The UAA — Where Theory Meets Practice

THE THEORETICAL...
  • Academic excellence and athletic excellence are not mutually exclusive.
    The academic enterprise is the primary element.
  • Athletic excellence properly relates to the caliber of experience offered to students.
  • Athletic programs should reflect the quality of the academic environment within which they exist.
  • A consistent and challenging level of athletic competition should be provided to both women and men.
THE ACTUAL...
  • In 2012-13, 36 student-athletes from UAA institutions were recognized as Capital One Academic All-Americans ®, and nine were named NCAA Postgraduate Scholars.
  • 149 UAA student-athletes received All-America honors, and 13 were individual national champions or players of the year in their respective sports.
  • In 2012-13 NCAA championship competition, 17 UAA teams finished in the top 10 in their national championships, while another 13 finished in the top 20.
For 27 years, the University Athletic Association has served as a bold statement of what college athletics can and should be - that it is highly desirable and possible for a group of committed institutions to conduct a broad-based program of intercollegiate athletics for men and women; to compete with like academic institutions spread over geographically expansive areas; and to seek excellence in athletics while maintaining a perspective which holds the student-athlete and the academic mission of the institution as the center of focus.

The UAA is a significant expression of the principle that the provision of a high-quality college athletic experience is worth the commitment required of an institution. It is worthwhile not only because it benefits the student-athletes, but also because it benefits the entire campus community and, in turn, the institution itself. Perhaps more importantly, the UAA is a strong statement that the success of intercollegiate athletics is wholly dependent upon institutional integrity and the ability of institutions to complete the full integration of athletics into the academic fabric of higher education.

Members of the UAA share the belief that academic excellence and athletic excellence are not mutually exclusive. Implicit in this belief are several sets of assumptions. The first is that the academic enterprise is the primary element. Student-athletes are just that - students first and athletes second.

The second set of assumptions has to do with athletic excellence. Athletic excellence is not to be confused with a win-at-all-costs attitude. It properly relates to the caliber of experience offered to students who participate in intercollegiate athletics. Athletic teams should have the benefit of qualified coaching - capable individuals chosen for professional competence and commitment to putting the welfare of the student first. They should play and practice in first-rate facilities at reasonable times. Their equipment should be safe, of high quality, and conducive to the best performance possible. A consistent and challenging level of athletic competition should be provided to both women and men.

The final assumptions concern what might be termed a proper athletic emphasis. Athletic programs are extracurricular activities conducted for students and should be given consideration similar to that accorded other such institutionally sponsored activities. They should not only complement the academic experience, but should also reflect the quality of the academic environment within which they exist. Division III is an approach to athletics - not a synonym for third-rate.

The University Athletic Association sponsors competition in 22 sports - twelve sports for men and ten sports for women - including football, soccer, cross country, volleyball, basketball, fencing, wrestling, swimming and diving, indoor track and field, baseball, softball, outdoor track and field, tennis, and golf.

Many student-athletes from UAA institutions have been recognized for their achievements as scholars and athletes. During the 2012-13 academic year, 36 student-athletes from UAA institutions were recognized as Capital One Academic All-Americans ®, 149 received All-America honors in team or individual sports, and 13 garnered national championship event titles or Player of the Year accolades.

In addition, nine student-athletes from UAA institutions were among the select group of seniors across the country named NCAA Postgraduate Scholars.

Teams throughout the UAA are perennial contenders for post-season play. In 2012-13, UAA teams advanced to the national championship in women's soccer and women's tennis, and captured the national title in women;s swimming and diving. 12 individuals won national championships, including swimming and diving relays and tennis doubles, and another student-athlete was named national Player of the Year.

In all, 17 UAA teams posted top-10 finishes in their national championships, and 13 others finished in the top 20.

Philosophy Statement

The following statement of philosophy outlined the conceptual framework of the University Athletic Association at the time of its formation in June of 1986 and remains the cornerstone of its mission today.

"For some time, there has been a growing concern among many college administrators over the direction of college athletics. There is a need for a collective public statement as to what college athletics can be - indeed, what college athletics is in the majority of colleges and universities today. The institutions of the University Athletic Association (UAA) believe the time has come to make the strongest possible statement that intercollegiate athletics have a proper role in our colleges and universities, that this role must subsume the athletic enterprise to the academic missions of institutions of higher education and that standards of moral and ethical behavior in the conduct of intercollegiate athletics must be unequivocally articulated and followed. By their association, the institutions of the UAA are committed to act in concert to reaffirm these beliefs.
The founding members of the UAA are Brandeis University · Boston; Carnegie Mellon University · Pittsburgh; Case Western Reserve University · Cleveland; Emory University · Atlanta; Johns Hopkins University · Baltimore; New York University; the University of Chicago; the University of Rochester; and Washington University in St. Louis.

