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Ripple Effect in the NCAA - DIII Student-Athletes and their Communities

From Jeff Docking, Chair of the Division III Presidents Council

Jeffrey R. Docking, Chair of the Division III Presidents Council

As a Council, we help ensure over 190,000 students at 451 institutions have the ability to further their athletic careers while earning a degree. The opportunity to play sports in college is a privilege, but we often forget taking part in collegiate athletics is also a choice. When high school seniors decide to be Division III student-athletes, they forgo the typical college experience. They give up much of what little social and down time they have to do what they love, and their sacrifices are not met with fame or athletic scholarships.

Division III student-athletes are fueled by passion. They strive to do their best on the field and in the classroom because they realize the value in athletics lies beyond a scoreboard. From early morning practices and study sessions on the road, they learn dedication. From adjusting how they play the game according to their peers, they learn teamwork. From supporting others through ups and downs of a season and academic year, they learn what it takes to become a leader.

It is Division III student-athletes that stand out time and time again. Part of the reason we look up to this division is because it is the largest in the NCAA. An even bigger part, I believe, can be attributed to the humility of individual student-athletes. They are special because the identities they develop playing college sports propel them far beyond the court, track, or rink. In some cases, they do move on to successful careers as competitive athletes. More often than not, however, they become leaders in our schools, churches, hospitals and governments.

Today, a college education is viewed as more essential than ever. This makes the experience of playing college sports priceless, as DIII student-athletes work to become the kind of leaders we look up to. Their grit benefits the rest of us. They set an example, igniting a ripple effect not only through our campuses, but in our communities. With so many bright leaders on the cusp of greatness, their impact will know no limits.

-Jeffrey R. Docking, PhD