Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The NCAA Convention and Division Realignment

Americans often think that most student-athletes, as the NCAA terms them, are mostly attracted not to the university’s academic programs but to their sports. This picture follows the money but not the reality for most college athletes. Those who play sports in the NCAA’s largest division don’t see a dime in athletic scholarships. Still, there remain differences of emphasis among the 422 Division III members that may lead to a split among non-scholarship schools into a fourth division.

Inside Higher Education reported on the debate over this issue, moderated at last week’s NCAA convention by University of Dayton President Daniel J. Curran, who represented one of Ohio’s two independent Division I institutions (Xavier University is the other).

Another AICUO president, Denison University’s Dale Knobel, clearly articulates the pro-new-division view: "It doesn’t make sense to have colleges that have varying athletic philosophies, and that have different needs based on whether they are enrollment driven or endowment driven, competing against each other."

—Bob Burke