During Andrew Wuebker’s junior year at Roger Williams University, he wrote his undergraduate thesis in the course, News 2: Advanced Journalism.
The course is taught by journalism professor Michael Scully, and the goal of the course is to create a long-form journalism piece written in The Wall Street Journal style.
In “The Enforcer,” Andrew wrote about the parallels between N.C.A.A. Division III and Division I college basketball.
At the Division I level, tens of thousands of student-athletes across the nation commit to big name basketball programs every year in the hopes of chasing pro hoop dreams, but very little actually attain them. Established universities like Connecticut, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina and countless others become “one and done” factories rather than teaching institutions.
As the N.C.A.A. earns hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from the talents and strenuous physical labors of their student-athletes, those same athletes begin the fall into an almost inescapable void. That void consists of an incomplete education and no monetary compensation. All the while academic and recruitment scandals are commonplace.
At the Division III level, the work ethic is the same, but the goals are different for the athletes. Student-athletes at the Division III level play out of competitiveness and love of the game, while academics are the primary focus.
In this essay, Andrew observed, analyzed, researched and reported the differences and similarities between these two cultures, including following the senior captain of a Division III program and getting press access to a Division I opening night game at Northeastern University.