The participants in this association are private, research institutions in major metropolitan areas, who are committed to the NCAA Division III philosophy. They are similar institutions in many ways. They are research universities with several undergraduate programs and divisions as well as graduate and professional programs. Their academic programs are among the best in the country. Their undergraduate populations are also similar.

Although these institutions do not share a common history or saga, they do share a somewhat similar pattern in their historical development. In their beginnings, they rose from unique educational missions peculiar in many ways to the needs of their local metropolitan areas and founding constituencies. During their early years, they developed reputations in their regions as respected institutions, and more recently, they have gained greater national prominence.

Over the last few years, these schools have also shown a greater commitment to raising the quality of undergraduate life on the campuses to a level comparable to the quality of the academic experiences available to their students.
UAA members also share the belief that academic excellence and athletic excellence are not mutually exclusive. Implicit in this belief are several sets of assumptions. The first is that the academic enterprise is the primary element. Student-athletes are just that - students first and athletes second. In practice, this means that institutions will not admit athletes with standards separate from the standards for the aggregate pool of applicants. Similarly, institutional policies regarding financial aid, academic progress, student services and the like for athletes will be reflective of policies for all students.

The second set of assumptions has to do with athletic excellence. Athletic excellence is not to be confused with a win-at-all-costs attitude, but properly relates to the caliber of experience offered to students who participate in intercollegiate athletics. Athletic teams should have the benefit of qualified coaching - capable individuals chosen for professional competence and commitment to putting the welfare of the student first. They should play and practice in first-rate facilities at reasonable times. Their equipment should be safe, of high quality, and conducive to the best performance possible. A consistent and challenging level of athletic competition should be provided for both men and women.

The final assumptions concern what might be termed a proper athletic emphasis. Athletic programs are not considered income centers, nor are they public entertainment. They are extracurricular activities for students and should be given consideration similar to other such institutionally sponsored activities. Their quality should complement the academic experience. Their quality should reflect the quality of the academic environment within which they exist. Division III is an approach to athletics - not a synonym for third-rate.

The members of the University Athletic Association believe that the UAA can become a focal point for improving morale and a sense of community among students, faculty, staff, alumni and others. The support directed to the student-athletes in their endeavors, while central to this effort, can benefit all students, particularly if one of its driving forces is the desire to improve the quality of student life in all its aspects.

The University Athletic Association is a statement of what college athletics can and should be. The provision of a quality college athletic experience is worth the expense required of an institution. It is worthwhile first because it benefits the student-athletes, but also because it benefits the entire campus community and, in turn, the institution itself. Further, the success of college athletics is wholly dependent upon institutional integrity and the ability of institutions to complete the full integration athletics into the academic fabric of higher education."

Organizational Structure

The chief executive officers of the UAA member institutions comprise the Presidents Council of the University Athletic Association. This Council approves all recommended changes to the Constitution and Bylaws; reviews and approves applications for membership and all exemptions from membership requirements; and must approve all actions of the other committees of the UAA. In addition, the Council may refer matters for consideration or propose legislation for enactment by the Delegates Committee.

The Delegates Committee consists of up to four representatives from each member institution appointed by the chief executive officers of their respective institutions. The UAA Constitution states that at least half of the Delegates from each institution shall clearly represent the academic leadership of their respective institutions (i.e. faculty and academic administrators). The Delegates Committee is the principle legislative body of the UAA. The committee provides advice to the Presidents Council on policy recommendations and is responsible for implementing policies and directions adopted by the Presidents Council. It also reviews proposed changes to the Constitution and Bylaws, applications for membership, and exemptions from membership requirements and makes recommendations to the Presidents Council regarding such. Through its Executive Committee, the Delegates provide administrative oversight regarding the day-to-day operation of the Association.

The Executive Committee makes appointments to other committees of the Association, in particular, the Sport Committees. It also receives recommendations from all committees, reviews such recommendations, and presents them to the Delegates for action. The committee may also propose legislation to be considered and enacted by the Delegates. Between meetings of the Delegates Committee, the Executive Committee conducts the business of the Association subject to review of the membership of the Delegates Committee at subsequent meetings. Membership of the Executive Committee includes the Chair and Vice Chair of the Delegates Committee whose offices rotate among the member institutions, a Secretary-Treasurer elected from among the Delegates, an at-large member who must be a woman faculty representative or woman administrator, and the Chair of the Athletic Administrators Committee. The Executive Secretary represents the Executive Committee in most of the day-to-day operations of the Association, and reports to the Chair of the committee.

