On Thursday, June 22nd, a campus-wide email notified Kalamazoo College students of the sanctions levied against the College by the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA). The penalties follow an NCAA investigation from March of 2016, which found that the College unintentionally violated rules regarding athletics and financial aid.
“I cannot apologize enough for the circumstances that led to the MIAA’s ruling,” reads the email from President Jorge Gonzalez. “Please know we continue to take steps to ensure K remains fully compliant with all NCAA regulations. We are proud of our student-athletes and are committed to providing them with an outstanding academic and athletic experience.”
As a result of the ruling, all sports teams must vacate conference regular season wins and championships, as well as post-season conference wins from the academic years 2012-2013 through 2015-2016. Teams are also banned from post-season competition during the coming year. The decision does not impact wins, championships, awards, and records of the teams from the 2016-2017 academic year. The records of individual student athletes will also remain unaffected.
The decision came as a shock to athletic coaches, who were first informed of the sanctions at an emergency meeting last Friday.
“I had no idea that this was on the table,” Head Swimming and Diving Coach Jay Daniels ‘13 said. For Daniels, who was a part of the now-void 2013 Swimming and Diving MIAA Championship title, the loss is twofold. “It’s just kind of sad. That Championship meant a lot to me and the team. It sucks to see that banner and trophy taken away, but no one can take away that actual experience.”
The ruling both ends the College’s 79-game streak of men’s tennis conference championships and brings the streak down to 74 wins, earned from 1936 to 2012.
“The streak represents so much more than the work of the student athletes affected by the sanctions,” tennis player Eloise Germic ‘17 said. “It hurts that the MIAA is wiping away the conference wins that myself and my teammates worked so hard for. It has always been, and will always be, one of my greatest privileges to represent Kalamazoo College on the court. The ease with which the MIAA wiped away so many of our accomplishments shocked me.”
In the eyes of some K athletes, there is nothing to do now but move forward.
“We need to take this year as a rebuilding year, and need to use this ruling as motivation to work even harder,” swimmer Lexi Ambs ‘18 said. “Even if the score will not be able to reflect it right now, we will continue to strive for excellence in the pool and classroom as a model for all future Hornets, because that’s who we are.”
Soccer player Molly Brueger ‘19 agrees. “There is nothing we can do except keep playing and being the best we can on and off the field.”