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Mulling Over a Move Into Mexico

DII continues discussion about expanding southward

By Les Wong

Les Wong. San Francisco State University photo

The quality of the student-athlete experience is a priority when we think of our students and their performance on our teams. However, the student experience occupies a world that is much smaller and familiar, and the cultural milieu of today’s campus is still uniquely “American.” The camaraderie and sportsmanship of international athletics competition offers a chance to broaden the horizons of our student-athletes. Imagine every one of them in possession of a passport.

The effect of taking the student-athlete experience into the global community will enhance the students’ intellectual breadth and understanding. Competition with student-athletes from other countries and cultures develops a world view that is more personal and more meaningful. If you ask Olympians about their experience, they’ll talk about the gatherings and interactions off the field as much as they will talk of the competition itself.

In January, Division II will consider adopting legislation to enable the admission of colleges and universities from Mexico. This follows the successful admission of Simon Fraser in Canada to the Division II membership in 2012. The opportunity for our student-athletes to compete with others from Mexico and Canada will awaken a sense of global awareness that technology and reading alone could not do. The same holds true for Mexican and Canadian student-athletes. This legislation would be a win-win at both the individual and team level. As a president, I see this as a win-win for our universities and colleges, as well.

Les Wong is the president of San Francisco State and a member of the Division II Presidents Council.

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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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