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08-15-2003

Statement By President Collins On Proposed NCAA Legislation

The following statement concerning proposed NCAA legislation was released by President Tony Collins this afternoon:

Clarkson University is joining St. Lawrence University, Colorado College and Rensselaer in publicly expressing its deep concern about proposed NCAA legislation that would eliminate Division I athletic scholarships for student athletes from eight colleges that offer mostly Division III sports.

The first reason for our opposition is that athletic scholarships enable Clarkson University to attract student/athletes who can both compete at the Division I level, and benefit from a Clarkson education. Their graduation rates and success after graduation are testament to their abilities as students as well as their abilities on the ice. Among our hockey alumni are individuals who have become business, science and technology leaders, as well as professional hockey players and managers. Their experience confirms that Clarkson University has been able to attract Division I student/athletes who receive the full benefit of a Clarkson education.

The Presidents Council's recommendation suggests that it is incompatible for a school to have Division I programs that grant athletic scholarships alongside Division III programs that do not. However, at Clarkson, students who are involved in these athletic programs are treated equitably and all benefit from a philosophy of academics and athletics that promotes their total development. The presence of a Division I program at Clarkson in no way diminishes our commitment to Division III values and philosophy.

A second reason for Clarkson's opposition is that in 1982 the NCAA "grandfathered" its approval of these Division I offerings in Division III schools. They did so in recognition of the strong traditions, pride and competitive spirit that these programs brought to the schools. Indeed, Clarkson has a long and deep history that includes competitive Division I athletics.

Based on the 1982 NCAA ruling, Clarkson has made strategic investments in these programs in good faith, including the development of a women's Division I program that promotes gender equity. The NCAA sends a very troubling message if it removes its approval, thereby undermining investments made in valued athletic programs and people.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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