Division III > Division I

I believe Division III sports are better all-around than Division I sports.

Now I am aware that the talent of a D-I athlete far outweighs the talents of that of a D-III player. But the character of the person, the respect and the overall personality is what makes the sport and the meaning greater. They don’t take what they have for granted.

I’m a journalism major at Rowan University, write for the school’s student paper titled The Whit and am currently an intern with the Gloucester County Times in New Jersey. While writing for The Whit, I got my first beats. In the fall I covered women’s soccer and in the winter I covered men’s basketball. Both were excellent personal experiences to me for two reasons: I got to learn about making a relationship with a team I followed and I learned how human these college athletes really are.

Now I don’t want to stereotype D-I athletes as I know plenty out there are nice people but as I see on TV and as I’ve seen with former players I’ve played high school football with, it’s almost easy to make this statement.

I was never good enough to play college football. I didn’t play much in high school because I was small compared to my team. But I never took that for granted and neither have the guys I’ve known to go on and play D-III football and the players I met in my writing playing D-III sports at Rowan.

This realization recently struck me at the end of the men’s first-round early exit in the playoffs this past Saturday (Feb. 20, 2010). After the game I was waiting to interview the head coach and while standing there, Rowan’s star forward who led the team in scoring and rebounding stopped and chatted with me for a little. He thanked me for all the articles I wrote and that he saved them all and will continue to do so.

This is what I got from that two-minute exchange. This player will never play organized basketball again. Like most student athletes, he will have to get a job out of college. People won’t know that he was the star of a D-III college. But for the two-years he was at Rowan after transferring over, he was somebody. People wanted to know him. Student journalists like me wanted to interview him because he was “the guy.” He will be able to show his children and grand children one day the articles about his excellent play and be proud of them.

D-I athletes have that BMOC (big man on campus) attitude about them. They’re cocky and take advantage of their skills and popularity. They rarely have time for anyone. With a bigger attitude comes bigger problems. One of the players I went to high school with went on to play football at Virginia Tech. In fact he didn’t play much because he thought he was a BMOC. He got a pair of DUI’s and went from being the starting wide receiver this past season to barely playing special teams when his punishment was up. He took what was given to him for granted.

My goal is to make the most of what I do with my time here at Rowan. One thing I learned from that one athlete is to not take anything for granted. I appreciate everything I have received in life and I appreciate the humility I have. My passion is writing and that won’t be done for another 50 years or so. The same can’t be said for the thousands of D-III college athletes every year.

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