There’s No Week Like D3 Week – The Oracle

Fostering athletic growth and honoring their success with a week-long celebration is one way Hamline ensures its support for athletes while on campus.

The Hamline Women’s Football Team performed a choreographed dance for the first SAAC D3 talent show of the week. (Nathan Steves)

Whatever the day, you can turn on your TV and find college sports being broadcast. Alumni can watch their alma mater thrive on the national stage, and students can talk about how they sit next to the starting point guard in their biology lab. But what about those who are not recognized at the national level?

If you’re at a small college like Hamline, no one brags to their friends about how they sit next to a student athlete. At the end of the day, they are students first, and that’s what Division 3 schools have to offer. No big social media followings, no national recognition, and no high profile endorsements. D3 week is a time to celebrate athletes who play sports not for the praise and attention, but to compete and enjoy the sport they have always loved.

In 2010, D3 Week was created by the NCAA to shine a light on Division 3 athletics and help people understand why students chose to compete at the Division 3 level. The NCAA defined Division 3 as a place where student-athletes can follow their passions and develop their potential.

Needless to say, campus athletes do just that here in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood.

The SAAC talent show encouraged athletes to step out of their comfort zone and have
have fun with their teammates off the field. (Nathan Steves)

“I think it takes a lot to get here in any division so it’s good to celebrate that,” said SAAC representative and Hamline Women’s Soccer midfielder Carin Currier.

Division 1 and Division 2 may sometimes be considered the “top” divisions when varsity athletics is being discussed. This can often lead to Division 3 being considered the “worst division”, but it is not.

“I wasn’t ready to end the competition. D3 athletics has allowed me to continue playing the sport I love and to compete,” said Avery Nelson, SAAC Co-Chair and Hamline Baseball Senior, of choosing a D3 school.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) was one of the main reasons the campus was talking about D3 week. SAAC held a variety of events for Hamline students. Whether it was a blanket-tying event or a social media scavenger hunt and talent show, SAAC representatives made sure the Hamline community saw it as a week unforgettable.

“As I progressed as an athlete here at Hamline, I started to become more passionate and involved in making athletics the best it can be,” Nelson said.

Braeden Bourne, a second-year shortstop for Hamline Baseball, knew he wanted to be involved with SAAC when he knew it was an on-campus organization.

“I knew SAAC prioritized getting everyone on campus involved, whether they were athletes or not, and I had to be a part of that,” he said.

Division 3 athletics isn’t the flashiest or most monetizing division in the vast realm of college athletics, but that’s not important to those who play. The ability to compete, sacrifice for their sport, and be active in their school community are some of the many reasons we should celebrate Division 3 athletics.

The quote “student first, athlete second” is valued and true to those who participate in Division 3 athletics across the country. For those who despise Division 3 athletics, they have to ask themselves a simple question. When was the last time anyone heard of a Division 1 or Division 2 week being celebrated?

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