NCAA Division III Management Council recommends ‘reform package’ to address future of division – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

NCAA Division III Management Council recommends ‘reform package’ to address future of division

William Smith's Bassett chairs committee's work to align philosophy, rules

INDIANAPOLIS-The NCAA Division III Management Council has recommended several changes in Division III legislation and policies in response to the division's in-depth analysis of the future. Those proposals will be forwarded to the Division III Presidents Council for deliberation at its August meeting. If approved by the Presidents Council, the proposals would then come before the Division III membership for a vote at the 2004 NCAA Convention.

The proposed changes include the five areas-financial aid, membership, eligibility and recruiting, playing and practice seasons and championships-examined by an oversight group composed of members of the Management Council and Presidents Council. The Division III membership, which has been discussing the topic for the past year and a half, also participated in a survey and in several focus groups this spring.

“The recommendations the Management Council has forwarded to the Presidents Council regarding the future of the division reflect a thorough examination of the Division III philosophy and a comparison of our practices with the philosophy,” said Susan Bassett, chair of the Division III Management Council and director of athletics at William Smith College. “Through the survey process and the focus groups, the membership has really helped craft a future direction for the division.”

The proposed changes include:

  • Establishing an annual reporting process to examine and compare, on an institutional basis, financial aid awarded to student-athletes with that awarded to non-athletes;
  • Eliminating athletics funds or endowments, which have been permitted under an exemption if the endowment had been received by the institution prior to 1979;
  • Eliminating the awarding of athletics aid by Division III member institutions in sports classified in another division;
  • Eliminating red-shirting;
  • Limiting the playing season to 18 weeks in fall sports and 19 weeks in winter and spring sports;
  • Decreasing the overall length and combined contest limits in the traditional and nontraditional segment by 10 percent and establishing combined maximums, with caps, for both segments;
  • Permitting a student-athlete to “self-release” to speak to athletics departments at other institutions, while also strengthening the consequences for coaches and athletics personnel who speak to student-athletes at other institutions without permission;
  • Adding language to the Division III Philosophy Statement to “assure that athletics recruitment complies with the established policies and procedures applicable to the institutional admissions process;”
  • Amending the Division III Philosophy Statement to encourage institutions and conferences to establish reasonable coaching and travel squad size limits to encourage sport equity; and
  • Adopting a resolution to further address issues related to membership growth as part of the division's ongoing strategic planning process. The resolution will include the division's broad-based program philosophy, appropriate championships access, postseason opportunities in lieu of championships, access to other NCAA programs and services, and the greater exercise of legislative autonomy by schools and conferences.

In other action, the Division III Management Council:

  • Endorsed a recommendation from the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports to mandate that student-athletes participating in NCAA championships in women's lacrosse wear protective eyewear during the 2004 NCAA Championship and to strongly encourage the use of protective eyewear during the 2003-04 playing and practice season.
  • Approved a blanket waiver, for 2003-04 only, to permit institutions to count back from the first scheduled contest to determine their first permissible practice date, even if the first contest takes place during the weekend of August 29-31, 2003. The Council reaffirmed its commitment to the September 1 counting method for future years, regardless of when the first contest is held. The Council also noted that this particular calendar issue would occur again in 2007.