College President Answer Questions About NCAA III Transition-Brevard NC
Why the decision to go to NCAA Division III?
Joyce: The college saw an opportunity to enhance the student experience. Division III is a great fit for Brevard College. Division III will align with the college's mission, enhance the student experience, and position Brevard with schools similar in size and resources.
Athletics at the Division III level give student-athletes an opportunity to become more well-rounded in their educational lives. The college feels that reclassifying as a Division III institution could help Brevard stay true to its mission and commitment to an experiential, liberal arts education. The ideals of Division III more closely align with Brevard's goals for educating its students and would allow student-athletes opportunities to participate in educational programs and intensive learning opportunities.
What role did competitiveness play in the decision?
Joyce: Operating our athletics programs within the parameters of Division III would afford Brevard the opportunity to compete against peer institutions that are similar in terms of size and resources. A move to Division III would ensure that Brevard competes on a more level playing field within the conference.
How will travel expenses impact your budgets?
Joyce: Schools participating in Division III are further away than schools we are currently competing against. Travel expenses will increase; however, cost savings from no longer providing grants-in-aid to student-athletes can be applied to these expenses.
The college was on probation for financial reasons Will this improve the financial status of the institution?
Joyce: Brevard is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, received a positive financial review from the U.S. Department of Education, is opening a new on-campus coffee shop this week, and recently secured a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on a new $6.4 million dorm that will house 84 students and is the first phase of a campus revitalization plan.
Our bond rating has increased for three consecutive years now – most recently upgrading from B+ to BB- with an "Outlook of Stable."
In addition, enrollment has been at a record high for two consecutive years and is expected to increase to a new record high during the Fall 2015 semester.
Cost savings from no longer providing grants-in-aid to student-athletes can be applied to enhancing the student experience in other areas of the college as well as in the realm of athletics.
Do you expect attrition of athletes and coaches as a result of the decision?
Joyce: We have spoken with all of our coaches, and they have communicated with their athletes. At this time, we do not anticipate attrition of athletes or coaches as a result of this reclassification.
Do you have any concerns about the transition?
Joyce: We are 100 percent confident in our education program here at Brevard College, and we are thrilled that we will have the opportunity to further enhance the student experience for athletes and non-athletes. We expect to be more competitive in all sports at the conference, regional, and national levels.
The benefits of more successful teams competing for conference titles will lead to more student engagement and community pride
People may view this as a step down. What is your response to that?
Joyce: We certainly don't view this as a step downward, but rather as an opportunity to be true to our college's mission statement.
Was this part of the college's plan from the start - a progression from Junior College, to NAIA, to Division II and then to Division III (in light of the fact that the NCAA was not admitting Division III members when the last transition was made)?
Joyce: I'm not aware of any plans made by previous administrations.
We strongly believe that Division III is the best move for our institution at this time regardless of any decisions that were made in the past.
It's a better fit for Brevard College and allows us to enhance the student experience by staying true to our mission.
What are the major differences between Division II and Division III regarding practices, scholarships, recruiting, postseason, scheduling?
Joyce: The biggest difference is that Division III has no athletic scholarships. All students have access to the same financial aid opportunities regardless of whether they play a sport. Student-athletes don't play and practice year-round in Division III like they do in other divisions.
This gives them more time to engage in educational pursuits outside the classroom, which is something we emphasize here at Brevard. Most of the other aspects are similar - the NCAA still runs postseason tournaments with a similar selection process, and scheduling doesn't work any differently.
Without battling for top recruits over scholarship money, coaches tend to emphasize the college and its academic offerings heavily in recruiting.
Explain the transition process.
Joyce: The process typically takes five years to complete. The first year is an exploratory year where administrators have several meetings with NCAA personnel to ensure that the college is a good fit for the Division III athletic model while still competing in their current division and conference. Our exploratory year won't begin until fall 2016. If an institution decides to continue pursuing Division III, they become provisional members as they gradually come into compliance with Division III rules, which includes phasing out athletic scholarships.
Provisional membership typically lasts for four years. After the provisional process is complete, schools become full Division III members.
What are the athletic and academic benefits of going to Division III?
Joyce: Athletically, we'll be able to compete against schools that are similar in size, mission, and culture. We expect that we'll be more competitive as we primarily take on our true peer institutions in Division III. Academically, we expect to give our student-athletes a more well-rounded college experience by providing them the time to participate in academic programs and intensive learning opportunities that they wouldn't otherwise have.
What are the drawbacks to athletics and academics to going to Division III? (Will there be a dip in the number of athletes attending BC?)
Joyce: We don't expect a large dip in student-athletes as we enter the transitional phase. We'll still be members of Division II and the South Atlantic Conference for the next two years.
Any academic scholarships, work-study positions, etc. will be unaffected. We think that this move will prove to be a great benefit for Brevard College in the years to come.