A recent trend in college athletics, which has been flying under the radar, is that a growing percentage of top high school athletes are deciding to play sports at Division III programs (where there aren’t any athletic scholarships) instead of Division I universities. The reason is primarily three-fold: 1) Besides the high-profile sports — football, men’s and women’s basketball, and in some cases women’s volleyball — the vast majority of college athletic scholarships are only “partials,” meaning they cover only a fraction of the tuition bill (in many cases, only one-third or one-fourth the cost of tuition); 2) Division I programs, despite only offering partial scholarships, demand students to make a much larger commitment of time to practices, team meetings, etc. relative to their Division III counterparts (taking away from the overall college experience); and 3) True student-athletes, whose focus is getting a quality education, are choosing the better schools that populate the Division III level — schools that also have less athletic pressure — even if it means paying more in tuition (although in some cases, student-athletes can receive substantial need-based aid or academic merit scholarships at Division III schools).
A by-product of this trend is that top Division-III teams have been regularly beating Division I teams — especially in men’s and women’s tennis, men’s swimming, women’s golf, and other lower profile sports. Men’s lacrosse is a prime example. Scott Craig, the boy’s lacrosse coach at West Islip High School in New York believes the playing field in his sport at the college level is nearly flat, saying, “Once you get past the top 15 or 20 D-I schools, the top D-III teams can totally compete.”
Craig says the allure of Division III colleges is “You can go to Division III and have a more academic setting. You don’t have that kind of offseason commitment that you have in D-I.” That is appealing to a large number of high school recruits that are now choosing the best schools they can get into academically. A key point is that there is an abundance of need-based aid and academic-based merit scholarships available for economically-disadvantaged high school seniors looking to go to college and continue their athletic careers.
The League of Fans is pushing for a return to the original intent of college athletics: real students interested in making sports part of their overall educational experience while on campus.
It looks like we are beginning to trend that way.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan in the year 2022.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
Order from Amazon
Order from Amazon
Order from Amazon
Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon