aid policies are appropriately
In regard to academic performance and eligibility, DIII
members prefer that institutions set individual academic
progress standards, allowing schools to customize the expectations for student-athletes to the standards of their institution.
DIII members also agree that a year of eligibility should be
defined by a season of participation rather than a season of
competition, maintaining the current practice of prohibiting
Institutions recently achieving DIII status sponsor fewer
sports ( 12. 7) than the average DIII athletic program ( 16).
While current DIII standards require members to sponsor a
minimum of 10 sports, survey results indicate that 75 percent
of DIII schools would prefer a higher minimum number
of sports. The rationale is that by raising the number of
required sports, the NCAA could better ensure the quality of
institutions seeking admittance to the DIII level. Given that
intercollegiate athletics are directly correlated to the quality
and diversity of students as well as gender equity, the
movement to increase the minimum number of sports is
Russell C. Wright is managing director at NACDA Consulting, which
conducted the study of Division II and Division III athletics programs.