Pasquerella Named to NCAA Presidents Council

Mount Holyoke President Lynn Pasquerella has been selected to serve on the Division III Presidents Council of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

The council, an 18-member group that meets quarterly, establishes, directs, and implements policies for Division III athletics. It is the division’s primary governance body.

“I was very pleased to be nominated and elected to the Presidents Council, especially as a means of giving voice to the value of Division III athletics,” says Pasquerella. “I look forward to advocating for the value of women's participation in athletics and to bringing my background in medical ethics to many of the complex issues that the NCAA will be addressing over the next year.”

This perspective led Pasquerella to take a leadership position on mandatory sickle cell testing for all student athletes in July 2012. In that case, she says, “I went against the official position of the NCAA, but there was meaningful discussion regarding the complex issues involved.” 

This year, the council will consider “issues around religious accommodations for athletes with respect to medical testing and physicals, whether helmets should be mandatory in football practices, and a variety of other issues,” she said.

Pasquerella did not participate in athletics in high school. Title IX, the law that expanded athletic opportunities for girls and women, wasn’t enforced then, she recalls. However, she was involved as scorekeeper for the soccer and wrestling teams and in writing about sports.

This is the first time since 2009 that the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), of which MHC is a member, has had a president serve on the NCAA Presidents Council. Pasquerella will be part of the council through January 2015 and will then be eligible for reappointment to a four-year term.