The Athletic Administrators Committee consists of up to three athletic administrators appointed by each institution. These administrators must represent both the men's and women's athletics programs of their respective institutions. The chair of the committee rotates among the member institutions. The committee coordinates the scheduling and operation of athletic competition among UAA members; prepares and submits to the NCAA for action those legislative items recommended by the Delegates Committee and approved by the Presidents Council; and makes recommendations to the Delegates regarding proposed NCAA legislation which may be of interest to the UAA.

The Administrators also review proposals of the Sport Committees regarding policy matters concerning conduct of contests or championships. In these cases all matters which affect either the student-athlete or individual institutions are forwarded for consideration to the Delegates through the Executive Committee.

The membership of the Sport Committees are appointed by the Executive Committee upon recommendation from the participating member institutions and include coaches and athletic administrators. They are responsible for the conduct of Association festivals, round-robin play, play-offs, tournaments, and championships under policies approved by the Association. The committees maintain handbooks for the conduct of competition and recommend playing conditions governing competition to the Delegates through the Athletic Administrators and Executive Committees. Sport Committees meet annually. In those sports which conduct a festival or championship event, the Sport Committee meetings take place during the festival or championship event. Sport Committees for sports which conduct regular season round-robin competition meet in conjunction with national meetings of their respective coaching associations or on one of the campuses of the participating members. Sport Committees may also meet by conference call when necessary or more convenient.

The Athletic Trainers Committee comprises the head athletic trainers of the member institutions. The committee meets annually at the athletic trainers' national convention. The Athletic Trainers Committee makes recommendations to the Athletic Administrators regarding athletic training and medical safeguard issues related to athletic competition within the Association.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee comprises two student-athletes, one male and one female, appointed by their respective member institutions. This committee makes recommendations to the Delegates Committee regarding student-athlete welfare issues as they relate to competition within the Association. This group also reviews proposed NCAA legislation and makes recommendations regarding those proposals.

The Athletic Administrators Committee meets formally twice each year. They meet in conjunction with the national conventions of the NCAA and the National Association of College Directors of Athletics. The Athletic Administrators also meet on an as-needed basis in conjunction with the meetings of the Delegates Committee.

The Delegates Committee meets at least once annually with the Annual Meeting taking place in the fall. The Delegates have also met in the spring as necessary. Meeting sites generally rotate among the member campuses, but may also include off-campus sites. The Executive Committee convenes at least twice annually, including meetings one day prior to each Delegates Committee meeting. The Presidents Council meets twice annually. At present, the Council meets in conjunction with the fall and spring meetings of the American Association of Universities to which all UAA members belong.

Historical Background

Change in institutions is often the product of circumstance. It is, more often than not, the opportune joining of problems, solutions, resources, and decision-makers at some coincidental point in time. It might be said that such a combination of factors worked to support the formation of the University Athletic Association.

During the early 1980's, several small to medium sized research universities began to examine the direction of their athletics programs as well as the relationship of athletics to the whole of their respective institutions. From time to time, administrators and student affairs staff of the schools shared their concerns informally with each other and found significant common ground among their institutions. The commonality of their concerns and the possibilities that might be realized through a collective effort among institutions suggested exploration of some type of formal association.

At one point, athletic administrators from several institutions met to discuss the possibility of an athletic conference with competition in selected sports, however, no formal arrangements resulted from those discussions. At the same time several institutions began to develop working agreements among themselves for rotating sponsorship of a series of four-team basketball tournaments.

As these informal relationships were beginning to evolve, one college administrator began to visualize the potential that might be realized by the formal association of a group of these academic institutions. Harry Kisker, Vice Provost and Dean of Students at Washington University in St. Louis, took it upon himself to visit several college campuses and share his vision of an athletic association of Division III institutions of similar academic stature and mission. During his visits he spoke with chief executive officers, student affairs administrators, and athletic administrators. His efforts were not without results.

In the fall of 1984, William Danforth and Dennis O'Brien began talking in earnest of starting a national Division III intercollegiate athletic association based on academic similarities instead of athletic comparisons. Danforth, the chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis, and O'Brien, the president of the University of Rochester, were attending a convention of the American Association of Universities, a 56-member national group of research universities. Their discussions during that fall meeting were a precursor to a larger effort.

