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DII Presidents Council approves changes to long-range budget to address revenue reduction

Legislative proposal for access to athletics aid advances; council continues name, image and likeness discussion

The Division II Presidents Council on Wednesday approved changes to the division’s long-range budget to address the reduction in revenue for the current fiscal year as a result of the impact from the COVID-19 public health crisis.

The council also advanced a proposal regarding access to athletics aid for all freshman student-athletes and two-year college transfers, regardless of their initial eligibility status, for the 2021 NCAA Convention. The council further discussed and supported name, image and likeness concepts following the Board of Governors’ recent announcement on the issue.

The changes within Division II’s long-range budget included mostly delayed or lowered budget increases, in response to a $30 million decrease in projected revenue for this fiscal year due to the cancellation of the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and the remaining 2020 NCAA winter and spring championships.

Division II expects to use $16 million from its reserves to cover the difference between projected expenses and the updated expected revenue for this fiscal year. The Presidents Council approved the changes to the division’s new long-range budget to meet its budget policy of holding a reserve balance of at least 70% of the division’s operating revenue. Division II is expected to receive $15 million from event cancellation insurance for the Division I men’s basketball tournament.

The approved modifications to the long-range budget are projected to save an average of $1.7 million in each of the next four fiscal years. These changes were recommended by the Administrative Committee and the Planning and Finance Committee. Those two committees prioritized the division’s long-term expenses in the following order, in accordance with the Division II budget guidelines and principles: contractual obligations, championships, Enhancement Fund, Conference Grant Program and strategic initiatives.

“The committees that worked on the proposals for this new long-range budget did an excellent job of identifying thoughtful areas to save while maintaining the division’s priorities,” said Sandra Jordan, chancellor of South Carolina Aiken and chair of the Division II Presidents Council. “These changes keep the division on a fiscally responsible path.”

Legislative proposal advancing

The Presidents Council also voted to sponsor a concept to allow access to institutional athletics aid to all incoming freshman student-athletes and two-year college transfers regardless of their initial-eligibility status for their first academic year in residence.

The proposal will return to the Management Council and Presidents Council in July or August in legislative form. The Presidents Council then will make a final decision on whether to sponsor the legislation for the 2021 NCAA Convention, with an effective date of Aug. 1, 2021, for student-athletes enrolling in a Division II school on or after that date.

The proposal, which came from the Division II Academic Requirements Committee and was supported by the Management Council, would amend Division II financial aid legislation in a permissive fashion.

Currently, 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, access to at least athletics aid was granted in 97% of all initial-eligibility waiver requests for nonqualifiers. 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 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. The committee will review the feedback during its June teleconference.

One-for-one penalty established

The Presidents Council also voted to establish a policy, effective immediately, 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.

Previously, there was 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 (that is, the school is required to schedule two fewer games for each game that exceeded the maximum). The approved policy will apply a “one-for-one” statistical penalty as part of championship selections for each game that exceeds the limit.

Name, image and likeness discussed

The Presidents Council discussed and supported 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 Division II Legislation Committee, the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Management Council.

At its meeting earlier this week, the Board of Governors supported rule changes to allow student-athletes to receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics. It also supported compensation for other student-athlete opportunities, such as social media, businesses they have started and personal appearances within the guiding principles originally outlined by the board in October.

The board directed all three divisions to consider appropriate rules changes based on recommendations from its Federal and State Legislation Working Group.

The Division II Legislation Committee — charged with review of issues related to name, image and likeness opportunities — will seek membership feedback in these areas and will finalize any legislative recommendations at its June 22-23 meeting. Any legislative recommendations will be reviewed at the summer meetings of the Division II Management Council and Presidents Council for potential sponsorship of 2021 Convention legislation.

Other actions:

  • The Presidents Council approved the appointment of Donna Henry, chancellor of Virginia at Wise, to the council for a term beginning May 16.
  • The Presidents Council approved the appointment of Amy Henkelman, director of athletics at Dominican (California), as the new Management Council representative from the Pacific West Conference, effective May 16.