DI to discuss recruiting, student welfare rules

By Michelle Brutlag Hosick

For Division I, the 2014 Convention will be remembered for its restructuring conversation. But several important legislative proposals also could be adopted this year.

Legislative Council members will consider recruiting rules that would:

  • Allow recruiting communication to start Sept. 1 of a recruit’s junior year, except in basketball, football, men’s ice hockey, swimming and diving, cross country and track and field. Off-campus recruiting dates would not change for any sport. The proposal also would lift restrictions in these sports on the frequency and types of communication. For example, text messaging would be allowed.
  • Limit recruiting materials to general and electronic correspondence but lift many of the restrictions. Personalized recruiting materials and those created specifically for athletics recruiting purposes -- such as  a Fathead decal featuring a particular recruit – would remain prohibited.
  • Allow men’s ice hockey coaches to begin recruiting communication on Jan. 1 of a recruit’s sophomore year and have off-campus contact on June 15 following the completion of a recruit’s sophomore year. Also on the table is a second version of this rule that would maintain the ban on text messaging and other electronic correspondence .

The council also will consider several proposals that would change some rules related to financial aid, personnel and student-athlete benefits. These proposals would:

  • Create a more workable definition of “countable coach.”
  • Allow schools to provide to student-athletes the maximum meal plan available to all students.

Additionally, the council will consider two separate proposals that would allow schools to provide unlimited snacks and additional meals to student-athletes. The first proposal would allow schools to provide meals in conjunction with practice during the playing season and other noncompetitive events. The second proposal would allow them to provide meals “incidental with participation” both in and out of season.

These ideas emerged from the Rules Working Group, where members discussed the importance of providing quality nutrition to student-athletes in training. There, the consensus was that feeding student-athletes helps them and makes sense, so schools should be allowed to do it.

Legislative Council action is not considered final until the close of the Board of Directors meeting on January 18.

In addition, the Leadership Council will consider a recommendation from the Transfer Issues Subcommittee that could allow qualified transferring student-athletes the opportunity to extend the traditional five-year period of eligibility by one year. This option would replace the ability for student-athletes to play immediately after transferring.