The NCAA and tiny liberal arts colleges

As Minnesota’s first university, it seems fitting that despite the size of the school, Hamline’s president and Athletic Director both serve in high-power positions in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.


Cathryn Salis, sports editor

The enigma that is the NCAA continues to create resolutions and announce appointments seems, and to most students at Hamline University to, it all becominges white noise. As the sports world has been able to compete in a semi-normal environment once again, most people have taken an ear off what the association has been up to. However, Hamline students should be paying closer attention to the NCAA than ever.

Hamline’s president, Faynesse Miller, has assumed the role as a Chairman of the Division III President’s Council and will serve this position until the voting sessions in January. In this role, President Miller has the responsibilities of facilitating meetings, participating in the passing of resolutions and helping to create committees within the NCAA.

President Miller also serves on the Constitution Committee, which she was selected and voted on by the Board of Governors to be a part of in August. This Committee holds representatives from all three divisions of collegiate athletics and will be a part of rewriting the NCAA constitution.

“The special constitutional convention is intended to propose dramatic changes to the NCAA constitution to reimagine aspects of college sports, so the Association can more effectively meet the needs of current and future college athletes,” the NCAA website said says on the Constitution Committee board announcement. 

After a year and a half of dramatic and intense changes occurring in the sports world, the association feels that an overhaul is overdue and Hamline’s president will be a part of reshaping the world of college sports for the foreseeable future. 

In addition to President Miller’s involvement with the NCAA, Hamline’s Associate Vice President and Athletic Director, Jason Verdugo, serves on a few boards as well. 

He is involved in the NCAA pathway program as “lead consultant for the DIII cohort,” Verdugo said. This program helps to train and prepare potential athletic directors to be ready for leadership roles in college athletics, and Verdugo is the head of the Division III section of the program.

Beyond this, Verdugo is a consultant for the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, which helps to foster environments for athletes that promote tolerance for diversity in the college athletics world. This group is very important to the success of the NCAA’s ability to keep college athletes safe and comfortable when competing and participating. Verdugo is able to represent Hamline in this working group and in April of 2020, Hamline was spotlighted by this committee for a student leadership workshop that was held in the athletics community.

Verdugo is also a member of the student immersion program and serves as a mentor for the program and for the athlete selection process. This program serves as a resource for ethnic minority athletes who are interested in Division III athletics and a few student athletes at Hamline have participated in this program.

Both Verdugo and President Miller have made huge impacts in the world of college sports through their involvement with the NCAA and there is much more change to be made on the horizon.