SUWANEE, Ga. - The first observance of Division
III Week – a celebration by member schools of the
division’s unique philosophy that equally values academics,
athletics and student-athletes’ involvement in a full and
rich campus life – is set for April 9-15.
The SCAC, in conjunction with the conference’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, will help sponsor events related to this celebration on four member campuses.
“We are excited to assist our member institutions in an opportunity to celebrate the uniqueness that is the Division III experience,” said SCAC Director of Sports Information Jeff DeBaldo, who also serves as the SCAC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee advisor. “After conference calls with our campus SAAC leaders, it was evident that there was a tremendous amount of interest to participate in this inaugural week of celebration.”
After receiving various submissions from campus SAAC groups, the SCAC will assist in funding the following activities on or around NCAA Division III Week:
To kick off Division III Week at Austin College, student-athletes will be wearing old jerseys around campus on Friday, April 6th (National Student Athlete Day) to get people to notice all the athletes. On Wednesday, April 11th, during the actual week of Division III Week, the school will host an ice cream social to recognize the achievements and accomplishments of all its student-athletes. Faculty will be invited to this event as well. Later in the month, the Austin College SAAC will attend a Special Olympics track meet in Cedar Hills, Texas, and volunteer their time as assistants.
The Colorado College SAAC is sponsoring a local group of Special Olympics athletes to attend a soccer clinic that will be conducted by a variety of Colorado College student-athletes on Sunday, April 1st. Following the clinic, the fields will be set up for actual contests for the Special Olympic athletes with CC student-athletes serving as “fans” for these games. “The local Special Olympics office is very excited, as are we,” said Andy Obringer, Coordinator of Sports Services at Colorado College. “It should be a fun day.”
Oglethorpe University will sponsor Student-Athlete Night on Tuesday, April 10th to honor all of those student-athletes who earned SCAC All-Academic honors during the fall semester.
At Rhodes College, the campus SAAC will host a 2-3 hour event on Saturday, April 14th, for Special Olympic athletes. “We’ve been working with the Lynx Club – the Rhodes College student organization – and (SAAC) had the idea of hosting a play-day where we run it like a mini Olympics, mixing teams of Special Olympic athletes with Rhodes varsity student-athletes from each sport,” said Meg Spangler, Rhodes College Assistant Field Hockey Coach and SAAC Advisor.
The Rhodes College SAAC has a long-standing relationship with Special Olympics Memphis and raised over $3,500 for the organization in February via a Polar Bear Plunge into the Mississippi River.
With the inception of NCAA Division III Week, every member institution and conference was urged to schedule at least one activity explicitly linked to the observance, celebrating an aspect of the Division III student-athlete experience from these three categories of activities:
- Academic accomplishment, including activities such as taking
time during a game to acknowledge student-athlete academic
achievement, or asking teams to select a faculty member to serve as
a guest coach for a practice or competition.
- Athletics activity, including conducting events such as a youth
sports clinic or competition, or scheduling recognition of school
teams’ or individuals’ athletics accomplishments during
- Community or campus outreach, such as scheduling a community-service activity during the week, or participating in an event involving a local chapter of Special Olympics as part of Division III’s developing partnership with that organization.
“The activities we have chosen to assist in funding well represent the intended spirit of the Division III celebration,” said DeBaldo. “In the four highlighted examples, we are recognizing and celebrating the academic and athletic achievements of our student-athletes as well as the passion to serve and the desire to assist in the community that has become a hallmark trait of all SCAC student-athletes.”