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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University November 3, 2003 | Vol. 33 No. 10
JHU to Fight NCAA Proposal Affecting LAX

Hopkins and seven other institutions are working to defeat Division III change

By Dennis O'Shea

Johns Hopkins will go to the floor of January's NCAA Convention to fight a proposal that would force it to give up either athletic grants-in-aid in lacrosse or Division III competition in other sports.

The university and seven other schools affected by the proposal said last week that a number of other Division III schools and conferences already have offered support. The eight institutions said they would work between now and the Jan. 9-12, 2004, convention in Nashville to "form a majority that will defeat Proposal 2-69 on the floor."

President William R. Brody has been working directly with the presidents and chancellors of the other affected schools and intends to go to Nashville to fight the proposal.

Johns Hopkins is a member of Division III, the 424-school branch of the NCAA that emphasizes participation in athletics rather than big-time sports programs. Student-athletes in Division III may not receive athletic grants-in-aid.

Since the early 1980s, Johns Hopkins has operated under an exemption that allows its traditionally national-caliber men's lacrosse program to participate in Division I and offer grants-in-aid while the rest of the Blue Jay sports program competes in Division III. The exemption recognizes the important history and tradition of Johns Hopkins lacrosse, which has won or shared 42 national titles, including seven since the NCAA has sponsored lacrosse championships. The Blue Jay women's team also moved up to Division I in 1999 and began awarding grants-in-aid, a move that was permitted under the exemption to maintain Title IX compliance.

This year, the NCAA Division III Presidents Council moved to revoke the exemption. That move would affect Johns Hopkins and historically prominent sports programs at seven other schools, including ice hockey at RPI, Clarkson, St. Lawrence and Colorado College and soccer at Hartwick College.

Last week, the Presidents Council decided to send the proposal to the floor of the convention, rejecting a motion to withdraw it. Johns Hopkins and the other seven schools had argued that the exemption — granted for solid historical reasons and affecting fewer than 0.2 percent of the 7,000 teams fielded by Division III schools — remains justified and has caused no problems in Division III.

"We had very much hoped to remove a potentially divisive issue from the agenda of January's NCAA convention," Johns Hopkins said in a statement released after the Presidents Council Action. "That, we believe, would have opened the way for focused discussion on the remainder of the proposed Division III reform package, the principles of which our institutions support.

"Our eight colleges and universities remain united in the firm belief that enactment of Proposal 2-69 would do considerable harm to our schools," the statement said. "Worse, it would do so without measurably advancing the cause of Division III."

More background on the issue is available in a frequently asked questions package on the university's Web site at


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