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DII Presidents Council does not sponsor notification of transfer model

Three other legislative concepts advance for further discussion, potential Convention vote

The Division II Presidents Council opposed a heavily discussed transfer concept that was recently established in Division I, determining that the “notification of transfer” model will not advance through the governance structure as a Division II proposal for the 2020 NCAA Convention.

The proposal would have replaced the Division II permission-to-contact legislation for four-year student-athletes with a notification-based process that would require schools to submit a student-athlete’s written request for transfer in the new transfer portal. Under the concept, a Division II school would no longer be able to refuse permission to contact and prevent a transfer student-athlete from receiving an athletics scholarship at a new school. The concept was recommended by the Division II Legislation Committee and the Management Council.

In a lengthy discussion at its meeting Wednesday in Indianapolis, some members of the Presidents Council voiced concerns about potential consequences such a change to the transfer rules could have on Division II. They pointed to the division’s unique partial scholarship model and expressed worry that disparities among schools could grow under the recommended concept, further separating the “haves” from the “have nots” if schools with more financial aid had easier access to recruit student-athletes away from their current school. Would teams cut one athlete and end their athletics aid to make room for a transfer on the rise? How might competitive equity be impacted in the division? Would transfers increase, and, if so, how might that hinder students’ progress toward their degrees?

After wrestling with these questions, the group decided to support the status quo.

“I think some council members believe that the best way to support students is by not making a change, while a minority of other members felt that students would benefit most if we did make a change,” said Gary Olson, president of Daemen and chair of the Presidents Council. “It was an honest disagreement on how we can best support students. That’s always our major concern in Division II, and it always will be.”

While not required to use the transfer portal, Division II schools will continue to have access to it. About a third of the student-athletes who are now in the portal are Division II student-athletes.

Legislative concepts advancing

While the council decided not to advance the transfer concept, it did support continued discussion on three other legislative concepts. The following concepts will return to the council in August in legislative form, and the council will make a final decision at that time whether to sponsor them as 2020 Convention proposals.

  • First is a proposal that would require every school and conference to establish an athletics diversity and inclusion designee who would be the point person for all diversity-and-inclusion-related information among conference offices, campuses and the NCAA. The proposal was recommended by the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee and is being considered in all three divisions. The designation could be given to a staff member who is either internal or external to the athletics department.
  • Next, the council advanced a proposal that would permit a student-athlete to accept donations from an institutional staff or faculty member when fundraising to cover expenses for participation in outside competition, such as an international trip for Athletes in Action. The proposal would not permit student-athletes to accept donations from athletics department staff members.
  • Finally, a third advancing proposal would specify that a student-athlete transferring from another NCAA division, a two-year college or the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics would be subject to the season-of-competition legislation applicable to the school where the student-athlete competed, rather than Division II legislation. Current Division II legislation requires schools to reassess a transfer student-athlete’s participation history before enrollment at the Division II school to determine how many seasons of competition a student-athlete used before transferring. The recommended change would base this assessment on the legislation of the division or organization where the participation occurred.

Other actions

The Presidents Council also:

  • Approved $1.3 million in budget requests for how Division II will spend its 4.37% allocation of the NCAA’s new revenue in the coming year. The requests include $351,000 for the Division II Enhancement Fund and more than $370,000 for championships travel.
  • Elected Tom Jackson Jr., president of Black Hills State, to the Presidents Council for a term beginning in August and Steven Shirley, president of Minot State, for a term beginning in January 2020.
  • Approved the appointment of Shari Reed, senior woman administrator at Charleston (West Virginia), to the Management Council.