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Feature portraying DIII experience honored

By Jack Copeland

NCAA.org

Two Case Western Reserve student-athletes’ efforts to provide soccer equipment for Kenyan youths – including enlistment of University Athletic Association rivals in the project – is the focus of an article selected as the top honoree in a quarterly recognition program jointly sponsored by the NCAA and the Division III Sports Information Directors of America (D3SIDA).

The feature about Elshaday Belay and Leah Levey was selected by a panel of sports information directors representing D3SIDA as the best work published during the months of September through December 2012.

The panel also awarded honorable mention to McDaniel and Oswego State for features produced by those institutions’ athletics communication offices. All of the honorees were judged on ways in which they portray the Division III model of intercollegiate athletics.

Case Western Reserve’s feature, “Junior Student-Athletes Elshaday Belay and Leah Levey Working to Help Youth Soccer in Kenya,” reported that the two soccer players founded a group known as LCFL Case, which serves as a local chapter for the international nonprofit organization, Likoni Community Football League. The Kenyan league was founded by Levey’s older brother, Ben.

“For Belay, hearing Ben Levey's presentation provided all the motivation he needed to become involved,” according to the article.

“ ‘For me, I've never really taken on any other activities at Case other than academics and soccer,’ said Belay. ‘Seeing something I love (soccer) expressed in another form, I knew it was a way for me to give back. There are plenty of noble ways to give back out there, but when you can do that through an activity that you are connected to, it really provides the opportunity to attach and devote yourself.’

“Leah Levey shared similar sentiments. ‘All of the stories and videos my brother showed us inspired me to create this club,’ said Levey. ‘I've learned that these kids in Likoni, Mombassa, share the same love for soccer as we do, and they truly enjoy playing the game with their teammates.’ ”

The D3SIDA panel noted that the article portrays the Division III attributes of proportion, passion, responsibility and citizenship. It also cited the article for reporting the two student-athletes’ interaction with other University Athletic Association programs to obtain soccer equipment, including full sets of jerseys from Emory and Carnegie Mellon, and balls and field cones from Brandeis.

The quarterly recognition program is part of the Division III identity initiative. The program seeks to honor the best work – including news releases, feature articles, videos, blogs and other materials – produced by Division III campus and conference athletics communication offices.

“Athletics communicators play a crucial role in promoting the Division III model of intercollegiate athletics, which encourages student-athletes to ‘follow their passions and develop their potential’,” said Dan Dutcher, NCAA Division III vice president. “This outstanding work is a laudable example of the ways in which our member institutions portray the Division III philosophy as it is practiced on our campuses.”

 

The NCAA joins with the Division III Sports Information Directors of America on a quarterly basis to recognize the best work – including news releases, feature articles, videos, blogs and other materials – produced by Division III campus and conference athletics communication offices.

Nominations of work produced from April through June 2013 are being accepted through June at the d3identity@ncaa.org email address. Judging currently is underway for materials that were produced from January through March.

The institution or conference producing each quarter’s best work receives a $500 credit to purchase identity initiative materials from the Division III purchasing website.