Why Augie Athletics is valuable to students

Hailey Glasnovich

Augustana College is part of the NCAA Division III athletics program. This is different from Division I and II schools because the NCAA prohibits athletic scholarships to athletes attending Division III schools. The question remains: are there benefits to playing sports at Augie?

I believe that Augie gives the best of both worlds when it comes to athletics and academics. Being a Division III school gives priority to earning a degree, but it also provides the opportunity to participate in a sport at a competitive level.

Senior Joseph Addison, member of the Augustana men’s water polo team and men’s swim team, values the flexibility that he has at a Division III school.

“[Augustana] offered the combination I was looking for,” Addison said. “A school offering water polo and swimming had the biggest pull in my decision-making; it offered me the chance to continue doing what I loved the most, this time at the next level.”

Not only does Addison enjoy the level of competition at a Division III school, but also the emphasis on the students.

“A Division III school offered small class sizes that greatly benefited my learning style,” Addison said. “As an accounting major, I could also graduate with enough credits to sit for the Certified Public Accountant Exam without having to take additional classes after graduation. Any other division would have made me sacrifice an important preference.”

Augustana is known for its Academic All-American athletes, a recognition for a cumulative 3.3 GPA or higher and some sort of accomplishment within a sport. These differ amongst sports, but Academic All-Americans demonstrate a balance of academics and athletics, which benefits both the academic and athletic sides of a school.

First-year basketball player Charlotte Frere chose Augie athletics because of the balance within being a student athlete.

“I wanted more opportunity to play, and I liked the academic side of a D-III school with a more personalized education,” Frere said. “I also look at myself as an athlete with a lot of potential instead of immediate talent so I thought the coaches here would be more willing to work with me and get me where I need to be.”

The personal relationships that can be developed with professors, as well as coaches, give incentives for student-athletes to choose a Division III school such as Augustana. Sometimes the desire for competing at a collegiate level is sufficient at the Division III level because of focus on academic accomplishments rather than solely athletics.

I think that bigger Division I and II schools give more likelihood of just being a number or body on a team without having a true place or value. The bonding that comes from being involved in the close-knit community of a Division III school is unmatched elsewhere. 

Augie athletics gives those who want to compete at the collegiate level an opportunity to grow in their experience and skill without being overshadowed in the bigger leagues.

As a member of the Augustana swim and dive team, I was able to contribute to the women’s first CCIW championship title in over a decade. The focus on my schoolwork, the flexibility I had with my coach and the support I had with my teammates gave me the best college experience last season. Being able to make history at a smaller school is better than saying I am just a name on a roster at a bigger division school. 

I can say with confidence that I would never have had that experience at a different school.