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DII Management Council recommends initial-eligibility proposal for 2021 Convention

Plan would allow athletics aid for nonqualifiers; ‘one-for-one’ scheduling penalty policy established

The Division II Management Council voted this week to recommend the Presidents Council sponsor a proposal for the 2021 NCAA Convention to allow access to institutional athletics aid to all incoming freshman student-athletes and two-year college transfers regardless of their initial-eligibility status. The Presidents Council will consider the proposal at its next meeting April 29.

The proposal, which came from the Division II Academic Requirements Committee, would amend Division II eligibility legislation in a permissive fashion.

Currently, all incoming freshman student-athletes and two-year college transfers who are nonqualifiers are not permitted to receive athletics aid during their first academic year in residence unless an initial-eligibility waiver is approved. During the past three certification cycles, however, 97% of all requested initial-eligibility waivers for nonqualifiers were granted access to at least athletics aid through the waiver process. Given the high percentage of students receiving this benefit, this legislative proposal would permit schools to provide institutional athletics aid without a waiver. Providing such aid still would be up to the schools, and any athletics aid provided to a nonqualifier would count toward team equivalency limits.

The Division II Academic Requirements Committee also is seeking feedback related to providing access to practice for nonqualifiers. Before recommending a legislative change specific to practice, the committee agreed it would be appropriate to seek additional feedback from the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Division II Coaches Connection groups. Members will review the feedback during their June teleconference.

“Management Council recognized that nearly all waivers had been approved in the last few years and that this is simply permissive legislation, which allows each institution to make its own decision on whether to issue aid in these cases,” said Chris Graham, commissioner of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and chair of the Management Council. “Additionally, our student-athlete representatives highlighted the benefits of supporting team involvement when possible.”

The Management Council also voted to recommend establishing a policy that applies a “one-for-one” statistical penalty to any team under consideration for postseason selection whose schedule has exceeded the maximum number of contests during that season, similar to the principles of nullification.

Currently, there is no policy to address such cases in the same season that a school exceeds the maximum number of contests. Past instances typically have been handled as an enforcement issue after the fact, resulting in the school accepting a “two-for-one” scheduling penalty for the following season (i.e., the school is required to schedule two fewer games for each game that exceeded the maximum). The proposed policy, which will go to the Presidents Council, would apply a “one-for-one” statistical penalty as part of championship selections for each game that exceeds the limit.

Name, image and likeness

The council discussed several concepts that would permit Division II student-athletes to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness consistent with the NCAA Board of Governors’ principles and guidelines. The concepts shared were discussed previously by the Legislation Committee and the national Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. The Division II Presidents Council will discuss these concepts during its quarterly meeting April 29.