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Division III Week Student-Athlete Spotlight: In My Own Words by Matthew Cracraft

D3 Week Image: Matthew Cracraft - Football

WASHINGTON – Gallaudet University athletics is proud to participate in the seventh annual NCAA Division III Week (April 2-8) in an effort to celebrate the impact athletics and Bison student-athletes have on our campus and surrounding community. GU is joining 450 Division III institutions and 43 conferences in this week’s celebration.

To help focus on the many student-athletes that represent Gallaudet athletics we will spotlight two different student-athlete each day this week. You will learn more about them as they express their feelings on what it is like to be a Division III student-athlete here at Gallaudet. Interviews were conducted by the Gallaudet Sports Information Office.

Junior Matthew Cracraft (Ferris, Texas) recently finished his third season on the Gallaudet football team. He is on track to graduate in May 2019 with a major in Physical Education and Recreation and a minor in Athletic Coaching.

In My Own Words: Matthew Cracraft

What is it like to be a student-athlete in college?
MC: Being a student-athlete in college is something I never thought I would be. As a student-athlete in college, I am able to endure and learn from all the amazing experiences I went through; the expansion of my values especially happened through the hardships I came up against. With that in mind, this has developed the growth of my character. 

What is it like to be a student-athlete at Gallaudet University?
MC: I never thought I would be a student-athlete at Gallaudet. In my experience, I never had any opportunity for playing and thought my career playing football was over. When Gallaudet accepted me and the coaches recruited me, my passion for football came back. Being a student-athlete at Gallaudet was tough at first because I came from a mainstream football program where it was based in verbal communication instead of sign language. I was also present with an interpreter until I came here; I had never experienced full Deaf community exposure, including ASL as the primary mode of communication. As a team, communication is important; I identify myself as deaf and communication is key in our culture. Gallaudet University is based on American Sign Language where everyone can have access to this language and still can apply on the Bison's gridiron. Other than that, the experience was up and down over time, winning or losing, and yet my team and I always prevail at the end. 

What are your goals after graduation, what do you hope to do in life?
MC: For my post-graduate plans, I plan to come back to Gallaudet or to seek out another university to pursue a master's in Deaf Education. I hope to continue to thrive, develop as a person, and continue to expand my athletic knowledge by applying for a position in coaching. 

Throughout the years you've been a part of the football team, what personal growth have you noticed, and how has this affected you in other areas of your life? What is your favorite part about being part of the Gallaudet football team?
MC: Throughout the years I've been part of the football team, the personal growth I have noticed over time is my leadership ability and being responsible. This affected my other areas of my life because I use my time-management wisely to organized and complete my duties; essential as an example for other athletes and also for myself. By setting an example of leadership, I always complete my duties when are told, show up, and support my teammates. My favorite part of being part of the Gallaudet football team is that the program has given me another opportunity to continue to do what I love the most and has help develop me to become greatest Bison I can be, stampeding into the end zone. 

Division III Week Fact of the Day
Did you know the NCAA budget allocation for Division III is $20.2 million, that is only 3.18% of the NCAA operating budget

Division III Week Student-Athlete Spotlight: In My Words
Tuesday: Matthew Carcraft (Football) | Shakeedra Hubbard (Women's Basketball)
Monday: Ren Hohneke (Men's Cross Country) | Jana Kiefer (Women's Swimming)

About Division III Week
Division III Week is a positive opportunity for all individuals associated with Division III to observe and celebrate the impact of athletics and of student-athletes on the campus and surrounding community. During the week, every Division III school and conference office is encouraged to conduct a type of outreach activity that falls into one of three categories: academic accomplishment; athletic experience; or leadership/community service/campus involvement. For more information log onto www.ncaa.org/about/division-iii-week-2018.

About Gallaudet
Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world. For more information about Gallaudet University please log onto www.gallaudet.edu.