After a week of uncertainty and concern over postseason awards for team and individual achievements alike for the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Javelinas, the issue has been resolved by awarding rings to the Javelina baseball team, and clarifying their policy.
“What we’re doing for our 2012-2013 team and individual Lone Star Conference champions, tournament champions, and NCAA Div. II national champions, the department will award rings for each eligible recipient,” said Scott Gines, Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics and Campus Recreation.
Moving forward, the athletic department and the university looks to implement a policy that will award student-athletes depending on how high their achievements are.
“Going forward in 2013-2014, we’re going to bring clarity of process,” Gines said. “We’ve drafted a student-athlete postseason championship awards ladder, where the size of the award is proportional to the level on the honor.”
The revision has still not been approved, although Gines said the changes were likely to happen.
“These changes aren’t finalized but we’re almost there,” he said.
The policy changes would apply to the 14 sports the athletic department oversees. Gines said the proposed ladder structure of award implementation is an important aspect of the policy revision.
“This is about the student-athlete. We want them to wear their rings with pride for the rest of their life,” he said. “We also want them to clearly know the steps along that ladder and the significance of it, which will feed that pride.”
If implemented, the policy changes will still depend on whether the university has the funding to go forward with the awards or not.
“If you don’t have a sustainable funding source, it becomes more of an aspiration that may or may not happen,” Gines said.
Student-athletes cannot pay for their rings, but the funding can still come from a third-party source, such as a community or business sponsor.
The discussion began when it looked like the Javelina baseball team would not receive rings for winning the LSC postseason tournament, making them tournament champions, but not conference champions. Gines said the different changes throughout the LSC and NCAA made the university’s current policy outdated.
“Our manual was cloudy and it hasn’t been updated in a couple of years,” he said. “The conference definition of champion had changed within the past few years and the NCAA has changed as well, so it was a perfect storm.”