For all of the gloss and glamour (ESPN coverage) that Division I sports receive, it’s easy to overlook sub-divisions and place them in the “inferior” pool of athletics.
However, as college students, we don’t just want to celebrate our top stars or our potential professional players, we want to celebrate our friends, our classmates, our neighbors. This is why we, as a campus culture, should support our DIII sports teams more.
This past week was Division III week, an annual event, created in 2010, that was born to help spur confidence and pride within athletes and athletic staff alike .
As the largest division in the NCAA, we, as a group, are overlooked by the masses and written off by the casual sports fans for we are too small, too untalented, and we can’t produce enough net revenue for mainstream audiences.
According to NCAA.org, nearly 60% of all revenue made is pushed to the Division I collegiate level, while 3.18% of the revenue is given to Division III, even though we have more members of our respective division.
And while it is understandable to think that DIII sports are under the radar on a mainstream basis, it is inexplicable to think that they are unnoticed at Division III schools.
What makes the athletes at Alabama or Ohio State so different from ours? Sure, the talent gap may be present, and the celebrity status may be lost, it does not mean we shouldn’t support the people who wear our colors proudly.
So here, at the end of DIII week, a question that the NCAA asks throughout it’s website and twitter is: why DIII?
Forget the cliched “academics” answer; throw out the “friendships” answer while at it. The real question should be: “Why should we even have to validate our sports programs to our own student body?”
An interesting, and common, answer would be “Many DIII schools are private, and therefore are prone to being more academically serious, thus suggesting a drop in attendance/attention paid to sports, which are considered leisurely activities.”
However, according to gocrimson.com, Harvard University ranks in the nation’s top 10 programs for attendance yearly.
I can understand the attendance aspect. We do not have 100-million dollar stadiums set to accommodate small countries worth of people. But why does our support have to be absent as well?
Honestly, I do hope people write a reaction to this article to prove to me (or suggest that) I am wrong, that would make me very, very satisfied. I want to know that not just the senior nights are heavily attended, that people do not have to be forced (or incentivized with food to go) through their own respective team’s wish. I want to hear people talking about the athletes who work so hard, I want to be apart of a culture that celebrates everyone on campus, whether it be academically, athletically or even spiritually.
I want to see people, not just athletes, but students, hell, even professors attend games.
Student-athletes work their butts off, academically and athletically, throughout the season (if you need evidence, look at the previous page) and it feels as if they go unnoticed throughout our culture.
But how great would it make one of them feel if you go up and say, ”Hey, great game last night, you were freaking awesome.”