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DII Management Council approves championships budget recommendations

Council members also change position on SAAC Convention vote

More than $800,000 worth of Division II championships budget requests moved one step closer to fruition this week at a meeting of the Division II Management Council.

The council, which met Monday and Tuesday in Indianapolis, voted to support budget recommendations that the Division II Championships Committee had forwarded for their consideration. The budget recommendations would fulfill 17 requests from governing sports committees – requests that the Management Council and Championships Committee believe will enhance participant opportunities and the overall championships experience for Division II student-athletes. The suggested allocations hinge primarily on championship bracket expansions and squad size increases.

The Division II Presidents Council will vote on the recommendations at its meeting next week, followed by a Planning and Finance Committee vote. Approved budget requests will take effect Sept. 1, 2015.

“Our council agreed that it was really about student-athletes and their access to championships,” said Management Council Chair Karen Stromme, the University of Minnesota Duluth associate athletics director and senior woman administrator. “The Championships Committee was mindful of priorities, and when they explained their decisions, it really made sense.”

As part of the overall package, the Management Council supported the Championships Committee’s recommendation for a policy change that would require team sports participants who are located within 600 miles of the championship site to travel via ground transportation. The current limit is 500 miles. Such a change would save a projected $324,000, which is included in the recommended budgetary allocations.  Individual sports, such as tennis, cross-country, golf, swimming and diving, would not be impacted by the recommendation and would maintain the current 500-mile limitation.

Both the Management Council and the Championships Committee were cognizant of concerns surrounding championship transportation costs for schools. In an effort to allay those concerns, the groups are recommending to the Planning and Finance Committee that in any year in which the championships budget surplus exceeds $1.2 million, a portion of that surplus will be distributed back to member institutions competing in championships to offset those costs.

See the full list of the recommended budgetary requests and an explanation of where the available funds came from here.

Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Vote at Convention

Also at the meeting, the Management Council voted to support a proposal to give the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee one vote on each proposal considered on the floor of the National Convention Division II Business Session.

It was a change in position for the council, which did not endorse the proposal after its first review in July. Council members originally expressed concern that a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee vote at Convention would mar the division’s “one institution, one vote” model. At the time, they felt their support for a complementary proposal to give the student-athlete representatives one vote on the Management Council was more effective.

However, when the Presidents Council supported the student-athlete Convention vote in August, their additional rationale eased Management Council concerns. “The Management Council should be the gatekeepers of policy,” Stromme said. “The Presidents Council’s language gave the Management Council the confidence to say our worries about policy and unintended consequences weren’t going to happen.

“Of course, we believe profoundly that the student-athlete is at the core of what we are and what we do here.”

Brand Enhancement

The Division II brand enhancement project was another key focus at the meeting. The Management Council heard and provided feedback on an update from Blacktop Creative, the Kansas City-based marketing firm hired in March to develop a new externally-facing brand.

After extensive research, Blacktop Creative presented their top ideas for a brand moniker, brand colors, photography and other aspects of design that would help tell the story of Division II. The new moniker would replace the current “I Chose Division II” tagline. The Presidents Council, Conference Commissioners Association, sports information directors board, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and, during Convention, the entire Division II membership will have the next opportunities to weigh in on the concepts before a brand strategy is chosen next year.