Opinion: Why D3 Athletics is Important

Volleyball sets up the play for a hit against St. Mary’s Volleyball team on Nov. 2. Women’s Volleyball is one of the 29 varsity sports Albion offers at the Division lll level (Photo by Erin Lathrop).

There are 438 Division lll (Dlll) schools with an average of one in six students being an athlete. Dlll is not as much of a time commitment as higher divisions, allowing students to be able to participate in others activities. For that reason, Dlll is meant to cater to the athletes’ experience rather than focusing solely on the basis of winning.

Albion College is a Dlll college with 29 varsity sports and is a part of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA).

Albion College being a Dlll school has allowed me the opportunity to be a dual athlete at the collegiate level. I am a runner on the cross country team, as well as the track and field team. I am also a diver on the swim and dive team. 

Along with being a dual athlete, I am able to be a part of Greek Life, Student Volunteer Bureau and The Pleiad. 

At any other school, I wouldn’t be able to compete on all three teams, even at some other Dlll schools. 

Dlll athletics prides itself on having “true student-athletes,” in the sense that students are able to put their academics first.

Coming into college, I wasn’t on varsity sports teams at my high school. On a team of over 100 girls, that didn’t phase me one bit. I wanted to run at Albion because I loved the sport of cross country and didn’t want my career to end when I finished high school. 

I commonly get asked why I choose to be a dual sport athlete if DIII schools aren’t allowed to offer students scholarships, according to NCAA rules. My answer to that is simply because I enjoy running, diving and competing. 

Each team is a family to me and getting to be a part of that family is special to me. 

All Dlll athletes come into college rearrange their college careers and schedules to accommodate for practices and competitions because of their love for the sport. It allows the addition of a sport students are passionate about to continue on the collegiate level, on top of their college experience, just how I am able to continue my passion in cross country.

Continuing to run and dive is something I am doing for myself. Because I love both sports and the feeling of competing, I keep pushing myself to do both.

I began running cross country and track my freshman year, but that wasn’t the case for diving.  It wasn’t until I joined the dive team my sophomore that I stepped on a diving board for the first time in six years, something I didn’t think I would be able to do ever again. 

I have worked out the transition between each season with both coaches and my schedule when I have seasons overlap to make sure I am getting to practices for both sports. 

Dlll allows for the opportunity for athletes to reach out to coaches with their interest to continue their career at the collegiate level. Albion allows for potential athletes to fill out a recruitment form of interest. 

Dlll allows athletes to come into college and continue the sport they love the most when they didn’t think they were good enough to continue at the collegiate level. Many aspiring student-athletes  didn’t know it was possible to continue the sport they love while having the many possibilities to make the most out of their college experience until they heard of DIII.

About Erin Lathrop 56 Articles
Erin is a senior from Saline, Mich.. She is on the Track, Cross Country, and Swim and Dive team. Erin is at Albion College studying to become a nurse. She is, also, the movie Trolls and Trolls 2: World Tours' number one fan.

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