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DII SAAC supports all four playing and practice season proposals

The group remains hopeful that proposals designed to give more voice to the student-athletes will be passed in January

After thorough debate, the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee supported all four legislative proposals regarding playing and practice seasons up for a vote at the 2015 NCAA Convention in January.

The Division II SAAC, which met Nov. 21-22 in Indianapolis, believes this group of proposals will enhance the student-athlete experience.

The first proposal would allow student-athletes in fall championship sports, including golf and tennis teams that conduct the championship segment in the fall, to work with strength and conditioning personnel for workouts starting June 1 through the school’s summer vacation period.

The committee supported this proposal because it would give student-athletes who compete in fall championship sports similar preseason workout opportunities to those in winter and spring championship sports. Additionally, a rule went into effect last year allowing football student-athletes to conduct summer workouts designed by strength and conditioning personnel on campus.

The second playing and practice season proposal under consideration involves allowing coaches in sports other than football a maximum of two hours of team activities per week throughout the academic year. This would be part of the eight permissible hours of countable athletically-related activities that can occur outside of the playing season.

For example, a coach may choose to hold one two-hour practice for the week as opposed to having individual skill instruction sessions that total two hours. The remaining six hours of countable athletically-related activities can be strength- and conditioning-related only.

The committee supported this legislation because it is permissive and allows coaches the discretion to conduct team practices or individual-skill instruction on a weekly basis. The group also believes this proposal will assure the rule will be consistently applied to all sports.

The third proposal regarding playing and practice seasons centers on the start date for spring sports. When Feb. 1 falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday, the regular season in baseball, golf, lacrosse, rowing, sand volleyball, softball and tennis can begin on the Friday preceding  Feb. 1.

The committee supported the proposal because it allows for more opportunities for a full weekend of competition and less missed class time.

The last playing and practice season proposal involves allowing baseball, soccer, softball and volleyball teams to exempt a maximum of two contests that can be played as part of a conference challenge event.

Currently, only basketball teams can use this exemption, and SAAC believes the other sports can benefit from being able to schedule more in-region, nonconference opponents that can aid sports committees in their championship selection process.

Student-athlete voice

The Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee remains hopeful two other proposals, which are designed to give more voice to student-athletes, will be supported at the 2015 NCAA Convention.  

If passed, two members of the committee would be allowed to combine for one vote on the Division II Management Council.  The other proposal calls for the Division II SAAC to have one vote at the NCAA Division II business session at the Convention.

Committee chair Spencer Dodd said his group has built a great working relationship with the Division II Management Council and that these proposals would only enhance the governance structure.

Dodd added that he and the current members of his committee realize the responsibility that will come their way should these proposals pass.

“We are aware of the work of the committees in the past that has led us up to the position where we are today,” said Dodd, who was a baseball student-athlete at Saint Martin’s University in Washington. “We are fortunate to be the ones here now that can move this forward. But, all the previous SAAC groups were phenomenal and have put us in this position. It is through their legacy that this is happening.”