You are here

DIII to consider dues increase at NCAA Convention

The Division III Presidents Council discussed the appropriate level for a dues increase before endorsing the proposal

Division III members will vote on a membership dues increase at the 2016 NCAA Convention.

In a meeting Thursday in Indianapolis, the Division III Presidents Council approved a proposal from the Division III Strategic Planning and Finance Committee that would push annual dues from $900 to $2,000 for Division III schools and from $450 to $1,000 for conferences. If adopted at Convention, the dues increase would go into effect for the 2017-18 academic year. That delayed implementation, the Presidents Council noted, would give schools time to budget accordingly.

While the concept has garnered support from members through straw polling at the 2015 NCAA Convention and was endorsed by the Division III Management Council last month, the Presidents Council debated whether the $2,000 that institutions would be asked to pay was appropriate, given that Division I schools pay $1,800 in annual dues. Several members of the Presidents Council asked whether Division III should be capped at $1,800 to match Division I.

Eventually, though, the group decided that $2,000 was the right figure because budget forecasts indicate the division will need those extra dollars to fund a trio of championships enhancements. Those changes, slated to go into effect in 2017-18, were also approved by Presidents Council on Thursday.

The dues increase would generate more than $500,000 in additional annual revenue that would be used to offset per diem increases at championship events and improved access for competitors at the Division III Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships.

“We want to make sure we provide the best experience possible for our students in championships,” said Alan Cureton, Presidents Council chair and president of the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. “This dues increase would go directly toward providing an opportunity for students who are in championships. … I’m looking forward to that conversation at Convention.”

When a dues increase was broached at the 2015 Convention in January, several Division III members raised an important question: Would any revenue generated by additional dues go directly to Division III, or would it be spread out among all three divisions? This week, the NCAA Board of Governors alleviated those concerns when it expressed strong support for Division III having access to all additional revenue generated by a dues increase.

The Presidents Council also approved the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee’s recommendation to create a one-year charter travel pilot program for team sports in 2015-16.

Playing and practice seasons review

Presidents Council members gathered with the Division III Presidents Advisory Group – made up of nearly two dozen college presidents and chancellors – on Wednesday evening. Together, the leaders engaged in detailed discussion of the work being undertaken by the Division III Management Council Playing and Practice Seasons Subcommittee, which is conducting a comprehensive review of all rules pertinent to its charge.

The subcommittee has been gathering feedback from various bodies within Division III – including the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee – and wanted input from presidents as well. Several presidents expressed concerns that any reductions to playing seasons might dissuade some recruits from attending Division III schools, which could harm enrollment figures. Small liberal arts colleges, which comprise the bulk of Division III, rely heavily on athletics to maintain adequate enrollment figures. Drastic changes to playing seasons, the presidents argued, could have a deleterious effect on enrollment. Others countered, noting that lengthy playing seasons can be financially burdensome for some schools, and mentioned Student-Athlete Advisory Committee input that limiting playing seasons would have a negligible effect on college selection.

The group reached near consensus, however, that the subcommittee should explore potential options for splitting some spring sports’ regular seasons across two semesters. Snow in the Northeast and rain in the South often mangle baseball, softball and lacrosse schedules, several presidents noted, and holding the first half of those seasons in the fall could alleviate some of those weather-related difficulties.

The subcommittee will use that feedback as it formulates its forthcoming membership survey and to help guide a discussion with members at the 2016 NCAA Convention in January.

“The presidents feel the need to be able to bring this up and to talk about the length of playing seasons – about cost and expenditures – and yet at the same time, we’re wrestling with the ideal experience for the student when it comes to retention, life on campus, connecting with the team, access to the coach and other things like that,” Cureton said. “Those are critical components that we’ll bring up at the Convention and talk about.”