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DII Management Council supports notification of transfer proposal

Council considers seven membership-sponsored proposals

The Division II Management Council took positions on membership-sponsored proposals for the 2020 NCAA Convention, indicating support for a long-discussed proposal to adopt the notification of transfer model in Division II and five other proposals. 

If adopted in January, the notification of transfer proposal would replace the Division II permission-to-contact legislation for four-year student-athletes with a model similar to the one adopted in 2018 by Division I. It would require schools to submit a student-athlete’s written request for transfer in the NCAA Transfer Portal within seven consecutive calendar days of receipt. According to the proposal’s sponsors, the Central Atlantic Collegiate and East Coast conferences, the change is intended to improve the recruiting environment associated with four-year college transfers and provide more transparency for coaches and student-athletes. It would not change the one-time transfer exception legislation, which allows institutions to approve or deny immediate eligibility for competition upon transfer.

The notification of transfer concept was first introduced in the Division II governance structure, where it was supported by the Management Council last spring. However, the Presidents Council in May expressed concerns about how such a change might impact competitive equity in the division, frequency of transfers, and student-athletes’ progress toward their degrees, and the Presidents Council ultimately did not sponsor the proposal.

The model was subsequently submitted as a membership-sponsored proposal, guaranteeing that it would be voted on by the Division II membership in January.

At its meeting in Indianapolis this week, the Management Council again voted to support the concept.

“This proposal was put forward as a student-athlete-friendly change to the permission to contact so that an institution could not deny access to athletics aid at another institution, and the sponsors believe this to be an equity issue,” said Laura Liesman, athletics director at Georgian Court and chair of the Management Council. “The debate at Management Council, and in the membership, seems to be more about the issues surrounding entering student-athletes into the Transfer Portal and the potential recruiting issues that may present. It should be an interesting debate as we move toward Convention. I’m confident that as we discuss this issue, we will continue to act in the best interest of all of our student-athletes.”

The Management Council also voted to support a proposal sponsored by seven Division II conferences that would require current conferences to maintain a minimum of eight active member schools. The division is slated to move from an eight-school minimum to a 10-school minimum in 2022, a change that was adopted by the membership in 2012. However, in more recent years, conferences have become wary of the increased minimum due to a changing landscape in the membership and higher education more broadly that has caused some schools to merge or close, reclassify or drop their athletics programs. The proposal pertains to the membership requirement for existing conferences only; newly formed conferences in Division II would still be required to have 10 members to apply for Division II membership.

Additionally, the Management Council supported the following membership-sponsored proposals:

  • A proposal that would increase the permissible length of golf tryouts for a prospective student-athlete from two to five hours.
  • A proposal to amend the recruiting calendar in women’s basketball to extend the spring contact period through the third weekend in May and eliminate the May 18-June 14 evaluation period.
  • A proposal that would specify that basketball contests played as part of a conference challenge event should be included in both the numerator and denominator and the first-half-of-season calculation for a hardship waiver.

The council took no position on one membership-sponsored proposal, which would eliminate the requirement that a current transcript must be provided to a school prior to issuing a National Letter of Intent or written offer of athletics aid.

“We appreciate the number of membership-sponsored proposals as that truly speaks to the engagement of our DII conferences and institutions,” Liesman said.   

Championships neutrality policy

Also at the meeting, the Management Council voted to recommend the Presidents Council adopt changes to the Division II policy on neutrality for championship preliminary rounds. The first of the recommended changes, which came from the Division II Championships Committee, would allow preliminary round hosts in all team sports to give their season ticket holders first right of refusal for on-campus NCAA postseason competition. The second recommendation is to initiate a one-year pilot for the preliminary rounds of the Division II Football Championship, the Division II Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships and the Division II Softball Championship that would allow hosts of these rounds to conduct the same kind of pregame promotions and celebrations they run during their regular-season home games. The Presidents Council will consider these recommendations at its meeting next week.