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Continued Quest for Balance

By Gayle Hutchinson

Gayle Hutchinson during the Division II Presidents Council meeting at the 2019 NCAA Convention in Orlando, Florida. NCAA Photos archive

The Division II motto, “life in the balance,” resonates with people. The motto has served Division II well for many years, and it is the foundation for NCAA policy improvements and resources needed to support student-athletes.

Many of us strive for “life in the balance” in our own lives as we balance personal health and well-being with family responsibilities, community service and career aspirations. But you know as well as I do that striking a balance can be difficult. For instance, if I am healthy and my family is, too, I am able to participate in a volunteer opportunity serving others and it happens to be a calm day at work, I might declare my “life in the balance” for the moment. Inevitably, something happens that disrupts my ability to maintain balance for any extended length of time. This is not a bad thing — life is complicated and the journey bumpy.

“Life in the balance” was designed to teach student-athletes about the importance of achieving excellence in sports and academics while benefiting others by engaging in the community. Academics, athletics and community are the threads that weave together the fabric of the Division II mission. Not surprisingly, however, student-athletes struggle to achieve “life in the balance,” mostly because demands on their time are great. Realistically, “life in the balance” is a goal that we strive to attain.

Since the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee recently reported findings that the greatest concern among our student-athletes is their own mental health, perhaps we need to look at revising our motto to “Strive for Life in the Balance.” Adding the verb “strive” relieves the notion of perfection. It also focuses our efforts on student-athletes’ personal health and well-being, especially as we frame the lessons our student-athletes learn through academics, athletics and community in the spirit of resiliency.

Gayle Hutchinson is the president of Chico State and a member of the Division II Presidents Council.

About Champion

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.