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DII Legislation Committee begins review of nonchampionship segments

Committee aims to simplify legislation on practice and competition outside of the playing season

The Division II Legislation Committee, in response to membership requests, is reviewing Division II rules that regulate how much a student-athlete can practice and compete outside of the traditional playing season.

During its meeting this week in Indianapolis, the committee recommended the division simplify the legislation surrounding nonchampionship segments, which have caused confusion among athletics administrators and student-athletes.

The current legislation permits student-athletes to practice and compete outside of their sport’s championship season during the academic year with limitations: They can practice or compete up to 24 days over a 45-day window, omitting vacation and exam days and other school closures. This legislation was adopted in 2002 and has been tweaked only slightly in the years since, including minor changes to the start and end dates of each nonchampionship segment.

However, a proposal that Division II passed at the 2015 NCAA Convention has raised new questions about how to correctly apply the various off-season rules. The legislation adopted in 2015 permits student-athletes in all sports but football to participate in up to two hours of team activities each week as part of the eight hours of athletic-related activity that can occur outside the playing season during the academic year. Such activity was not allowed when the nonchampionship segment model was created, which was intended to provide more flexibility for schools while not increasing out-of-season practice opportunities for student-athletes . 

Campus compliance administrators and members of the Division II Conference Commissioners Association Compliance Administrators requested a review of the nonchampionship segment legislation, and the Legislation Committee agreed to take on that work.

“We’re thinking about how we can simplify this legislation so that compliance administrators can apply it and coaches can understand how this really applies to their sport,” said Natasha Oakes, associate director of athletics for compliance at Missouri Western State University and chair of the Legislation Committee. “We are also keeping in mind the discussions that have been happening not only in Division II but in Division I, as well, regarding time demands on student-athletes.”

Division II staff will seek feedback from various Division II groups in the coming months and develop legislative concepts for the Legislation Committee members to review at their next meeting in March.

Other updates

The Legislation Committee also:

  • Recommended the Management Council sponsor legislation for the 2017 NCAA Convention that would allow teams from Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Canada to travel and miss class during the nonchampionship segment once every three years. The legislation would also apply to schools in the contiguous United States traveling to those locations.
  • Continued its ongoing review of Division II financial aid legislation, which is expected to lead to Convention proposals in 2017. 
  • Recommended the Management Council sponsor noncontroversial legislation to allow Division II schools and conferences to provide military families with prospect-aged children complimentary admission to regular-season events and conference championships. This recommendation aligns with an NCAA championship policy – and an official interpretation issued by the committee in June – that allows military families to receive complimentary admission to Division II championships.