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Division III Diversity and Inclusion

As a core value, the NCAA believes in and is committed to diversity, inclusion and gender equity among its student-athletes, coaches and administrators. We seek to establish and maintain an inclusive culture that fosters equitable participation for student-athletes and career opportunities for coaches and administrators from diverse backgrounds. Diversity and inclusion improve the learning environment for all student-athletes and enhance excellence.  

In January 2016, the NCAA Board of Governors unanimously approved a resolution to further the Association’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. The resolution calls upon university chancellors and presidents to promote cultural diversity and provide the necessary resources to address it on their campuses.  The board also announced the creation of a new ad hoc diversity and equity committee to monitor and report on the Association’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.  The ad hoc committee encourages all presidents and chancellors at NCAA member colleges and universities to sign the NCAA Presidential Pledge that commits their schools to achieving ethnic and racial diversity and gender equity in college sports hiring practices.  The pledge was developed out of a membership concern for the low representation of racial and ethnic minorities and women in coaching and athletics administration at all levels.

Division III, in partnership with the NCAA’s Office of Inclusion, provides educational resources, initiatives and programming, which enhances the foundations of a diverse and inclusive culture.  Inclusion continues to be an important aspect of intercollegiate athletics, and the Division III governance structure collaborates with its 450 member institutions and 42 conference offices to support their diversity and inclusion goals.

Division III LGBTQ Working Group

In 2016, the Division III Management Council endorsed the creation of a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Working Group.  The working group’s charge is to examine the current LGBTQ landscape in Division III.  Examination and research may lead to potential programming, resources, and recognition of the LGBTQ community and its allies as well as increasing the engagement and collaboration at the institutional, conference and national levels. 


Division III Diversity and Inclusion Working Group

At the 2015 NCAA Convention, the Division III delegates endorsed the creation of a Diversity and Inclusion Working Group.  The working group’s charge is to assess the current diversity and inclusion landscape within Division III, evaluate current initiatives, and propose next steps (e.g., resources, new initiatives, policies, etc.) to the membership.


Diversity Spotlight Recipient

The Division III Diversity Spotlight Initiative was started in August of 2014 as a collaborative project between the NCAA Office of Inclusion and the Diversity & Well-Being Committee of the Division III Commissioners Association.

The Diversity Spotlight Initiative recognizes and promotes outstanding diversity development projects, programming and initiatives occurring on Division III campuses and in conference offices. Each month an institution or conference is identified by the selection committee to be featured on the DIII webpage and in the DIII Monthly Update. In addition, the featured institution or conference office receives $500 toward its next diversity initiative.

The criterion on which the submissions are evaluated are:

  • Impact of project on diversity & (not or) well-being of student-athletes;
  • Degree of impact (measured by numbers of people influenced/affected by the project);
  • Scope of the project (planning, engagement, depth, outcomes).
Diversity Spotlight Initiative – November 2018

The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) is the recipient of the November Division III Diversity Spotlight Initiative.  The conference held an inaugural Future Leaders Forum.  The two-day forum was a professional development and networking event aimed at promoting the growth of underrepresented coaches and administrators in the early stages of their athletics careers.  Click here for more information.

The Diversity Spotlight Initiative recognizes and promotes outstanding diversity related projects, programming and initiatives that are occurring on Division III campuses and in conference offices.  All selected recipients receive $500 toward their next diversity initiative.

To submit a story for consideration, please email

Past Diversity Spotlight Winners

November 2018   New England Small College Athletic Conference Inaugural Future Leaders Forum
October 2018   University of Wisconsin Superior Student-Athlete Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee
September 2018   City University of New York Athletic Conference Wheelchair basketball clinic
July 2018   North Eastern Athletic Conference Leadership Day
June 2018   Old Dominion Athletic Conference Women in Athletics Symposium
May 2018   New England Collegiate Conference Navigating and Empowering through Collegiate Careers
April 2018   University of Wisconsin-River Falls
March 2018   Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Women’s Leadership Symposium
February 2018   Illinois College Women Talk Wednesdays
January 2018   City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) Inclusive and Adaptive Sports Initiative
November 2017   Ripon College Safe zone training seminar
October 2017   Midwest Conference Female and Ethnic Minority Mentoring Program
August 2017   Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE)