Mount Union Participates in NCAA Division III Week
April 08, 2013
ALLIANCE, Ohio—The University of Mount Union is celebrating NCAA Division III Week from April 8-14, 2013.
The Division III level is made up of 439 active member institutions and 43 voting conferences. Mount Union has been a member of the Ohio Athletic Conference, which encompasses other institutions such as Baldwin Wallace, John Carroll, Marietta and Ohio Northern, since 1914.
Division III schools compete under the principle that the academic performance of student-athletes should be consistent with the general student body. Students who enroll at a Division III institution are not permitted to receive any type of financial aid based on athletic leadership, ability, performance or participation, and three-quarters of all student-athletes in Division III receive non-athletic scholarships.
“I love being a student-athlete,” said senior Mary Mahoney. “Sports are important to me, but I value getting a good education first and foremost, and Mount Union was able to provide that environment.”
Because they can only receive scholarships of a scholastic nature, student-athletes must keep their grades consistent with non-athlete students in order to maintain scholarships. With less focus on games and practices, athletes participating in Division III sports have been found to have better academic performance and a more well-rounded college experience.
According to junior Kristen Gromes, one benefit of a Mount Union education is the endless possibilities offered to students with different interests.
“I came to Mount Union to play volleyball and to pursue engineering,” she said. “There are countless opportunities on campus both in my field of study and as an athlete.”
Division III is the NCAA’s largest division. Despite holding 40% of total membership, Division III is allocated only 3.18% of NCAA’s operating budget, which equals about $25 million being spread across member institutions in 2012-2013.
Division III schools sponsor an average of 17 sports. Mount Union currently offers 23 intercollegiate sports including those such as golf, lacrosse and wrestling, as well as many others. Currently, 37% of Mount Union’s students participate in at least one sport.
“I wanted to play basketball in college, and I knew Mount Union was the place I wanted to come play,” said senior Brittany Kilgore, a member of the women’s basketball team. “The team and I had great chemistry, and I felt this was the right place for me.”
Football is by far the most popular sport across all NCAA divisions. The Purple Raiders recently won their 11th NCAA Division III National Championship in 2012, beating St. Thomas at the Stagg Bowl with a score of 28-10. Having led the Purple Raiders to 11 national championships and various other records since 1993, football coach Larry Kehres is now the most winning coach in college football history.
Senior football player Antonio Tate believes that unlike some students at Division I schools, Division III athletes compete in the sport purely for the love of the game.
"There’s not much recognition and surely no financial benefits,” said Tate, “but playing to our best abilities for our teammates, coaches and school gives us great pride and joy.”
The average enrollment at a DIII institution is 2,734. Only 20% of active DIII institutions are public, with the remaining 80% being comprised of private schools.