Nope, it was an event that happened in a meeting room. The 2013-14 season marks the 40th anniversary of the creation of NCAA Division II and Division III.
Before 1973 there were two NCAA divisions, which were referred to simply as “University” and “College”. But at an NCAA Convention in 1973 the two were broken out into the three divisions that exist today.
It’s hard to know if the decision makers in 1973 had any idea of the lasting effect they would have on the college sports landscape. Now, Division II boasts nearly 325 members, and Division III, the largest among the three has nearly 450 schools.
Limitless opportunities have been provided to student-athletes at the two levels– student-athletes who have the same dedication as those in Division I, but just needed a chance to play collegiate athletics.
Dozens of these players took advantage of the opportunity to play at the professional level. More than 75 former Division II and III athletes play in the NFL, and there’s a smattering in the NBA.
But reaching the pro ranks really isn’t what it’s about. It’s about continuing the dream as a student-athlete after high school. The NCAA is honoring 48 former Division II athletes on a 40th Anniversary Tribute Team. Some of the names, like Tom Izzo and Danny Woodhead, are recognizable. But most are not, and that’s the point.
Division III is profiling former athletes with the 40-In-40 Project. The first honoree was Dan Trant , a former basketball player at Clark University who lost his life in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
NCAA Division II and Division III have been around for a long time. Plenty of future student-athletes will benefit if the divisions are both around for a lot longer.