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The Dartmouth
May 23, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Committee: Switch athletics to Division III

Academic department chairs yesterday discussed a report that recommends moving Dartmouth athletic teams from National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I to Division III classification.

The report, issued a year ago by the Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid was presented at a meeting of the Committee of Chairs by Anthropology Professor Hoyt Alverson, who chairs the admissions and financial aid committee; Bob Ceplikas, an assistant to the Athletic Director and Dean of Admissions Karl Furstenburg .

The report examined the implications of Division I recruiting on the College's budget and on the admissions process.

Furstenberg said the report recommended switching to Division III or reforming athletic recruitment regulations within the Ivy League. "The report recommends that Dartmouth and the Ivy League think about [changing to Division III] because of the amount of money involved in Division I and the implications of [Division I recruiting] on the admissions process," he said.

During the meeting College President James Freedman emphasized that Dartmouth would act on the report only in conjunction with the entire Ivy League, which falls within NCAA Division I, the classification for the most competitive college sports teams.

Division I consists of conferences which include most of the country's largest private and public universities. The Ivy League is the only Division I conference that does not offer athletic scholarships to its students.

Division III includes smaller schools like Amherst, Williams, Bowdoin and Middlebury colleges. Freedman said he would bring up the recommendations in the report at a June meeting of Ivy League presidents.

He said introducing the Dartmouth recommendations there would test whether other schools had any interest in moving to Division III.

Freedman said he guessed they would not show the interest and reaffirmed that Dartmouth would not make any unilateral changes without the entire Ivy League.

"There are many other ways where changes in the constitutional rules of the league can affect these [recommendations]," Freedman said.

NCAA rules require all teams from a school to compete in the same division, and only one team can "play up" in a higher division. For example if Dartmouth were in Division III, it could select crew or football or soccer to play in Division.

At the meeting professors discussed last year's decision to end freshman football teams in the Ivy League which meant that the number of football players recruited each year changed from 50 to 35, a number closer to those recruited by Division III schools.

The chair of the admissions and financial aid committee reports on the committee's progress once each year. Two years ago, the admissions and financial aid committee produced a report which called for the reduction of financial aid to international students.

The committee "was concerned about the aid decrease and started to look at other things Dartmouth spends money on," Furstenburg said.

"The Ivy League is a model for what Division I can be -- high standards and no scholarships; students who are students first and athletes second," Furstenberg said.

Furstenburg said the difference in recruiting between Division I, the Ivy League, and Division III is "a matter of degree."

There was no vote on the issue at the meeting.