VWU athletics attends NCAA Convention

Featured Image: From left: President Scott D. Miller, Director of Athletics Andrea Hoover-Erbig and Chair of Sport and Recreation Professions Dr. Jill Sturts stand together at the 2023 NCAA Convention held Jan. 11 – 14 in San Antonio, Texas. @prezscottmiller on Instagram | Courtesy

The 2023 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Convention took place Jan. 11 – 14th in San Antonio, Texas and Virginia Wesleyan University had three representatives attend. Those attendees included President Scott D. Miller, Chair and Associate Professor of Sport and Recreation Professions and Faculty Athletic Advisor Dr. Jill Sturts and Executive Director of Athletics Andrea Hoover-Erbig. 

The yearly convention is always held in January and this year it returned to being fully in-person. It was attended by more than 3,000 people representing their respective schools and conferences.

According to the NCAA website, a variety of awards and events are held during the four-day conference. Events included the NCAA Honors Celebration in which four awards were given out. 

First was the Theodore Roosevelt Award, which is the highest award of the conference. The second award given out was the Inspiration Awards, which, according to the NCAA website, is given to someone who overcame a life-threatening situation with perseverance and determination. The third award given out was the Silver Anniversary Awards, which honors a group of athletes celebrating 25 years of completing their collegiate career. The last series of awards handed out was the Today’s Top 10 Awards, which are handed out to 10 senior student athletes from the previous academic year. 

  The NCAA Women of the Year luncheon where the NCAA Woman of the Year award was handed out at the convention for the first time. The winner, selected out of a nine women field, was Karenna Groff, an All-American soccer player from Massachusetts Institute of Technology who majored in biological engineering.

Other events at the convention included a NCAA State of College Sports and the NCAA Saluting Excellence Luncheon where three more awards were given out. This year’s convention also served as the introduction for incoming NCAA president and former Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, who was named NCAA president in December of 2022. His role with the NCAA will begin March of 2023. 

Miller said he attended the convention mainly for Presidents Agenda Day, “in which 85 Division III presidents come together to discuss critical issues impacting the division and the NCAA as a whole.” 

Miller also mentioned how Division III presidents sat down with incoming NCAA President Charlie Baker. “My work at President’s Agenda Day is to continue to advocate for Division III institutions and student-athletes for equitable treatment among the three divisions,” Miller said. 

Hoover-Erbig said it was an NCAA requirement for each school to have a voting delegate, so she served as the delegate for VWU. “The big reason why we were there was for the business session, there were 12 proposals that we voted on as members of Division III,” Hoover-Erbig said. 

She also mentioned how before she went to the convention, she met with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) in regards to the new legislation. Hoover-Erbig also sat down with the Athletic Management Council which includes Dr. Miller, Dr. Sturts and Dr. Lawrence Hultgren who is a philosophy professor at VWU. SAAC leader and Junior Men’s Soccer Midfielder Alex Moody also sat in on those meetings. “Obviously, our vote wants to be representative of our coaching staff and our student athletes,” said Hoover-Erbig. 

Hoover-Erbig mentioned how she enjoyed the awards luncheon where she heard from Muffet McGraw, former Women’s Basketball coach at the University of Notre Dame from 1987- 2020. “I enjoyed hearing her talk, she had some remarks about the current state of the NCAA,” said Hoover-Erbig. She also enjoyed hearing from incoming NCAA president Charlie Baker as he talked about how excited he is about his new role at the State of College Sports session. 

Some results of this convention will affect student athletes immediately. “There was a slight deregulation of social media public communication, as it stands right now, coaching staffs can’t publicly communicate via social media with prospective student athletes that have deposited until May 1, so now effective immediately as long as student athletes has deposited by January 1st that communication can start,” Hoover-Erbig said. 

The other change coming to Division III is a new practice and playing structure which, when changed, will be the same structure as during the 2020-2021 COVID-19 academic year. “We will count days instead of weeks, but there is some structure to it, it’s not straight days, there is a start date and an end date, I think it allows coaches and student athletes to train together with more flexibility,” said Hoover. This new rule will take effect this August.

By Colette Kearney