D-III athletes play for love of the game - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

D-III athletes play for love of the game

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - UT Tyler head softball coach Mike Reed has a plan on the recruiting trail.

"Looking for that balance between academics," said Reed.  "The tougher majors, engineering and nursing."

Sure, Reed likes a high batting average. A high GPA is even better.

"These young ladies don't get any academic money," said Reed.

Any scholarship money earned, is earned in the classroom. The Division III student athlete is truly a student first. This week the NCAA is celebrating Division III week, focusing on the student athletes achievements in the classroom and community.

And while the impact off the field is great, UT Tyler softball players say they love their sport as much as any other Division I athlete.

"There is no obligation to it," said UT Tyler senior Lauren Robenalt. "We've made a commitment to each other and to ourselves that we'll do our best no matter what."

"These young ladies if they didn't come to practice today, their financial aid package would be the same tomorrow," said Reed.  "I think you'll see a love and passion for the game."

Many Division III athletes actually turn down athletic scholarship money from bigger schools. Most will tell you they don't regret playing Division III sports.

"Just because you're going D-III doesn't mean your settling on anything," said UT Tyler freshman Kierin Stevens.  "I think any of us could go out and play at a division one school. We've chosen to come to a Division III and work just as hard."

"We have to remember that we're a unique group of people that get to do what they love simply out of love for the game," said Stevens.

Copyright 2014 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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