You are here

DII Presidents Council backs three proposals

‘Life in the balance’ philosophy central in council considerations

Division II’s commitment to providing student-athletes a balanced college experience — a core philosophy commonly referred to as “life in the balance” — commanded the attention of the Division II Presidents Council this week as the group considered proposed legislation for the 2018 NCAA Convention.  

Two of four proposals up for consideration by the council focused on playing and practice season schedules: One would allow football teams to begin preseason practice three days earlier, while the other would move up the start date for women’s volleyball by one week in years in which the Division II National Championships Festival occurs in the fall. The proposed changes, while seemingly incremental, sparked robust conversations among council members who questioned whether the proposals conflicted with the division’s goals. 

Ultimately, the council voted Wednesday to sponsor the football proposal, viewing it as a necessary adjustment after the Association eliminated two-a-day preseason practices this spring. The council voted not to sponsor the volleyball proposal — however, since it was also submitted as a membership-sponsored proposal from the East Coast Conference and the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, the proposal will still proceed to a membership vote at Convention.

Several council members raised concerns about such alterations to playing and practice schedules being a “slippery slope” that could lead to more requests for longer seasons and less time off for student-athletes. On the other hand, one member contended that the volleyball proposal could allow student-athletes to attend classes they might normally miss during Festival years by allowing teams to move a couple of weekday matches to the weekend.

“The issues are not so black and white,” said Henderson State President Glen Jones, chair of the council. “I think it’s important that we give some clarity to the gray areas so we can be consistent moving forward.”

For the council, the most influential factor in the council’s affirmative vote for football was the health and safety impact of allowing football players more time to acclimate and prepare for the season, taking into account practices teams may have lost in the two-a-day ban and the recommended day off per week. The earlier start date was already made permissible for the 2017 preseason through a blanket waiver, and this legislation would simply codify the change for future years.

Two other proposals received the council’s support: a proposal that would eliminate some restrictions on the types and increase amounts of athletics-related awards a student-athlete can receive, and another proposal that would allow sports wagering violations to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Currently, violations that trigger the legislated sports wagering sanctions, such as online betting, automatically result in a standard penalty.

Special meeting of presidents, conference commissioners, SAAC members

Before the Presidents Council kicked off its meeting Tuesday, the group joined with other Division II presidents, conference commissioners and representatives from the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee in a meeting held at the NCAA national office. The attendees participated in a series of roundtable discussions focusing on three topics: the Division II student-athlete experience, health and safety culture in Division II, and financial stability in higher education. The division holds this type of meeting every 4-5 years to provide an opportunity for Division II leaders to share ideas and concerns and gather the perspective of student-athletes.

Other Presidents Council actions

Also at its meeting, the Presidents Council:

  • Approved a set of nine priorities for Division II in 2017-18. Over the course of the year, the division will focus on initiatives around diversity and inclusion, a new membership census, coaches’ education, health and safety, academic enhancements, championship experiences, the “culture of compliance” review, SAAC initiatives and Make It Yours brand activation.
  • Re-elected Daemen President Gary Olson as Presidents Council vice chair. 
  • Appointed Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson to the council, effective immediately. The council also appointed Brian May, president at Angelo State, and Rex Fuller, president at Western Oregon, to the council, effective after adjournment of the 2018 NCAA Convention.
  • Ratified two Division II Management Council appointments: Pennie Parker, athletics director at Rollins, as the new Management Council vice chair, and J. Lin Dawson, athletics director at Clark Atlanta, as the new representative from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.