Led by William Smith College Director of Athletics Susan Bassett, the NCAA Division III membership adopted eight proposals as part of a reform package at its annual legislative session on Jan. 12, at the NCAA's annual convention in Nashville, Tenn.
A member of the Management Council since 1999, Bassett completed her four-year term on the council at the convention. After serving as the vice chair in 2002, she spent the past year as the council's chair, spearheading the reform movement.
“I'm pleased that the Division III membership voted in such strong support for the reform agenda,” Bassett said. “It shows a strong consensus of the division to stay together. I think the legislative slate provides a framework for our diverse membership to stay together.
“I'm proud of the work of the council and engaging the membership in the reform discussion. I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve in the capacity of chair. It has been a distinct honor and privilege.
“I look forward to the work of Division III under the guidance of NCAA President Myles Brand, who has done an exceptional job of connecting the athletics mission with the academic priority of higher education.”
Among the proposals adopted were an end to the practice of “red-shirting,” an annual financial-aid reporting process, a reduction in the length of playing and practice seasons, and the creation of limitations on practice and competition in the nontraditional season. The membership also adopted a proposal that permits eight Division III institutions currently offering a Division I sport and athletics scholarships to continue.
The membership approved a financial-aid review process that will require institutions to report to the NCAA, a comparison of financial-aid packaging for freshmen and first-year transfer student-athletes with the aid packages awarded to other freshmen and transfer students.
The membership approved legislation to shorten the playing season from 21 weeks to 18 weeks in fall sports and 19 weeks in winter and spring sports, and significantly limit practice and competition during the nontraditional segment for fall and spring sports.
“I would call [Monday's] votes on academic reform in Division III a significant success,” Brand said. “All in all, Division III made an important statement about intercollegiate athletics today.”
In other legislation, the Division III membership voted to:
• Require Division III institutions to certify annually that participating student-athletes present proof of insurance coverage up to the amount of the deductible of the NCAA Catastrophic Injury Insurance Program.
• Prohibit an institution from using income from endowment funds specifically for financial aid for student-athletes.
• Revise the Division III Philosophy Statement to specify that athletics recruitment complies with established institutional policies and procedures applicable to the admissions process.
• The membership approved legislation permitting student-athletes to issue a “self-release” to contact other institutions about a potential transfer
This release includes information from the NCAA News