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Division III creates new LGBTQ awards

Division III has created a trio of awards to recognize student-athletes, coaches and staff who identify as members of the LGBTQ community, as well as athletics departments or conference offices that foster inclusive environments. The awards, which were first proposed by the Division III LGBTQ Working Group, will be formally introduced at the working group’s LGBTQ and Allies reception on Friday, Jan. 24, at this year’s NCAA Convention in Anaheim, California.

The Division III LGBTQ OneTeam Awards are an extension of the working group’s ongoing efforts to elevate awareness of issues relevant to the LGBTQ community, which have included creating the OneTeam logo, developing an LGBTQ nondiscrimination policy guide and implementing the OneTeam Program, a two-hour educational session available to Division III members.

“The importance of policy development, education and practice of inclusion of LGBTQ student-athletes is paramount,” says Neil Virtue, working group chair and swimming coach at Mills. “It is also equally important to recognize and celebrate the courage and accomplishments of self-identified LGBTQ student-athletes, coaches, staff and administrators. They are the ones who, simply by living their authentic lives, are organically helping change and make athletics a space for everyone.”

The Division III LGBTQ OneTeam Awards

LGBTQ Student-Athlete of The Year: Honors the academic achievements, athletic excellence and service and leadership of LGBTQ student-athletes in Division III. To be eligible, a nominee must identify as LGBTQ, have participated in an NCAA-sponsored sport at a Division III school, be in good academic standing and have demonstrated service and leadership in LGBTQ inclusion.

LGBTQ Administrator/Coach/Staff of The Year: Honors the service, leadership and promotion of LGBTQ inclusion in Division III. To be eligible, a nominee must identify as LGBTQ, have worked in athletics for a minimum of five years at a Division III school or conference and be in good employment standing at the time of the nomination.

OneTeam Athletics Department/Conference of The Year: Honors a Division III athletics department or conference office that has demonstrated proactive efforts to create and sustain an LGBTQinclusive culture. To be eligible, an institution or conference must be a member of Division III.

The nomination process will be open from Feb. 1 to June 1. Winners will be announced at the 2021 NCAA Convention.

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Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.

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