#MaconNation: Division III Week at R-MC

From Monday, April 6 to Sunday, April 12, the National Colligate Athletic Association (NCAA) celebrated Division III Week. The NCAA introduced this celebratory week in 2010 and plans on continuing it as a tradition for celebrating Division III athletes and athletic programs.

Division III Week gives a voice to D3 schools and allows them to explain their preference in competing in the third division. The NCAA reminds everyone that being a colligate athlete at any level “combines rigorous academics, competitive sports and an opportunity to pursue other interests.”

As stated on their website, the NCAA has been working every year since 2010 to give “a positive opportunity for all individuals associated with Division III to observe and celebrate the impact of athletics and of student-athletes on the campus and surrounding community.”

D3 Week is when student athletes are recognized, and when D3 schools, like Randolph-Macon, can celebrate their athletic programs with each other and with their communities. The NCAA stated that

their main goal for this week is the “full integration of our student-athletes into the campus culture.”

To assist with that process this year, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) in association with the NCAA created a video called Division III SAAC You Can Play. The SAAC created this video in order to remind people that no matter what your sexual orientation is, “if you can play, you can play in Division III.”

The LGBTQ community is part of many college cultures, including R-MC’s, and the SAAC is seeking

to remind students that who someone loves should not affect how they perform on a sports team and that it is important to support our teammates.

Former student athlete and alumna Audrey Hester was featured in the SAAC video. She said that “the term ‘gay’ doesn’t mean stupid, lame or less than.”

Another student pledged to speak up when the word “gay” is used in a derogatory way.

Many student athletes fear ‘coming-out’ to their teammates because of the judgments that some people may pass on them.

In schools all over the country, athletes have admitted to being gay, and in many cases, their teams support them with open arms. This is not the case for every student, however.

In some cases, openly gay athletes are asked to leave the team, are benched or are even harassed. Because of responses like those to LGBTQ athletes, the SAAC chose this topic to highlight this year and to raise awareness of the discriminations against LGBTQ athletes.

The SAAC and the NCAA are working together through the celebration of D3 schools across the county to encourage athletes and student bodies as a whole to support and be there for each other no matter what the circumstances are.

Wherever there is discrimination or derogatory terms being used, whether it is referring to race, sexual orientation or a battery of other things, it is important for students to support each other.

-Kayla Koslosky ’18, Staff Writer

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