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NCAA votes to allow Hobart lacrosse to grant athletic scholarships for the first time

The NCAA has voted to allow the Hobart lacrosse program to award athletic scholarships for the first time.

As a Division 1 program at a school that competed at the Division 3 level in other sports, it was previously prohibited from doing so. From a Hobart athletics news release:

The Liberty League proposal to permit multidivisional institutions to award athletics aid to their Division I student-athletes passed by an overwhelming majority, 388-18. Prior to today’s vote, Hobart lacrosse was required to follow all Division I rules except those regarding financial aid. In that case, the program had to follow the stricter, Division III rules which prohibit scholarships based on athletic ability.

“One of the fundamental lessons delivered through sports is the concept of fair play; today’s vote puts Hobart lacrosse on even ground when it comes to recruiting,” says Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Joyce Jacobsen. “We know the Colleges offer amazing educational opportunities, an elite faculty, top-notch facilities, and dedicated coaches and now we will also be able to offer Division I athletes the same financial aid opportunities that other Division I programs can.”

Through closely coordinated efforts by the coaching staff, NCAA compliance staff and financial aid staff, Hobart and William Smith will immediately begin working on implementation and timing of awarding its first athletic scholarship.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

“We are excited for the opportunity to offer athletic scholarships to our Division I student-athletes,” says Brian Miller, HWS associate vice president and director of athletics and recreation. “We were supportive of this proposal, and today’s vote by the Division III membership will help level the playing field for Hobart lacrosse.”

There are 10 institutions which compete primarily in Division III, but also sponsor at least one Division I sport. In men’s lacrosse, there are two, Hobart and Johns Hopkins University. The Blue Jays remained in Division I even after the creation of Division III men’s lacrosse in 1980, and are able to give athletic scholarships under a grandfather clause. Hobart, which reclassified to Division I in 1995 after winning 13 of the first 15 Division III national championships, was not covered under that clause.

In addition to Hobart lacrosse, the legislative change also impacts Franklin & Marshall College (wrestling), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (rowing), Rochester Institute of Technology (men’s and women’s hockey) and Union College (men’s and women’s hockey).

In 22 seasons in Division I, Hobart lacrosse has posted a record of 164-193. The Statesmen are 56-50 over the past eight seasons under the leadership of Head Coach Greg Raymond. In the program’s Division I era, he has led Hobart to five of the program’s seven winning seasons.

The 120th Hobart lacrosse season officially begins Feb. 12, when the Statesmen host Canisius. The Statesmen begin their preseason scrimmage schedule this afternoon with a scrimmage against Michigan. The scrimmage will be played in the Poole Family Sports Dome and spectators will be limited to those already on the teams’ pass list.