Earlier this year, Poet lacrosse player Jordan McGowan ’20 found himself rubbing elbows with NFL players, athletic directors, and even NCAA President Mark Emmert during the four-day annual NCAA Convention in Orlando, Florida. McGowan attended the event as part of the Division III Student Immersion Program held in conjunction with the conference.
Created in 2015, the program brings 40 students of color to the NCAA Convention, all expenses paid, and exposes them to the division, its members, and its government processes. The overall goal is to build a pipeline of talented candidates of color, with an interest in Division III coaching and/or administration, in an effort to ultimately diversify the division.
For McGowan, a kinesiology major who hopes to pursue graduate work in sports administration, attending the convention was a valuable learning and networking opportunity. “I was able to create new connections with professionals that have a great amount of experience working in athletics,” he said. “It opened many new doors of opportunity for me in regards to careers in sports administration.”
Due to his personal experience in athletics, McGowan knows the importance of promoting equity and inclusion in his chosen field.
“Being an African American student-athlete participating in a sport that is predominantly white has allowed me to develop a certain respect toward diversity in all sports,” said McGowan. “It helps grow the game in participation and appreciation toward whatever sport you may be playing, and teaches others to be advocates of diversity in sports.”
In addition to the immersion program, McGowan is involved with the Poet Student Athlete Leadership Academy and is a mentor with Harlem Lacrosse, a program that connects players with at-risk youth living in South Los Angeles, Compton, and Inglewood.