BC Coaches React To Division III Decision – Brevard NC
Editor's note: the following are remarks from Brevard College coaching personnel regarding the school's recent decision to reclassify from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division III (see the May 21 edition for full details).
Paul Hamilton, head football coach and Shannon Reid, head women's basketball coach, attended Wednesday's press conference with Dr. David Joyce, college president, and Juan Mascaro, athletics director.
Both were in agreement with President Joyce that the reclassification will level the playing field at the college and fit more closely with the school's academic direction.
Both coaches agreed to be interviewed by The Transylvania Times separately from Wednesday's press conference.
Hamilton has coached nearly every collegiate level, from NAIA in the Wofford program's infancy to NCAA Division I at the Air Force under Fisher DeBarry. He also presided over the dismantling of East Tennessee State University's football program in 2003.
Hamilton welcomes the change to Division III and the level playing field it will likely provide. He also does not expect that big of a change when the first Division III kickoff arrives.
"I went from coaching an NAIA school at Wofford to coaching at the Air Force Academy against Colorado State in front of 46,000 people," Hamilton said. "The next Monday, on our afternoon jog, coach DeBarry asked me how it felt.
"I told him when the ball was kicked off, it was the same as any other football game. It's first-and-10 and we've got to get a first down."
That's the philosophy he intends to carry into the transition.
Hamilton also looks forward to a more level playing field among Division III schools, as athletic scholarships will be eliminated.
Under Division II (and South Atlantic Conference) rules, schools could issue 36 athletic scholarships to football players.
The most Brevard College could muster was 18-20, Hamilton said. Those 20 scholarships had to be divided among close to 100 football players, spreading the money pretty thin.
"We've usually averaged 40 to 50, out of our 100 players, have been non-scholarship," Hamilton said.
The team was essentially Division III already.
Hamilton said he'll enjoy coaching the Division III teams as much as the Division I teams that won in South Bend, Ind., Boone, N.C. or Statesboro, Ga.
"Whatever level you're coaching at, you get great joy to see great men and women move forwared in their learning and growing as young people," Hamilton said. "It's a very positive experience and very productive, no matter who we play or in what league we play in."
Head women's basketball coach Shannon Reid welcomes the change to the largest division in the NCAA.
Competition should increase as the playing field evens at the DIII level. The South Atlantic Conference, Brevard's current home, sent five of its teams to the NCAA DII tournament last season.
"Once we become a full member and we are able to compete, I do believe we will be more successful on the playing field," Reid said. "This alone will allow many to stand behind us (fans, supporters, community members and students) and be proud of the work that student-athletes put in."
Economics will also largely be removed from the equation, as athletic scholarships are eventually phased out. The school said it will honor current scholarships during the transition.
"Many would be surprised to know just how underfunded we are compared to our conference foes," Reid said. "It is expensive to be competitive and the price continues to go up at the level in which we compete. We already have extremely talented student-athletes attending Brevard College, but as far as being able to provide a fair, safe, equitable environment for our student-athletes, I do not believe we would ever be able to do this without making the move to Division III."
Reid said she expects the transition to have some impact, as athletes will not be able to compete for postseason play, at least initially.
Whether that will result in player attrition remains to be seen.
"We may lose student-athletes in this transition, whether it be recruiting or the drop off of current rosters," Reid said. "It will be a more expensive tuition and a lower level of competition but it will be something that attracts a more academically minded individual.
"There are young people out there who desire that type of learning environment with a chance to play a sport that they love in second nature."
"We may have to expand our recruiting efforts to find the right fit for the college. With so many other Division I, II, and NAIA athletic programs out there, we clearly have to make a name for ourselves in the Division III world.
"You will see athletes playing more for the desire to be on a team or to play a sport that they love; however, there will be more of a focus on higher education and great academic programs.
"Hopefully it will be a smooth transition and a move that we will see pay off in the long run for Brevard College."