The D-III revolution: How America's most violent game may be saving liberal arts colleges

Tim Goral's picture

Casey Caton never figured he'd play a starring role in securing college football's longest two-game winning streak.

An all-conference wide receiver coming out of Rogers High School (Ark.), Caton imagined he would help Harding University in Arkansas vie for the NCAA Division II championship. Instead, in his three seasons at Harding, the playing time he envisioned never materialized in its triple-option offense, frustration mounted and last fall he quit the team. With just a few classes left before graduation, his football dreams - it seemed - were over.

Then Caton learned that Hendrix College, widely perceived to be the most liberal college in Arkansas, was resurrecting its football program this fall after dropping the sport in 1960. Caton, who describes himself as "definitely on the conservative side," would have never considered attending Hendrix before the news.

The more he learned, however, the more he could see himself on campus and playing football for the Warriors. He met and liked Hendrix's coaches and the prospect of getting plenty playing time. Although Division III competition would be a step down, and the tuition price tag a couple steps up, he would also be getting a degree from one of the most academically prestigious small colleges in the South.

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