By: Bob Quinn (’86) Director of Athletics
Watching the Loras College Duhawks compete against other NCAA Division III student-athletes, I can not help but think about the life lessons that are being learned and taught on the track, baseball field, softball field, golf course, tennis court and lacrosse field. April 8-14, 2013, marked NCAA Division III Week. The goal of this week is to promote the NCAA’s largest division of athletes and educate all as to why it is one of the greatest opportunities for student-athletes to learn and compete. Loras College is a member of the NCAA Division III. DIII represents almost 450 colleges and universities and nearly 175,000 student-athletes across the country. This makes up the largest of all the NCAA’s divisions at 42% of the entire NCAA membership. The mantra of DIII is one of discovering, developing and dedicating. Winning and losing is certainly valued and measured in DIII. As a matter of fact, there are National Championship opportunities in 36 different sports. NCAA DIII also measures overall athletic department success through a program called The Learfield Sport Directors’ Cup Challenge. Last year, Loras College ranked as high as 18 in the fall and was 46th among the 446 DIII institutions nationally this Spring. While learning and growth occur at NCAA DI institutions like Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa, balance and perspective have the potential to be skewed by things like scholarships based solely on athletic ability, incredible emphasis on winning and sometimes immense salaries for coaches and coaching staff.
Scandals like those at Penn State and, more recently, Rutgers, litter the front page of newspapers and are lead stories on daily news programs. They seem to represent all that is wrong with college athletics. In light of these headlines, NCAA DIII represents all that is right! DIII is the only division that brands itself as one of proportion, comprehensive learning, passion, responsibility, sportsmanship and citizenship. Loras College student-athletes, along with all NCAA DIII student-athletes, are mandated to demonstrate a holistic educational approach that includes rigorous academics, competitive athletics and the opportunity to pursue other interests and passions. Studentathletes are held to the same standards of admission to the institution, social conduct and high academic performance to which the general student body is held. Coaches and athletic administrators consistently take advantage of thousands of teachable moments at practices and contests to help DIII student-athletes become men and women of character and integrity. Loras College and all DIII student-athletes play for the love of the game and the opportunity to learn and grow beyond the classroom.