Students voice opinion on division change for athletics at Queens

Picture: Queens Swimming  

Queens University has been investigating the idea of moving athletic competition from current status as a NCAA Division II institution to Division I. This idea has created a whirlwind of views for the Queens community.  

This week the Queens board of trustees is expected to decide if Queens should move forward with this idea, seek an invitation from a conference and obtain final NCAA approval. Discussions with current student-athletes and non-athletes reveal mixed reactions  

Student journalists with The Queens Chronicle conducted an online survey of students in the period Feb. 1-5, and interviewed student athletic leaders and non-athletes. Almost 100 students voiced opinions–90 in the survey and five in interviews. Their responses indicated two consistent student perspectives: 

  • To perform competitively against Division I competitors, it is likely more money needs to be allocated in student-athlete support, such as a specific student-athlete tutoring center, student-athlete dining hall, student-athlete nutritionist and an increase in athletic trainers.  
  • Queens currently does not have the proper resources to remain competitive against many Division I athletic programs. 

“There’s a lot of very good Division I schools that have a full-on staff for nutrition that you know constantly working year-round with sports, rather than be a snack station for in-between workouts and in-between classes, or an athlete-only dining hall that targets athletic nutrition,” said Melvin Rubio, the president of SAAC, the Student Athletic Advisory Committee at Queens and co-captain on the wrestling team. 

Student journalists created an online survey asking students their beliefs regarding the transition to Division I competition. Thirty of the 90 respondents “strongly agree” Queens should compete in Division I athletics, while 20 of the survey participants “strongly disagree.” 

“Being at a Division I school I have seen a lot of differences,” said Hendrik Faber, a former Queens swimmer who transferred to the University of South Carolina to compete for his fifth year of NCAA eligibility. “Being at a school like the University of South Carolina we have more people which means more funding. Our facility is equipped with individual trainers for each sport and more attention overall. We have a psychologist, nutritionist, variety of trainers, two swimming pools one indoor and one outdoor, the list goes on.”  

Sophie Lang, a sophomore swimmer from Burlington, North Carolina, shared the same concerns. “Queens is a super successful school so we probably should have a better dining hall and better programs, not just for our athletes, but for the general student population. 

“Moving divisions would be something to be proud of but you don’t take into account the fact that our track team, for example, amazing, talented, don’t even have a track on campus and look at them, they’re making it work,” said Lang.  

At a dual meet against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Oct. 1, 2021, UNC beat Queens’ men’s swimming team 141 to 121 while the UNC women were victorious with 158 total points against Queens’ 96. 

There is common speculation throughout the Queens community that the six-time Division II National Champion swim team will be able to do well in Division I. When this was mentioned to current senior swimmer Alex Kunert from Berlin, Germany, he wasn’t surprised. “Being the underdog is in our favor and helps [us] mentally to grow. Queens beat University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, in the relay and has gone against other Division I schools, but mentally it’s a different story.” 

Queens’ “Yes/And” initiative is a driving factor for many students to attend the university. The ability to become involved in academics and athletics, for example, has appealed to student-athletes. “When looking at schools I was drawn towards Queens because of the fact that I can swim and get a good education,” Lang said.  

Katya Khramtsova, a senior tennis player from Krasnoyarsk, Russia explained that the opportunities Queens has given her are unlike others. “I’ve had the chance to study and play tennis on a collegiate level in a country with opportunities. If Queens moved to Division I I’m not sure I would have had the same opportunities with eligibility,” said Khramtsova. 

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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.