Karen Weaver analyzes Division III college closures in “Forbes”

May 10, 2024

In a Forbes SportsMoney column, Karen Weaver, an adjunct assistant professor in the Policy, Organizations, Leadership, and Systems Division, addresses the challenges that NCAA Division III colleges face due to demographic shifts and financial constraints. Following the 2008 Great Recession, a significant drop in birth rates has led to fewer high school graduates, severely affecting enrollment at small, private colleges in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Upper Midwest. This demographic downturn has resulted in the closure of 13 Division III colleges since 2020.

Weaver’s analysis reveals that the drop in student numbers has severely impacted athletic programs, with 282 sports teams lost, largely due to these closures. Despite attempts to boost enrollment by adding sports, recent studies suggest that such measures have fallen short of stabilizing these institutions financially.

Weaver’s work calls for a critical reassessment of using sports as a financial lifeline for struggling colleges, suggesting the need for more sustainable solutions in the face of ongoing educational challenges.

Read more at Forbes.