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Go Jays!

"We won." That was the welcome news that head lacrosse coaches Dave Pietramala and Janine Tucker heard on January 12, when an elated President William R. Brody called them from the floor of the annual NCAA Convention in Nashville. By a sizable margin, 304-89 with 18 abstentions, the NCAA Division III membership passed an amended proposal that allows Johns Hopkins to continue offering scholarships for Division I lacrosse, while fielding 24 other sports at the D-III level. The decision affects seven other D-III schools, which, like Hopkins, have traditionally fielded one or two stand-out Division I teams. Had the vote not gone the way it did, Hopkins would have faced some agonizing choices: a switch to D-I status for all its other teams, or a possible end to scholarships in lacrosse. Clearly, a lot was at stake.

The outcome was largely due to an ambitious education campaign on the part of President Brody, his executive assistant Jerry Schnydman, athletic director Tom Calder, associate director Josh MacArthur, and others. Since last September, these folks placed hundreds of phone calls to the athletic directors and presidents of D-III schools and led countless conference calls with leaders at the affected eight schools. Their strategy: to dispel misconceptions among D-III members. Many mistakenly believed, for instance, that our D-I scholarship athletes could play on D-III teams at Hopkins. Not true. Or that having a D-I sport means big NCAA payments that could translate into better facilities for D-III sports. Wrong again. The bottom line is that lacrosse at Hopkins (like ice hockey at Colorado College) has a rich tradition that's vitally important to students and alumni (witness the more than 1,900 Homewood alumni and students who e-mailed their support to the NCAA president) and the region. As lacrosse practice begins in earnest this month, we can all be grateful that the threat to this great tradition has been averted. Go Jays!

In last issue's note, I shared an offhand conversation I'd had with Heidi Donner, wife of Hopkins radiology chair Martin W. Donner. Heidi wasn't fully aware that our exchange would find its way into our pages with such precision when she mused about her husband and his pioneering role. My apologies to her — and my thanks to readers who've contacted us both to share the names of others who were among the first internationally born department chairs at Hopkins.

-Sue De Pasquale

Return to February 2004 Table of Contents

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