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HPJ and Multicultural Affairs Hold Sympoisum on the Division III Student Athlete Experience

Ohio Northern University presented “Paying the Price To Play: a symposium on the Division III Student Athlete Experience,” in the James F. Dicke College of Business Administration Forum on Thursday, on April 14.

The event was sponsored by the ONU History, Politics and Justice Department and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, featured two panels. One panel consisted of Division III administrators and coaches and the second panel featured current and former athletes.

Russ Crawford, assistant professor of History at ONU and organizer of the event, along with Clyde Pickett, said, “The headlines are dominated by the Big-Time athletic programs, but there is more to the story of American university athletics. Division III athletes play mostly for the love of the game, and face many issues that their big-time counterparts do not. We feel this symposium was a great opportunity to explore the current and future concerns of Division III student athletes and how their experience is different from their Division I and II athletic counterparts. With the two panels, I think we got a great insight into all aspects of Division III sports from the administrators to the athletes.”

Clyde Picket, director of the Multicultural Office at ONU, served as moderator.

The administration and coach’s panel tackled the issues of laboring in anonymity, applying the NCAA rules and opportunities, as well as looking at possible changes that might be needed and the future issues that face the Division III athlete. They also discussed the imbalance in resources among Division III schools and the high standards expected from their athletes.

Members of the administration and coach’s panel consisted of Paul Govekar, ONU associate professor of management and faculty athletic representative to the Ohio Athletic Conference, Anthony Gholson, head basketball coach at Heidelberg, Fred Barends, head track coach at Capital University, John Rhodes, head basketball coach for ONU and Tom Simmons, athletic director at ONU.

The athletic panel, consisted of present and past student athletes will give their first-person insight into competing at the Division III level and the issues they face such as the balance between sports and school, the positives and negatives of participating in athletics and the personal sacrifices made by Division III athletes.

Making up the athletic panel were Pat Dochentz, senior football player at ONU, Jayce Born, freshman volleyball player at ONU, Kara Dysert, junior basketball player and ONU alumni, Ezra Bradshaw, a former standout ONU basketball player, Gabriel Washington, a former football player for ONU, and Derrick Flynn, a senior basketball player from Heidelberg University.

The Symposium gained notice from the NCAA Division III National Office. Gary Brown, from that office, attended the event and wrote a story for their website that included some video interviews of the participants.