I read with interest Professor Stephen Sheppard’s comments as reported in The New York Times of November 9, 2002. Sheppard’s concern that Williams is getting “uncomfortably close to the Division I Mode” reveals an abysmal lack of knowledge and understanding of Division III athletics especially in the most restricted conference in the country, the NESCAC. The athletic faculty have always understood and supported the “primacy of academics.” This reality has been discussed and reaffirmed in countless department meetings and administrative conferences for at least the last 32 years.
Sheppard’s comment that “we are not here to produce professional athletes” is certainly accurate. We have obviously done a good job on this score since in my 29 years as Director of Athletics, (1971-2000) Williams produced two professional football players, a couple of othersÂ who have had brief appearances with the “taxi squads,” as well as a professional soccer player, a woman basketball player and another in squash.
I think even Sheppard would agree that this is the appropriate balance….five or six professionals out of approximately 15,000 varsity athletes over the last 30 years.
Robert R. Peck
Director of Athletics, Emeritus