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DII Legislation Committee recommends certification for strength coaches

Group also recommends loosening restrictions on signing events, providing unlimited meals to student-athletes


Division II committees are attempting to establish a safer approach to student-athlete strength and conditioning activities, and members are finding the solution is far from clear-cut.  

After considerable discussion and feedback, the Division II Legislation Committee decided to recommend sponsorship of a proposal for the 2015 Convention that would require national certification for any individual designated by a member institution as the school’s strength and conditioning coach. The Management Council will consider the recommendation during its July 21-22 meeting in Indianapolis, as will the Presidents Council at its August meeting.

The recommendation continues a discussion that began in 2012, when the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports recommended as part of a broader sport safety package that all three divisions establish a rule requiring national certification for strength and conditioning coaches.

Division II delegates passed two proposals in the safety package, but the Division II Presidents Council referred one of the proposals back to CSMAS last summer because the language of the proposal was too broad and would require anyone who was overseeing and conducting strength and conditioning workouts to be certified – not just coaches with a strength and conditioning title. That concern prompted the current recommendation to require certification only of designated strength and conditioning coaches.

CSMAS restated at its June meeting its position that anyone overseeing strength and conditioning workouts should be certified, while at the same time acknowledging it could burden Division II schools, which often operate with smaller staffs. The Legislation Committee believes the current recommendation is a first step toward addressing the standard CSMAS advocates.  The division will continue to monitor the rule and work with CSMAS on changes, if needed. 

The certification is estimated to cost between $400 and $600, with a small annual fee for continuing education.


Unlimited Meals and Snacks

After Division I passed legislation in the spring permitting unlimited meals and snacks for student-athletes in conjunction with their athletics participation, the question arose – over and over – whether the change applied for Division II. The answer was always “no.”

The Legislation Committee hopes that will soon change.

Committee members agreed student-athletes should have access to meals and snacks in conjunction with practice and competition and predicted athletics department budgets would prevent schools from providing anything exorbitant. In addition, the committee noted that loosening the rules would ease the burden on the division’s compliance offices, which are typically small. 

The group recommended that the Management Council and Presidents Council consider sponsoring a 2015 convention proposal that mirrors the Division I legislation. The councils will discuss the topic at their upcoming meetings.


Publicity Surrounding Student-Athlete Signings

The Legislation Committee also recommended a proposal that would loosen certain regulations limiting the way institutions can publicize signings of student-athletes. Schools are currently not allowed to host a press conference, reception, dinner or other celebratory event to announce prospective student-athletes who have signed a written commitment with the institution. The current legislation has confused some members, which becomes clear each year around the National Letter of Intent signing periods.

As a result, the committee expressed the need for deregulation that would permit schools to host public events after a prospective student-athlete has signed. Committee members agreed that the division could benefit from the extra publicity. And, according to Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representative Spencer Dodd, so would the student-athletes. “Any opportunity to tell the public that you signed your NLI is a good thing,” said Dodd, a former member of the Saint Martin’s baseball team.

Some members of the committee expressed concerns regarding a piece of the recommendation that would allow a signed prospective student-athlete to attend the celebratory event to announce signings. Dodd will solicit feedback from the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee before the issue heads to the Management Council and Presidents Council for consideration.