News | Stephen Chang for The Clarion
Photo for The Clarion by Erin Gallagher
The Bethel athletic department hosted a presentation on the topic of integration on Wednesday, May 1. The morning event was held in the Eastlund Room and included breakfast for those in attendance. Funding to host the event was provided by the NCAA, which gave a grant of $1,500 to cover expenses.
The presentation, led by athletic director Bob Bjorklund and faculty athletic representative Bruce Olsen, focused on the integration of student-athletes’ time spent in sports and time spent in classrooms. Topics discussed included breakdowns of the number of athletes admitted, financial aid packages, student-athlete performance in the classroom and ways in which athletes keep up with residence and campus life. Athletic department staff commented on available data and noted areas in which the department was doing well, as well as areas that needed improvement.
Senior women’s athletics administrator Gretchen Hunt commented, “College is a time of learning and growth – a time to follow passions and develop potential.” For Division III student-athletes, time spent in the classroom and earning an academic degree is seen as crucial to this growth period. Hunt added, “The Division III experience allows for passionate participation in a competitive athletics environment, where student-athletes push themselves to excellence and build upon their academic success with new challenges and life skills.” At Bethel, student-athletes are encouraged to pursue the full spectrum of opportunities available during their time in college, which provides them with a more comprehensive educational experience. Division III sports give student-athletes an integrated environment that enables them to follow both their educational and athletic passions.
By providing a detailed breakdown and open discussion on demographics between non-student-athletes and student-athletes, the athletic department staff hopes to work together with students to build a comprehensive experience: a rigorous and competitive athletic environment paired with academic excellence that will allow athletes to succeed not only on the field but also in the classroom.