OPINION: President Chodosh’s first NCAA meeting agenda

A building with a sign "Roberts Pavilion."
Jasper Davidoff PO ’23 writes of a potential meeting agenda for CMC President Hiram Chodosh based on past CMS athletics incidents. (Chris Nardi • The Student Life)

Claremont McKenna College President Hiram Chodosh was named this week to the NCAA Division III Presidents Council, representing the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. “I look forward to contributing to the NCAA’s core mission to ensure that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount,’” Chodosh said in a SCIAC news release.

Although the NCAA hasn’t announced when Chodosh’s first Presidents Council meeting will take place, I want him to be fully prepared to represent the Stags, the Athenas and Claremont on the national stage. That’s why I’ve taken the liberty of mocking up an agenda with some of the many topics he’s qualified to speak on.

NCAA DIII PRESIDENTS COUNCIL AGENDA

MEETING TOPIC: Ensuring the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount

ZOOM PASSWORD: puckfomona

Item 1: Keeping student-athletes safe. It’s right there on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: You can’t learn if you don’t feel safe and secure in your educational environment. There’s no question that as college presidents, our number one priority should be ensuring an atmosphere of basic well-being for our students.

  • Hazing is not a big safety issue at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps these days, so we can probably skip talking about that. 
  • If hazing DOES occur, make sure that you train athletes on the bystander effect, so you don’t get situations where “nearly all members of the team, acting as a team, violat[e] multiple conduct standards.”
  • Recruited athletes at our institutions meet rigorous admissions standards (all of them!), so probably no need to ensure they have the common sense not to subject their first-year peers to practices that are “demeaning and potentially dangerous.”

Item 2: Basic human dignity. College athletics is all about building character, and part of that is making sure all of our students treat each other with even the slightest shred of respect!

  • Obviously, none of our students have sexist, homophobic and transphobic thoughts about their teammates. Why would they? We can probably just skip this part.
  • Just another aspect of common sense here — students know that if they think abhorrent things about a peer, they shouldn’t write them down, identify them by name and then distribute the document to their entire team. Again, I think we can skip this section.
  • Mansplaining: CMC clearly doesn’t have a mansplaining problem. Anyway, make sure athletes know that when the women on your team express disgust over your behavior, they should not repeatedly talk over them and force them to quit
  • Coaches can also build a positive team culture by taking action when team members repeatedly come to them with complaints, instead of doing nothing!

Snack break: Goldfish crackers. Who doesn’t love Goldfish?

Item 3: Learning from our mistakes. Anytime hazing rituals do pop up at our schools, it’s important that we nip them in the bud quickly and effectively so it never happens again.

  • When hazing occurred at CMS in 2018, for example, staff quickly stepped in to ensure everyone understood the “collective commitment to CMS Athletics’ core values.”
  • When hazing occurred at CMS in 2019, staff quickly stepped in to make sure the team in question “reaffirmed its commitment to exemplifying the guiding values and core beliefs that provide the foundation for the CMS … code of conduct.”
  • When hazing occurred again at CMS in 2019, staff quickly stepped in to ensure all athletes “are committed to maintaining an environment in which every community member feels welcomed and valued.”
  • After those decisive and actual interventions, no one ever did any more hazing (don’t Google this — just trust me)! Everyone was finally committed to CMS Athletics’ core values — which definitely exist, given that we apparently have to continually remind our own athletes what they are! 
  • This is critical: Ensure that your communication on remediating instances of hazing is as opaque as possible. This way, community members will know that the administration sees addressing this abhorrent trend as a priority, rather than an unfortunate aberration that can just be swept under the rug until it happens again next year.

All jokes aside, it’s clear that President Chodosh doesn’t need our help. After all, everything is one hundred percent under control at CMS. It’s no wonder he would be tapped to help ensure other NCAA DIII schools have athletics programs that are just as safe, welcoming and honest.

Guest writer Jasper Davidoff PO ’23, TSL’s crossword constructor, does not receive $825,757 in total compensation.

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