This is the first post of a new blog from Alfred State Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) Matt Lawrence. Each NCAA institution in the country is required to have a member of the academic faculty serve in this capacity. The primary duty of the FAR is to act as a liaison between the academic and athletic departments.
Let's start this blog with some interview-style questions that will hopefully introduce you to some interesting and ongoing developments that affect both academics and athletics on our campus:
1. So, is Alfred State an NCAA Division III college?
Well, yes. But not really….
Alfred State is currently recognized as a provisional Division III member of the NCAA.
So what exactly does that mean? It means that we are in the process of becoming full-fledged, NCAA DIII members, but first we have to complete a four-year process to align our campus policies and procedures with that of the NCAA. This involves ongoing training for the athletic department members, student athletes, and the campus administration. This transition is documented through an annual reporting process, currently coordinated by our Assistant Athletic Director, Jen Enke. We are in the final year of the four-year process.
So at the start of the Fall 2018 semester, Alfred State will be an official NCAA Division III member.
2. NCAA Division III. Big whoop. That only affects sports, right? I'm a(n) administrative/faculty/ACES/facilities/etc. employee here, so this doesn't affect me, right?
Haha! No. That's a great question. I'm glad I asked it.
Unlike NCAA Divisions I and II, the primary tenet of the Division III philosophy calls for student-athletes to be treated the same as all other students in every facet of their educational experience. Becoming NCAA DIII is further validation that Alfred State is "as advertised". Our primary concern on this campus is to educate and prepare students for success in their personal and professional lives – regardless of, well, really anything. That includes their status as student-athletes.
Personally, I think there is a pride associated with moving to NCAA membership. It speaks highly of Alfred State to be recognized with the other NCAA DIII schools; there are some excellent DIII schools in NYS. Holding Alfred State to the same set of standards as other institutions is a college-wide effort in many aspects on campus. I'll make the analogy of NCAA membership to any cross college agreement or programmatic accreditation we participate in. For example, Alfred State stands with other schools across the country through our agreement to be part of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment. Similarly, we accredit our academic programs through national organizations like ABET (engineering technology), NCRA (court reporting), ACEN (nursing), ASE (Automotive Service), and many others.
3. Tell me something that I don't know about the athletic department that happened this year.
Just two weeks ago, the football team opened the season with an away game at the Coast Guard Academy. The Coast Guard Academy is in New London, CT, about a seven-hour bus ride from Alfred. The game started at 7pm, and it was played on a Thursday night. It's typical for a team to spend the night at a hotel following a nighttime competition, but playing Thursday night and traveling back Friday would require the team to miss two, not one, day of classes for the competition. To minimize the academic impact of this game, the coaches, support staff, and players left immediately following the game and traveled through the night to make it back for classes on Friday. I think that commitment is worth sharing.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions at all, please email me.