Division III athletics exists. Objectively, you can’t say otherwise. But this year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), in transitioning to a college athletics season held amid a pandemic, seems to have ignored D-III sports entirely. NCAA officials say that this was simply because they overlooked division three athletes.
“D-I players are so tall that it’s hard to see over them and find the D-III players,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “Take basketball, for example. Your average D-I center is 6’8” or taller. I’d have loved to be able to accommodate the D-III people in the back, but we just couldn’t find them.”
At the University of Chicago, a D-III school, this has meant that student athletes are sidelined, stuck in a holding pattern of working out but never playing. “We welcome this new change to the D-III schedule,” Rosalie Resch, UChicago’s interim athletic director, told the Dealer. “Our athletes are staying in shape and staying off the field, as [former university president] Robert Maynard Hutchins intended.”
Reactions among student athletes were decidedly mixed, with most saying they missed being able to compete against other schools. However, some saw a silver lining in the decision. “I actually think this cancelled season isn’t all that bad,” said Maroon volleyball captain Rich Thompson. “At least we don’t have to lose twenty games this year.”