BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- Moravian College senior Eric Morton, a member of the Greyhounds' men's track & field squad, attended the 2018 NCAA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana from January 17-20 as part of the NCAA Division III Immersion Program.
"Overall the NCAA Convention was one to be remembered," stated Morton. "Going into the convention, I was unaware of who I was going to meet and how others attitudes were going to be during the trip. On my way there I stayed positive and planned for the best. I learned copious amounts of information regarding a career in DIII athletics as well other career paths such as Resident Advising. Throughout the trip, it was transparent that each mentor gave their undivided attention to assisting each participant in the program with advice to help them strive for greatness.
"My favorite part of the week was any downtime I spent with the other participants," he continued. "It was great to hear and share life stories and exchange laughs. In the beginning of the week, we were told that by the end of the week were would not want to leave. I can attest, that those individuals I met there made my good-bye hard because I did not want to leave. I met a lot of people during he week and the most famous person was Jim Kelley, the ex-Buffalo Bills quarterback."
Morton is the third Moravian student-athlete to attend the NCAA Convention in the last four years as senior softball player and President of Moravian's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Janae Matos was in Nashville, Tennessee in January 2017 and Brian Boland, a men's soccer student-athlete and also President of Moravian's SAAC while a student, attended the 2015 Convention in Washington, D.C. Moravian Associate Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator Renee Hellert was also in Indianapolis for the NCAA Convention.
The convention was held at the JW Marriott Indianapolis, Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, Hyatt Regency Indianapolis and Westin Indianapolis as well as the Indiana Convention Center and the NCAA Hall of Champions and Conference Center. Click here for more photos.
"There was so much that I learned at the NCAA Immersion program," Morton said. "The most important lesson I learned was to be patient. A lot of the times we want the result right now, and as fast as possible no realizing that success takes time. We look at famous individuals such as Robin Williams and we want her success but are not aware of the steps she took to reach where she is now. Coach Bill Ferguson told me this 'Everyone wants to be successful until they see what it takes.' This statement has never been truer. With patience, curiosity, humility, and drive I have no doubt that I will reach success."
In addition to attending Division III programming offered at the convention, Morton and the rest of the grant recipients received DiSC training, a welcome celebration dinner, education sessions, panels, workshops, and forums. The goal of the immersion program is to build a pipeline of talented ethnic minority candidates, with an interest in Division III coaching and/or administration, in an effort to ultimately diversify the division.
"Compared to what I was expecting, the convention exceeded that," noted Morton. "Each participant was actively engaged, open-minded as well as friendly. This created an environment where we could share ideas amongst ourselves and not have to worry about being judged for our thought processes. The best session I attended regarded a study done on substance abuse. It was interesting to see the percentage of substance abuse across DI to DIII.
"The biggest surprise of the trip was learning about the Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR)," Morton continued. "When sitting in on this educational program I had no clue what FAR was or what it entailed. Those who are FAR from their respective schools work closely with factually, staff, and students. Specifically, they make sure that student does not fall behind on their work and if they do, steps are given to get them back on track.
The NCAA has nearly 500,000 student-athletes from nearly 1,100 members competing in 90 championship sports as well as several emerging sports but less than 500 were able to attend the NCAA Convention.
"My top three takeaways from the convention are to 1. Have an open mind when it comes to advise and career opportunities; 2. Never sell yourself short; 3. Stay humble. Looking towards the future, I am not as 'one track minded' as I was going to the convention. I have now looked for different jobs that I would have even thought of because of the advice I was given at the convention. I will be in close contact with Kathleen Bar in the upcoming weeks to begin my job search," finished Morton.