BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- Moravian College senior track & field student-athlete Eric Morton has been selected to participate in the NCAA Division III Student Immersion Program at the 2018 NCAA Convention in Indianapolis on January 17-20.
In 2015, the Division III Diversity and Inclusion Working Group recommended the program to the Division III governance staff and the NCAA Office of Inclusion, who then partnered on a new program that brought 40 ethnic minority students to the NCAA Convention. The selected students are fully funded to attend the Convention, and they are exposed to Division III, its members and its governance process.
"I applied for this program because I am pursuing a career in Sports Psychology," stated Morton. "Evident by recent news in both collegiate and professional sports, athletes need more support than what is offered on the field. It is this crucial component that I believe is missing in the maintenance of an athlete's overall health.
"I do hope that I am able to obtain the skills necessary to approach, and effectively manage the different societal issues in sports such as racial differences, talent disparities, issues surrounding gender, sexual orientation, and sexual preferences," Morton continued. "I also want to use the NCAA Convention as a networking opportunity in hopes that the individuals I meet there will soon become mentors, colleagues, and perhaps later in life, friends."
In addition to attending Division III programming in Indianapolis, the grant recipients receive DiSC training, a welcome celebration dinner, education sessions, panels, workshops, and forums. The goal of the immersion program is to build a pipeline of talented ethnic minority candidates, with an interest in Division III coaching and/or administration, in an effort to ultimately diversify the division.
"I am looking forward to being in a new state, Indiana. I have not traveled much in my life so this opportunity gives me a chance to experience what is beyond the East Coast," commented Morton. "Also, I am excited to learn more about how our conference, the Landmark Conference, is managed. Again, I am thankful for this opportunity to represent Moravian College."
Morton will be joined at the NCAA Convention by Moravian's Associate Athletic Director Renee Hellert, who will represent the department in the Division III meetings with Director of Athletics and Recreation and Head Women's Basketball Coach Mary Beth Spirk in the middle of her season.
"Eric is an amazing role model for all student-athletes on our campus making an impact not only as an athlete but as a student and active member of our community," Hellert said. "We are proud to have Eric represent Moravian College. The NCAA Immersion Program is an incredible opportunity for Eric to experience collegiate athletics and network with athletic administrators from around the country."
Once returning to Moravian after the convention, Morton will resume his final indoor track & field season and then his final outdoor campaign before graduating in May.
"Again, as it is evident by recent news in both collegiate and professional sports, athletes need more support than what is offered on the field. The NCAA Student Emersion Program will give me the insight and transferable skills needed to thrive in the sports field. After graduation, I hope to attend The University of Maryland to pursue a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology as well as a Ph.D in Counseling Psychology," finished Morton.