After three appeals from Dakota Wesleyan University, Senior Kamberlyn Lamer will now be able to compete at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships, following the NAIA overturning their previous decision.
Lamer was disqualified from the heptathlon last week, due to the registration email being sent to the head coach's spam folder.
In a statement from the NAIA on Tuesday, the league says, "This decision overturns a previous appeal determination made by the NAIA’s National Administrative Council (NAC). The NCC noted its respect for the NAC’s decision, especially given the council’s parameters and consistency with prior appeal decisions. The NCC’s decision to grant the appeal was based on the opportunity to extend grace to a student-athlete who was prohibited from competing through no fault of her own."
The NCC says their decision to grant DWU's appeal was based on the best interest of Lamer and has also promoted the conference to reexamine the declaration process and how it can best support student athletes.
The conference also adding, “Allowing Ms. Lamer to compete is consistent with NAIA principles that place the student-athlete as the association’s top priority,” said Jim Carr, NAIA president and CEO. “The NAIA is fortunate that our membership has the opportunity to review prior decisions and prioritize student-centered outcomes, as was done in this situation.”
Lamer also qualified for nationals in the open events, but will now be able to participate in both. The NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships run Thursday through Saturday at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Just like any typical Monday afternoon, you’ll find Kamber Lamer on the track.
“I’ve always been a go getter ever since I was little,” said Lamer.
That go getter mentality is something the Dakota Wesleyan senior is turning to now more than ever.
“I lost my mind for a minute, because I was like wait is this like a joke, are you joking with me? Because I didn’t want to believe it at all,” said Lamer.
Last week Kamber’s Track and Field Coach received an email registering her for the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships. That email though ended up in a spam folder through the school, and by the time someone saw it, the application deadline had passed.
“I got a call later that day from my athletic director, our school president, and they all were just telling me how sorry they were and that they are going to try everything in their power to help fix the situation and to able to get me to compete,” said Lamer.
“Appeals that have to demonstrate that the NAIA did not comply with a particular standard. We won’t disagree with that, they did what they were supposed to do, but unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be an appeal process for an exceptional circumstance or for an extenuating circumstance,” said Dakota Wesleyan President Amy Novak.
Dakota Wesleyan’s Head Coach Zach Lurz immediately filed an appeal to the NAIA but due to the league’s own appeal process, the nation’s top ranked heptathlete, Kamber Lamer, won’t compete at nationals this week in Alabama.
“I had no control over what happened. It’s extremely frustrating, it’s just kind of like above my head because I can’t get a say in it. That’s the most frustrating part about it, is because they’re not giving me any chance,” said Lamer.
Dakota Wesleyan is hoping that a third appeal will clear this up but time is running out, but nationals begin on Thursday.
“We had exhausted every possible attempt that we could to make the case for Kamber’s participation. One of the beauties of working at a small institution is that we get to know our students. I think Kamber is one of those students that have been exemplary not just in terms of her athletic performance, but in terms of her character, her integrity, her work as a student,” said President Novak.
“I have worked so hard to get where I am, and I don’t think it’s fair whatsoever how they are using this against me, and I didn’t do anything to deserve it,” said Lamer.
For now, Kamber is trying to stay strong, she is still prepping like she would any other day, while also practicing for the open events at nationals that she will be able to compete in. Knowing it’s possible that a misplaced email could undo years of work.
“If I don’t get the chance to compete, I’m still going to show the NAIA what I have and what I can do. I’m not going to let them tear me down because it’s just not who I am,” said Lamer. “I have cried so much, and I have worked so hard for all of this and I don’t want to give up because I don’t want to believe that they’re going to do this to me. All I can do is hope at this point,” she added.
When reaching out to the NAIA on Monday night Director Communications Jennifer Saab said, “The NAIA's National Coordinating Committee (NCC) is reviewing Dakota Wesleyan's appeal and will meet tomorrow to discuss the details. A decision should be made no later than Wednesday."
The NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships run Thursday through Saturday at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores, Alabama.