During the summer of 1985, Dennis O'Brien invited the chief executive officers of several major research universities located in prominent metropolitan areas to a meeting on the University of Rochester campus to explore the possibilities of some sort of university athletic association. A group including presidents, chancellors, vice-presidents, deans, faculty, and administrators met at Rochester in October. A philosophical rationale for an athletic association of such institutions was discussed, along with various models of competition which might be pursued, and the financial implications of each. The result of this meeting was an agreement among those in attendance to pursue the discussions on their respective campuses and meet again in February at Washington University in St. Louis. At the meeting in St. Louis, the participating institutions agreed upon a general model of competition and a first draft of a constitution and bylaws. The results were returned to the individual campuses for approval and final commitment.

On June 25, 1986, the formal announcement of the formation of the University Athletic Association was made simultaneously at press conferences at the New York Hilton Hotel and on the respective campuses of the member institutions. Participating in the announcement were Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, the University of Chicago, the University of Rochester, and Washington University in St. Louis.

The first official meeting of delegates from each institution was held in the Jay Berwanger Trophy Room at the University of Chicago in September of 1986. During 1986, work on the constitution and bylaws was completed, an administrative plan developed, and athletic schedules drawn for 1987-88 and 1988-89. In May of 1987, Brandeis University, a participant in the original discussions and planning efforts, joined the UAA becoming the ninth member of the Association. In July, the Association opened a central office with the hiring of Richard A. Rasmussen as its full-time Executive Secretary. The office was housed initially in Spurrier Gymnasium on the River Campus of the University of Rochester. During the summer of 1988, it was moved to its present location on the second floor of the Ellwanger and Barry Building on the Mount Hope campus of the University of Rochester.

In the fall of 1987, the University Athletic Association applied for and was granted voting membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Representatives of the UAA institutions gathered in Rochester on September 25 for a special luncheon celebrating the inauguration of formal competition among member institutions. The featured speaker at the program was Dick Schultz, the newly-appointed Executive Director of the NCAA. In his remarks, Mr. Schultz congratulated the membership of the UAA, and praised the efforts of the members of the Association in creating a new and exciting model of what intercollegiate athletic competition can be.

Although some informal competition began among members of the UAA in 1986-87, championship competition did not begin until 1987-88. That first year of championship competition was a year of transition as institutions moved to schedule as much UAA competition as possible while continuing to honor previous scheduling commitments in soccer, football, and basketball. In 1988-89, championship competition was conducted in 21 sports including a complete round robin in soccer and a double round robin in basketball. In 1990-91, a football schedule was completed, and in 1994-95 women's softball was also added as a championship sport. The UAA sponsors championships in 12 men's sports and 10 women's sports.

The members of the UAA have made a conscientious effort to develop a model of athletic competition that emphasizes good sportsmanship and an equality of opportunity among all teams and all sports. At UAA championships, competitors can often be found cheering for their opponents as well as their teammates, encouraging everyone to perform to their maximum potential. Men's and women's teams travel together and play a combined schedule of contests. Championship events combine both men's and women's competition, alternating men's and women's events or matches at the same site. Institutions also provide opportunities for competing teams to get together informally in a social setting outside of competition at each athletic event, and teams often take advantage of the cultural and sightseeing opportunities of their host cities.

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Competition and Sport Sponsorship

The University Athletic Association sponsors competition in 22 sports including 12 sports for men and 10 sports for women. The UAA Bylaws require member institutions to participate in at least one round-robin sport each for men and women, and three festival sports each for men and women. This has allowed members of the UAA to maintain many of their long-standing and highly-valued local and regional rivalries while enjoying the benefits of competition among members of the Association. Most members participate in UAA competition in the full complement of sports for which they sponsor teams.

Regular-season round-robin competition is sponsored in five sports including football, men's and women's soccer, and men's and women's basketball. The men's and women's basketball teams of the UAA have been granted an automatic qualification berth in their respective NCAA Division III national championships. Men's and women's teams travel together and play a combined schedule in both soccer and basketball. Round robin tournaments are sponsored in six sports including volleyball, wrestling, baseball, and softball.

Competition in volleyball includes two mid-season round-robin weekends and an end-of-season championship tournament. The baseball and softball championships are held in Florida in conjunction with the spring break trips scheduled by the participating teams.

Championship tournaments or meets are conducted in nine sports including men's and women's cross country, men's and women's swimming and diving, men's and women's indoor track and field, men's and women's outdoor track and field, and golf. Men's and women's championships are held simultaneously alternating men's and women's events at the same site.

Association team champions are determined in all sports. All-Association teams are also selected in all sports, and most sports also determine a player of the year or most outstanding performer and a rookie of the year. The Association also selects UAA male and female Athletes of the Week in all sports.