Earlier this year, on March 22, 2016 the NCAA concluded an investigation into Kalamazoo College and penalized the college with a three-year probationary period and a three year postseason ban for all its athletic teams. “This case centered on financial aid violations that occurred over five years as a result of the institution’s failure to remove athletics considerations from a matrix-rating system used for admissions and later in the packaging of financial aid,” the NCAA report said.
There is one catch, however. The NCAA said that if the College repackaged its athletes under an appropriate matrix system, like the one the college began using to admit students for the autumn of 2015, then those teams with repackaged players would be eligible for the postseason, all despite the ban. Due to this system, and the process of decision making by the Athletic Director, Provost, and College President, only certain teams were granted repackaging.
The teams that received the good news and will be eligible for postseason in the next three years are: Men’s Baseball, Men’s Cross Country, Men’s Golf, Men’s Swimming and Diving, Men’s Tennis, Women’s Cross Country, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Swimming and Diving, and Women’s Tennis.
This means that the school’s nine other programs will not be repackaged and will not be eligible for postseason play and championship consideration for the next three years. These teams are Men’s Basketball, Men’s Football, Men’s Lacrosse, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball, Women’s Golf, Women’s Lacrosse, Women’s Softball, and Women’s Volleyball.
“The women’s lacrosse team is a program that was started my freshman year, we looked forward to building a legacy,” Thania Stavropoulos K’17 said. “And being able to compete for a conference championship.” This level of competition is now something Stavropoulos and her senior teammates will never get to achieve.
Women’s Lacrosse is not alone in this regard. The Men’s Lacrosse program had its first season ever this spring, but now they will be ineligible for at least all of next year, barring current juniors Blake Beauchamp, Tyler Kesterson, and Clapton Marquis the chance of ever competing for a conference title.
Many of the student athletes are frustrated with the administration, and feel they have been cheated and unfairly punished. “To not be able to compete at all is a thorn in the side, especially since it is due to an issue we weren’t even aware of,” Stavropoulos said.
This is often the underlying cause for frustration and anger; that student athletes are being punished for something they had no knowledge of and played no part in. Each team has their own reasons to be upset, whether it is women’s golf or men’s lacrosse as they both looked to build momentum for the future with promising first-year recruits this season or whether it is women’s lacrosse or men’s soccer who next year would have been legitimate MIAA Championship contenders.
The student athletes did not know the NCAA investigation existed until March, and ever since its announcement and the punishments that have come along with it, bad news has followed.