Johns Hopkins coaches pleased with retention of NCAA waiver

Administrators are lauded for lobbying to protect Division I lacrosse status

Colleges

January 13, 2004|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Johns Hopkins coaches expressed relief and gratitude to their school administration yesterday after NCAA Division III members voted decisively to allow Hopkins and seven other institutions to continue conducting multi-divisional athletic programs.

They cited intensive efforts by university president William R. Brody, his executive assistant, Jerry Schnydman, athletic director Tom Calder and associate director Josh MacArthur as responsible for the outcome that kept intact an amendment titled Proposal 65-1, which permits Division III schools to maintain "historically significant" programs in Division I.

At Hopkins, that means men's and women's lacrosse. Twenty-four other varsity sports are conducted under Division III guidelines, which forbid scholarships.

"I was very happy and appreciative that Division III presidents and athletic directors saw fit to vote overwhelmingly in our favor," said men's lacrosse coach Dave Pietramala. "Our president and athletic directors put forth great effort to support our Division I program here. President Brody made it clear that Johns Hopkins would continue to compete at the highest level of lacrosse [the vote notwithstanding]."

Said women's lacrosse coach Janine Tucker: "It proves that when your way of life is threatened, you develop a deeper appreciation for what you have. The universities really banded together and showed tremendous camaraderie."

The waiver also allows Clarkson (N.Y.); Colorado College; Hartwick (N.Y.); Oneonta (N.Y.); Rensselaer Tech (N.Y.); Rutgers-Newark and St. Lawrence (N.Y.) to compete in various Division I sports.

"Hopkins sounded pretty confident about the way it would turn out," said baseball coach Bob Babb. "I know I try to run our program as if it's first-class no matter what division. I couldn't be happier with it.`

Football coach Jim Margraff said: "I really expected this, once I saw the effort being put forth by Johns Hopkins and the other seven schools. They did a marvelous lobbying job and they were right. In my mind, it was a useless piece of legislation, and what happened validates my faith in the Division III membership."

Men's basketball coach Bill Nelson had been less certain despite the school's campaigning after talking with fellow coaches.

"I'm thrilled," Nelson said. "Hopefully, it passed so soundly that it won't come up again for a long while. I fail to see any advantage we have because of a Division I lacrosse team. If we have any advantage, it's Johns Hopkins itself. The school is known worldwide, and we can get a foot in the door talking to recruits. But I don't think in 18 years I've recruited one player who came here because of a Division I lacrosse team."

The coaches did not wish to speculate on what might have happened had the vote had the opposite outcome.

"I think that the president would have taken time to evaluate the situation and look at what was needed," Pietramala said. "But it was very reassuring to see him fight so hard to maintain what we had. He was also committed to our Division III sports. We co-exist, and the athletes in both divisions have great respect for each other."

Said Margraff: "The only effect if it passes would have been to complicate things at all eight schools. It [eliminating the waiver] would have done nothing to help anybody."

Tucker said she wasn't nervous about the vote yesterday, "and I couldn't figure out why. I think it had to do with all the time and effort our people put in educating the NCAA members."

Still Division I

Johns Hopkins is one of eight Division III schools that retained a waiver to compete in Division I, with athletic scholarships, in selected sports (M-men's; W-women's):

School Sport(s)

Clarkson Ice hockey (M)

(N.Y.) Ice hockey (W)

Colorado Ice hockey (M)

College Soccer (W)

Hartwick Soccer (M)

(N.Y.) Water polo (W)

Johns Lacrosse (M)

Hopkins Lacrosse (W)

Oneonta (N.Y.) Soccer (M)

Rensselaer Ice hockey (M)

Tech (N.Y.)

Rutgers- Volleyball (M)

Newark

St. Lawrence Ice hockey (M)

(N.Y.) Ice hockey (W)

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