For the love of the game - NCAA D3 week

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 6:20 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - We cover their games, tell stories about their athletes, and highlight the programs on a weekly basis. Next week, April 5-11th, is NCAA Division 3 week, so we spoke with UWEC about what it’s really like to be a division three athlete.

“An early morning lift, usually you go to class sometimes you can fit in a job in there and then usually practice in the afternoons, studying at night hanging out with the teammates”...and repeat, as Blugold volleyball’s Makenzie Bachmann says, being a division three athlete is a unique experience.

“There is this connotation that D3 athletics is where you go when you don’t get a D1 or D2 spot,” said Bachmann.

Athletic Director Dan Schumacher says they believe that’s rarely the case.

“You’ll see a lot more team effort I also believe the relationships are a lot stronger than division one and two because they share the same vision they share the same scope of what they have to work under,” Schumacher said.

That scope includes very different circumstances, with fewer resources. Schumacher specifically notes team psychiatrists, which could have been great to have in the past year.

“You still have this busy schedule you are still competing at a college athletics level, so you are really here for the love of the game,” Bachmann said.

You know that’s what it’s about, as division three athletes aren’t rewarded with athletic scholarships. Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, Mike Carney says playing at this level better allows the student athletes to focus on their futures, and education.

“Our student athletes outperform the general student body in terms of grade point average,” Carney said.

Somehow, the programs still fit in time to serve the community.

“Just on Saturday we sat for an hour and we wrote letters to all the fifth graders nearby because they’re transitioning to middle school,” said Bachmann.

All they ask in return? The Blugolds hope support comes in the form of fans back in the bleachers whenever that time comes.

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