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President David E. Daniel

March 27, 2014

 

Athletes Compete for Love of Sport, Get a Great Educational Experience

March Madness hit campus this month. Following terrific conference play by both the women's and the men's basketball teams, the men won the American Southwest Conference Championship and advanced to the NCAA Division III National Tournament. The Comets earned their tournament berth following a dramatic, last-second win at home in front of a cheering crowd of more than 1,300 fans. It was wonderful to see enthusiastic support from what is believed to be the largest home crowd ever assembled for a UT Dallas sporting event.

crowd

More than 1,300 fans witnessed a dramatic home court overtime win by the Comets in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament.

The team journeyed to Wisconsin, where a small but loud group of cheerleaders, athletics staff, sponsors, student newspaper staffers, parents, and administrators cheered through the team's third NCAA "Sweet 16" appearance in the last six years.

While the season ended there in a battle with No. 3-ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the Comets set a new single-season team record of 27 wins and captured their fourth ASC championship.

Comets, well done!

It is particularly sweet to see the campus rally to the team's side — not to mention the coverage Dallas sports media gave the "buzzer-beater" home court win. UTD is a Division III athletics program. Despite the greater attention that is generally paid to Division I college sports, most college athletes (about 175,000 nationwide) play in Division III. Division III students are not eligible for athletic scholarships. And yet, across the board, UTD men and women play at a very high level for the love of the game.

UT Dallas Division III Teams

Men's Women's
Basketball
Soccer
Golf
Baseball
Tennis
Cross Country
Basketball
Soccer
Golf
Softball
Tennis
Cross Country
Volleyball

Recruiting players for our Division III teams can be challenging, since students must meet the University's rigorous admission standards. Our men's basketball team has an average GPA of 3.14. This is not unusual for a UT Dallas team. The student-athletes who compete on our 13 teams excel in the classroom just as they do on the courts and the fields. Many have earned academic merit scholarships based on their high school and undergraduate achievements, and they must keep their grades high to continue to receive that support.

It would be great if every athlete at UTD could experience a national championship. But that isn't the most important aspect of our sports program. Our student-athletes will tell you that playing sports is a vital part of their education, but the ultimate goal is to earn a degree from a university that prepares them for a successful future.

I am proud of our athletes both on and off the courts and fields. These students and their achievements are exemplary of UT Dallas, where excellence is an everyday expectation.

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About This Newsletter

The President's Viewpoint is a periodic newsletter distributed to a select group of alumni, friends, faculty and staff. It comes from the desk of Dr. David E. Daniel, president of The University of Texas at Dallas, and provides the ultimate insider’s view on the news and concerns of the University.