A common sentiment I’ve heard is that Trinity athletes are Division I wannabes. I’ve also heard many athletes argue otherwise. Some of our athletes had the opportunity to go to a Division I or II school but they chose to play at Trinity for several reasons.
“I came to Trinity knowing that I would be a part of a great baseball program with a good shot to keep playing baseball, while also having family and friends that I already knew where at the school, and I would come away with a great degree from a great school,” said Trevor Griffin, senior baseball player.
What exactly makes Division III schools different than Division I or II? One big difference is that Division III athletes do not get athletic scholarships. They are not playing for the money they receive to pay for their education. Another difference for not choosing to go to a Division I school is because they want to make sure school comes before their sport. As an athlete, I know that I am a student before I am an athlete. Coaches understand when something with school comes up because that is our first priority. They understand that our schedules revolve around school and that sports come second.
“You really are a student-athlete at the Division III level as opposed to an athlete-student at the Division I level,” said Micah Weaver, junior basketball player. “Your education is priority and you’re getting prepared for life after basketball.”
Something else is that sometimes athletes are burned out from the pressure and stress that come with the sport. They want to compete but they are exhausted of having the entire school counting on them. Texas high school football is a great example. Most high schools in Texas put pressure on their team to win and go to state. The entire school and even people in the town will show up to watch their school win. The light is shining on them and if they mess up, then they have just let everyone down. Some athletes get burned out from this and just want to play because they are good at the sport and love it. Trinity is very successful with their athletics, but what is so unique about it is that there is very little pressure to be the very best. Most athletes here want to be the best they can be and for some this is the first time the only pressure they have is what they put on themselves.
“I remember Coach Jenkins speaking to me after a club tournament that I played horribly at,” said Erika Edrington, senior volleyball player. “After getting yelled at by my coach at the time and even some of my teammates, Coach Jenkins came up to me and spoke to me about what I did well that game. I knew I would go into a program where I would be encouraged and cared for as a player rather than seen as a tool for my coach’s glory and image.”
What the last major difference is that Division III athletes are playing because they simply love the sport. They have a passion for competing and playing. Most know they will not play after college so they want the chance to play before it is too late. They are not ready to give a huge part of their life up. They are willing to work hard and push through the challenges so they can proudly represent Trinity.
“The difference looking at Division I and Division III athletics is that playing Division III allows you to enjoy sports for the pure love of playing them,” said Justin Ventura, sophomore football player. “I am not on scholarship and in some cases that is looked upon badly. At the Division I level athletes eat, sleep and breathe their sport without little room to enjoy life.”