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DII Presidents Council reviews football guidelines

Group also considers upcoming legislation, approves 2015-16 budget surplus allocations

The newly released NCAA football practice guidelines again sparked lengthy discussion at the Division II level on Thursday, as the Division II Presidents Council deliberated on actions they may need to take both as a committee and on their individual campuses to begin implementing the health and safety best practices.

The newly released NCAA football practice guidelines again sparked lengthy discussion at the Division II level Thursday, as members of the Division II Presidents Council deliberated on actions they may need to take both as a committee and as leaders on their individual campuses to implement the health and safety best practices. 

The Presidents Council’s conversation comes one day after the Division II Management Council addressed the topic during its meeting and two days after the NCAA released the new guidelines, which address contact in football practices throughout the year and serve as an update to guidelines first published in 2014. The new guidelines, supported by the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports and endorsed by more than 20 other scientific, medical and football organizations, were a product of the second Safety in College Football Summit, held last February.

The presidents focused on the way the new guidelines could lead to legislative changes in Division II, particularly relating to a recommendation to eliminate two-a-day practices during the football preseason. Two-a-day practices are now permitted in Division II legislation. The Presidents Council, along with the Management Council and other Division II committees, will continue to explore next steps in the coming months with the goal of helping to ensure Division II schools are following the guidelines.

Upcoming business session

The Presidents Council spent time preparing for Saturday’s Division II business session, where Division II delegates will vote on 18 proposals. Council members heard new feedback on one proposal — 2017-17, addressing hardship waivers — that suggests members may try to divide the proposal into two pieces Saturday. As is, the proposal would increase the maximum number of contests or dates of competition in which a student-athlete could compete and remain eligible for a hardship waiver and would require that the student-athlete’s participation occur in the first half of the playing season. The Presidents Council, in agreement with the Management Council, affirmed its belief that the proposal should include both pieces. If the proposal is split Saturday, the groups recommend delegates vote against the separate proposals and allow the Division II Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, which drafted the proposal, to present a new option in the coming year.  

Budget surplus 

Also at its meeting, the council members approved various allocations totaling more than $2.7 million from the 2015-16 budget surplus, as proposed by the Division II Planning and Finance Committee. The division will provide a supplemental distribution of $915,000 to 304 schools, equating to approximately $3,000 per school. Additionally, $695,000 of the surplus will go toward the second phase of the Make It Yours brand enhancement, and $500,000 will help schools by covering local ground transportation costs during Division II team championships. The division also allocated $415,000 to support the second Division II-specific APPLE Training Institute, a conference dedicated to substance abuse prevention.