The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has announced that beginning September 1st, 2014, Sarah Lawrence College will enter their final trial year of membership for the 2014-2015 collegiate year. Instead of entering the NCAA two years from now, the college is expected to become a full member by the 2015-2016 season. What is traditionally a four-year process will now become a three-year process.
The process of joining the NCAA began four years ago after completing an “exploratory year,” as an effort by the college and Athletics Department to attract student-athletes who were interested in Sarah Lawrence. Since then, Sarah Lawrence has added several sports, such as women’s soccer, and has increased the lengths of seasons and number of competitions. In the 2013-2014 school year, over 150 student athletes competed in 15 varsity programs.
In order to be granted this waiver, the college was required to produce compelling evidence of satisfactory progress. The athletics department was required to meet minimums on the number of student athletes who competed, as well as the number of competitions that were held each season. 12 varsity teams have recently transitioned from the Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to the larger Skyline Conference for the 2014-2015 school year.
“[The NCAA] was really impressed with our application for this waiver,” said Director of Athletics and Physical Education Kristin Maile. “They said it was one of the most thorough they had seen.” Maile is confident Sarah Lawrence will remain on track for full membership by 2015.
By joining the NCAA, Sarah Lawrence would gain voting rights in NCAA legislature in addition to access to different grants, postgraduate scholarships funds, and guest speakers. Sarah Lawrence would also be eligible to compete in NCAA championships, allowing the Gryphons to compete past conference championships.
“It’s name brand recognition,” said Maile “It provides standards for us as a staff and facility, but it also guarantees that other schools are living up to the same standards. It’s sometimes helpful to think of joining NCAA as seeking ‘accreditation’ for our athletics program, similarly to the way many schools seek accreditation for academic programs or majors.”
The Sarah Lawrence Gryphons kick off the competition season on Sept 6, 2014
Photo taken from Gogrpyhons.com
by Colette Harley '17