NCAA Division III Week Debuts Monday
Washington & Jefferson College will be celebrating the success of its outstanding student-athletes at home athletic events during the week of April 9-15 as the NCAA observes Division III Week.
The inaugural NCAA Division III Week is designed to display the division’s unique philosophy that equally values academics, athletics and student-athletes’ involvement in a full and rich campus life.
Division III Week is an opportunity for all individuals associated with Washington & Jefferson College athletics to observe and celebrate the impact of athletics and of student-athletes on the campus and surrounding community.
Washington & Jefferson College is one of 442 members of NCAA Division III. The Presidents’ Athletic Conference, W&J’s primary sports conference, is one of 43 NCAA Division III conferences.
During games played on campus from April 9-15, the college will recognize student-athletes at certain parts of the game who have earned academic or athletic awards throughout their careers. Public address announcements will be made at games informing fans of the Division III philosophy and the difference that W&J student-athletes have made on the campus, in the community and throughout the world. For example, the W&J soccer teams have donated uniforms and equipment bags to impoverished children in The Gambia.
In addition, there will be drawings at selected games for free giveaways, including gift cards to Panera Bread, to W&J students who attend home games during the week.
As a way to kick off Division III Week, Director of Athletics Bill Dukett has also announced the “Presidents Student-Athlete Recognition Day”, a celebration of the W&J Student-Athlete on May 5.
W&J baseball hosts Thomas More that afternoon at 1:00 pm for a PAC baseball doubleheader. In between games, the athletic department will recognize student-athletes who earned academic honors from the PAC, Empire 8, CoSIDA and coaches’ organizations throughout the year.
“We would like to give properly acknowledge our student-athletes who are achieving great things on the fields of play and in the classroom,” said Dukett, who has coached football, golf and track & field at W&J prior to becoming the school’s Director of Athletics in 2006. “We are hoping that all who are involved with W&J athletics come to Ross Memorial Park to support our team and enjoy the academic recognition ceremony in between games.”
Approximately 40 percent of the student-athletes playing a NCAA sport do so Division III. In 2010, over 172,000 student-athletes (101,329 men; 70,984 women) participated in at least one NCAA sponsored Division III sport. At W&J, approximately 33 percent of the student body competes in a varsity sport.
W&J sponsors 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports (12 men; 12 women), well above what most colleges or universities offer. Two years ago, the average number of men’s teams at a Division III institution was 8.2, while the women’s average was 8.9. The NCAA announced that 3.18 percent the organization’s budget (about $25 million) was allocated to Division III championship structure.
“We would like to use this week to highlight the great things our student-athletes are doing on and off the campus,” added Dukett. “The numbers show that Division III student-athletes are a large group who often don’t receive the recognition they deserve. Although our own accomplishments may not appear on ESPN SportsCenter every night, we are proud of W&J’s teams and we will use this week as well as our new academic recognition day in May to spotlight these true student-athletes.”
Washington & Jefferson College has 39 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in history starting when David Damico ’81 was the first honoree in 1978. W&J has experienced great success recently with the Academic All-America program as 10 student-athletes have earned the award since 2007. W&J is also proud of the 13 student-athletes who have won a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, including the school’s first winner, Dr. James Pareso ’66. Dr. Pareso is a member of the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
W&J’s Division III Week Home Games
April 10 Softball vs. Grove City 3:30 pm (Brooks Park)
April 11 Men’s Tennis vs. Bethany 4:00 pm (Swanson Courts); Men’s Lacrosse vs. Saint Vincent 4:00 pm (Alexandre Stadium)
April 12 Men’s Tennis vs. Thiel 3:30 pm (Swanson Courts)
April 13 Baseball vs. Waynesburg 4:30 pm (Ross Memorial Park)
April 14 Women’s Lacrosse vs. Ohio Wesleyan Noon (Alexandre Stadium); Men’s Lacrosse vs. Marymount 3:00 pm (Alexandre Stadium)