NCAA proposals to make changes

By Antonio Masone
April 29, 2004

Deborah Campbell

The National Collegiate Athletic Association voted on 11 proposals this past January affecting Division III schools such as Cabrini. Most of the rule changes would cut down on the hours of athletic participation to force student-athletes to focus more on academics.

One rule change affects students wishing to transfer. Prior to the winter of 2004, a student athlete interested in transferring had to be released by his or her athletic department before contacting another institution. Proposal 59 in the January voting allows “student athletes who wish to transfer to another Division III college to contact such institutions without consulting with their current coaches or athletic directors.”

Men’s Lacrosse Coach Steve Colfer said, “It [Proposal 59] would have a negative effect. A coach should be involved at some level to provide some guidance with eligibility, financial aid, and things of that sort.”

Others opposing Colfer argue that a Division III student athlete has the right to keep their options open without consulting their coach. Karen Pelkey, women’s softball coach, said, “If you’re unhappy, you have the right to go. Division III is a more personal atmosphere; we don’t own you.”

Kate Corcoran, assistant women’s basketball coach, agreed with Pelkey. She explained that Division III athletes are not receiving money to play and at the end of their schooling are forced to pay back massive loans. Corcoran went on to say that this rule is fair to students because they should have the right to choose the school they want to transfer to.

Tracey Stabler, a second year student who participates in women’s tennis, feels that because Division III does not offer scholarships the college should not have the final decision on whether a student can transfer to another school and participate in their activities.

According to Athletic Director Leslie Danehy, student athletes who redshirt due to a lack of playing time will no longer be tolerated in Division III programs. This proposal will be enforced mainly to discourage athletes from becoming a five-year students.

Another rule change eliminated “redshirting,” the practice whereby a student would sit out of athletics for a year and still retain athletic eligibility for four years. Proposal 57 states that “athletes who do not compete in a specific season for legitimate academic reason, such as class-time conflicts or study abroad, can practice with their team at other times for the year without using a season of eligibility.”

Junior English/communications major and field hockey player Holly Orlando said, “I do not agree with Division III players redshirting [unless they are hurt] because student athletes that go to Division III schools should be there primarily for an education.”

The NCAA committee passed Proposal 63 that limited the non-traditional seasons to 16 practice days and one day of competition. Sports that rely on non-traditional seasons for practice and preparation of the upcoming regular season will be affected as a result of this rule change.

Sophomore softball player Jen Taggart said, “I think this rule is unfair because the off- season is our only chance to compete against Division I teams. So in a sense, this rule is holding us back from fulfilling our team goals and proving ourselves as a good team that is able to compete against higher division schools.”

Men’s lacrosse will feel the effect of this rule change because the traditional season does not begin until the second semester, allowing the team less time to prepare in the fall. “I like to have as much contact as possible to make sure our freshmen as well as our returning players start off on the right foot, academically and socially,” Colfer said.

Jackie Neary, head women’s field hockey and lacrosse coach, said, “I don’t feel as though I am as affected as say women’s softball or boys’ lacrosse. Roughly 80 percent of my players participate in two sports, so we don’t really have time for an off-season.”

Two of the 11 proposals were rejected by the NCAA voting committee. One rejected proposal had to do with decreasing the maximum number of games in the traditional season, and the other to eliminate athletic participation in the “nontraditional” season.

“Limiting hours of the division that probably puts the least amount in is crazy. Unlike Division I, which may have mandatory game film and lifting programs, we work that into our 20 hours a week. We are hardly the abusers here,” Colfer said.

Life without lacrosse

Besides redshirting, there are other common stories told of saved and lost NCAA eligibility.

A student- athlete may struggle with school- work for the duration of the semester, maintaining a GPA high enough to continue schooling, but low enough to lose an athletic scholarship, causing the athlete to leave his or her team. That was the case for third-year New York Institute of Technology attackman, Joe Droge.

Droge was given the option to take summer classes in order to raise his GPA for the following school year. Despite controversy with professors over work that was not received, Droge felt that he was put in an unnecessary situation and decided to transfer.

Prior to the NCAA voting this past January, student-athletes did not have the option to speak with another coach or institution until the player was released by his or her coach and athletic department.

“When I decided I was going to leave my former school, Adelphi University, due to the controversy with the summer classes, my former coach told me he would help me transfer anywhere as long as it was not another Division II school. At this point I was unhappy with the entire situation and decided to transfer to Suffolk County Community College to get my GPA back to where it should have been,” Droge said.

Droge was a starting attackman and was also named to the All-New York Collegiate Athletic Conference Second Team at Adelphi his freshman year.

According to Droge, the situation at Adelphi left a sour taste in his mouth. Upon leaving he was not sure where he was headed, but had decided it was time to take a break from lacrosse.

After nearly a year and a half of spending hours at the gym, Droge returned to the field as a starting attackman for the NYIT Bears, a rival of his former school, Adelphi. “People made it seem that I was nothing without lacrosse,” Droge said.

Following the April 10, 2004 meeting of the two teams, Droge who netted two goals and tallied two assists said, “Aside from winning the National Championship, I couldn’t imagine a better feeling than this.”

Redshirt-freshman leads new team

Steve Hill was granted a medical redshirt from his former school, Drexel University, after being injured in the fall season of his freshman year.

Hill, a graduate of Ridley High School, is happy with the decision he made to join two other Ridley graduate, junior Rory Friel, and sophomore Kevin Rayer. “Playing with them has made the transition so much easier. I played on an attack line with the two of them in high school. They help me fit in,” Hill said.

According to Hill, competition at the Division III level is much different. “Playing Division I, you have a job everyday of your life you have lacrosse. You spend your winters lifting and conditioning for the upcoming season,” Hill said.

Now at Cabrini, Hill’s grades have improved and he is happy with his overall situation. “My parents left the decision up to me. Cabrini had the best program in the area, and I felt that another year without lacrosse would cause me to lose interest and hurt my overall skill and development,” Hill said.

Junior teamate Rory Friel said, “I have played with Steve from youth league to now in college. It is easy to say that he is the most fundamentally sound player on the field. He has made an immediate impact on the field.”

As of April 22, 2004, Hill was at the top of the statistics list with 22 goals and five assists.

Posted to the web by Lauren Joseph

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Antonio Masone

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