» 6/13/13 - Teammates on and off the field
By Kat Krtnick
NCAA President Mark Emmert and his wife DeLaine helped the NCAA welcome more than 150 Special Olympics athletes to participate in clinics and activities on Thursday during the Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships in San Antonio.
NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks to Special Olympics athletes and student-athletes at the Division III Men's and Women's Soccer Championships in San Antonio.
The Emmerts, along with 240 NCAA Division III student-athletes from the eight participating men’s and women’s teams, facilitated an afternoon of coaching, encouragement and competition designed to foster a mutual learning experience between Division III student-athletes and Special Olympics athletes.
“Division III student-athletes are passionate about giving back to their communities,” said Emmert. “The partnership between Division III and Special Olympics will certainly prove to be a rewarding experience for all who participate.”
The NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee announced a partnership at last year’s NCAA Convention with Special Olympics that officially launched on Aug. 1, 2011. To assist the community-outreach effort, Special Olympics activities have been planned at 32 NCAA Division III championships this year and will take place at hundreds of campuses across the country.
NCAA Division III VP Dan Dutcher (right) and NCAA President Mark Emmert chat with student-athletes.
Also while in San Antonio, President Emmert presented the NCAA’s Elite 89 award to Jessica Tarantino, a senior economics and mathematics major at William Smith College, and Brad Wassin, a senior English and political science major at Calvin College. The Elite 89 honors student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 89 championships.
“It is a privilege to present the Elite 89 award to two outstanding student-athletes who have achieved success both in the classroom and on the playing field,” said Emmert. “This award demonstrates the true essence of what it means to be an NCAA student-athlete.”
Today’s men’s semifinals feature Calvin against Oneonta State and Ohio Wesleyan versus Montclair State. The women’s semifinals are Wheaton (Illinois) versus Ithaca and Messiah against William Smith. The two championship games are on Saturday.