President Jackson Vows "Vigorous and Sustained Effort" to Defeat Div 3 Play Up Proposal
Yesterday, we reported that the NCAA Division III Presidents' Council proposed the elimination of athletic scholarships at Division III schools that play one or more sports at the Division I level. This proposal, if it passed, would affect the Rensselaer Mens' Ice Hockey Team, and 11 other athletic teams at 7 other colleges or universities.
Today, the RPI Athletic Department issued a statement from President Shirley Ann Jackson in response to that proposal. The statement reads as follows:
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute strongly opposes the National Collegiate Athletic Associationís (NCAA) proposal to eliminate the awarding of athletics aid by Division III member institutions in sports classified in Division I. If it is approved, this proposal could place Rensselaerís well-respected hockey tradition in jeopardy, and hamper the ability of ice hockey players to receive the benefits of a Rensselaer education. Rensselaer has a fabulous tradition in ice hockey. It has sent a number of players to the National Hockey League (NHL), and has been inspirational and satisfying for our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends.
The NCAA Presidentís Council recommended the proposal apparently in the belief that reforms are needed in Division III athletics to address the ongoing relationship between athletics and education. At Rensselaer, we scrupulously maintain a balance that encourages our hockey players to perform at optimum levels in academics and on the ice. These players truly represent the highest values of the scholar-athlete. Their grades, graduation rates, and their overall achievements in life are a testament to the success and integrity of our program. In short, Rensselaer already adheres to the spirit of the Division III philosophy, and, as such, is a credit to the NCAA.
In our view, the NCAA should not punish the multi-divisional schools to address Division III concerns. Rather, the NCAA should consider conducting audits of all Division III institutions. Rensselaerís program would easily withstand such scrutiny.
We are proud of our athletic programs, our players, our fans, and our long tradition of Division I menís ice hockey, which we intend to continue at Rensselaer as we support all of our athletic programs at the highest possible levels. Rensselaer will engage in a vigorous and sustained effort to defeat the NCAA Presidentís Councilís proposal.