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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 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.

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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 - August 2020

The University of Mary Washington is the recipient of the August Division III Diversity Spotlight Initiative.  The women's lacrosse team partnered with the university's Black Student Association and Women of Color to host a Run 4 Justice 5k Run/Walk/Roll Challenge.  The event raised $2,900 and all proceeds went to the James Farmer Multicultural Center at UMW to support Black Lives Matter initiatives and social justice work on campus.  Click here for more details.

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 lmccleary@ncaa.org.

Past Diversity Spotlight Winners

August 2020 University of Mary Washington Run 4 Justice 5k Run/Walk/Roll Challenge
July 2020 New Jersey City University NJCU Solidarity March
June 2020 University of Wisconsin-River Falls Assiting in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder
April 2020 Hamline University Workshop for its student-athlete leaders
March 2020 The New Jersey City University The Rising Knight Institute
February 2020 The Landmark Conference Women in Sports Symposium
January 2020 The Old Dominion Athletic Conference Social justice and the intersection of  race
November 2019 Fontbonne University Diversity and Inclusion Committee
September 2019 Notre Dame of Maryland University OneTeam Week dedicated to the Division III LGBTQ OneTeam Program
August 2019 Pacific Lutheran University Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE)
July 2019 Vassar College LGBT SportSafe Inclusion Program
June 2019 The U.S. Coast Guard Academy Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED)
May 2019 Smith College EmPOWER: Understanding Our Identities Conference

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