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DII awards Foundation for the Future funding

$5.7 million to be distributed for programs that support division's strategic plan

A collection of programs designed to support the Division II strategic plan will receive $5.7 million through the Division II Foundation for the Future initiative, the division’s Presidents Council decided Thursday.

The selected programs will help student-athletes who have exhausted their athletics eligibility to complete their undergraduate degrees; provide professional development opportunities to Division II athletics administrators; and provide online education for coaches, among other missions.

“To me, the Foundation for the Future is all about making an incredible investment in our student-athletes and this division,” said Steve Scott, president of Pittsburg State University and chair of the Presidents Council. “I am convinced it will have a long-term significant impact on making us all better.”

Ten initiatives will receive a portion of the Foundation for the Future funding:

Initiative: Helper Helper.

Amount: $100,000 distributed over four years (2016-20).

Purpose: To assist Division II schools in connecting students to volunteer experiences and tracking their community engagement efforts via the Helper Helper, an app dedicated to student volunteers.

Initiative: Community engagement transportation at championships.

Amount: $67,900 distributed over four years (2016-20).

Purpose: To provide bus transportation to Division II championships for community members who participate in community engagement events.

Initiative: Academic metrics.

Amount: $200,000 distributed over two years (2016-18).

Purpose: To review the division’s metrics for gauging academic success, improve the accuracy of data collection and strengthen the foundation upon which academic policy decisions are made.

Initiative: National Association of Athletics Compliance education programming.

Amount: $330,600 distributed over five years (2016-21).

Purpose: To provide Division II schools and conferences with an interactive educational training program that would assist administrators in developing ethical compliance programs.

Initiative: Annual Student-Athlete Advisory Committee “Super Region” Convention.

Amount: $1 million distributed over four years (2017-21).

Purpose: To provide a SAAC convention each year to enhance student-athlete participation in the governance structure and enable student-athletes and administrators to better understand issues affecting Division II student-athletes.

Initiative: Division II Coaches Connection expansion.

Amount: $429,000 distributed over five years (2016-21).

Purpose: To expand the Coaches Connection program, which is currently in place for football, soccer, women’s volleyball and tennis, to include all Division II sports. The program uses former coaches to strengthen communication between coaches and the NCAA governance structure.

Initiative: Division II Degree-Completion Awards.

Amount: $440,000 distributed over five years (2016-21).

Purpose: To provide additional funding to student-athletes who have exhausted their athletics eligibility to help them complete their undergraduate degrees.

Initiative: Division 2 Athletics Directors Association professional development.

Amount: $432,500 distributed over five years (2016-21).

Purpose: To provide more professional development opportunities to future and current Division II athletics directors.

Initiative: Online education program for coaches.

Amount: $1.5 million distributed over five years (2016-21).

Purpose: To provide a comprehensive online education program for coaches focusing on legislative and health and safety information.

Initiative: Distribution to Division II conferences.

Amount: $1.2 million in the 2016-17 academic year.

Purpose: To distribute $50,000 to each Division II conference to be used in any of the following areas: academic support, broadcast support, officiating improvement and branding efforts.

The Division II Planning and Finance Committee and the Presidents Council planned the extra distribution of Division II funds after analyzing the projected reserve in the division’s long-range budget, which changed in recent years. The groups directed national office staff to redistribute a percentage of the reserves to help fund initiatives that directly benefit Division II members and support the strategic plan through 2021.

In fall 2015, a task force of presidents and chancellors, athletics administrators, conference commissioners, faculty athletics representatives and student-athletes was formed to solicit and review proposals for funding from various Division II governance committees. The task force ultimately recommended these 10 proposals to the Management Council, Planning and Finance Committee and the Presidents Council, and they received final approval Thursday.

“Each proposal needed to advance a strategic positioning outcome area of the strategic plan,” said Linda Bleicken, president of Armstrong State University and chair of the task force. “In considering these and really deliberating about our decisions, we considered most highly student-athlete well-being, student-athlete leadership development, and professional development for those in Division II, especially among athletics directors, coaches and conference professionals.”