Who Was Left Out?

Since Trinity focuses on recruiting the whole athlete, the office of admissions must consider all of a potential student’s qualities rather than just their athletic prowess. Trinity expects student-athletes to participate in their sport, to excel in the classroom, and to thrive in their life. Unsurprisingly, this means that Trinity has recruited many strong, skilled, and intelligent women. Many of these women have felt othered and marginalized in their identities due to the inequalities and experiences they have faced as student-athletes. When these women began recognizing themselves as agents of power who had the potential to bring change to the institution, they organized, advocated for themselves, and pushed Trinity hard to become a more inclusive and representative place.  

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Article, Portia Hoeg

Inequality and lack of ethnic and racial diversity have been an issue at Trinity for decades. For the majority of Trinity's history, the university has been a predominantly white institution, and its sports programs were no exception. It was not until the 1990s that Black student-athletes began to play at Trinity, specifically on the basketball and volleyball teams. Even then, the rosters were still predominantly white.

Representation of other minority groups such as Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and Indigenous people on teams has likewise been sparse. Trinity continues to lack a diverse student body and in particular lacks female athletes who are of the BIPOC groupBlack, Indigenous, and other people of color. Portia Hoeg ‘01 recalls meeting with other Black recruits to inform them about the small Black population on campus. Click to listen to her oral history quote.

The few BIPOC athletes at Trinity have to have upfront conversations about the lack of diversity with potential BIPOC recruits because of the reality of the exclusion that this group faces from Trinity’s culture. The university administration should recognize this, understand the exclusion, and actively discuss how to fix this at the institutional level. See section Title IX: Been Fighting, Still Fighting for more information on this topic.

Athletes make up a sizable portion of the student body at liberal arts colleges. At Trinity, women athletes make up a significant share of the female population, and they bring considerable value to the institution. Participating in athletics at the Division III level also sets women up for success; many Division III players go on to earn advanced degrees and to attain leadership positions in their careers. Despite their achievements on and off the playing field, however, female athletes often go under-recognized. Portia Hoeg ‘01 emphasizes the quality of Division III athletes. 

HOEG: I don't think you can ever knock the quality of play, the quality of athlete, the quality of student that is at the Division III level.

Oral history interviews with former athletes revealed that many felt as if their voices and opinions were not heard during their time as a student-athlete at Trinity. Hoeg ‘01 attests to this. Click here to listen to her oral history quote. Division III offers many benefits to female athletes and operates at a high level as Portia Hoeg expresses if you click here, but clearly many issues remain to be addressed. 

Tina Sloan Green, director of the Black Women in Sport Foundation, comments in the book Title IX: A Brief History with Documents on how scholarships benefit certain people. 

“When you increase scholarships in these sports, you’re not going to help people of color. But that’s not in their line of interest. Title IX was for white women. I’m not going to say Black women haven’t benefitted, but they have been left out.”