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DIII council supports changes to top NCAA board

Presidents Council also weighs in on potential health, safety legislation

The Division III Presidents Council last week formally expressed support for amending the composition of the NCAA Board of Governors.

At its quarterly meeting in Indianapolis, the council offered unanimous support for a proposal from the Board of Governors Ad Hoc Committee on Structure and Composition. That calls for four voting representatives from Division II and four from Division III to serve on the board. The current structure includes 12 voting representatives from Division I, but only two voting representatives apiece from Division II and Division III.

The council felt the proposed structure would better reflect the overall composition of the NCAA membership and the Association-wide function of the board. The Board of Governors will consider the recommendation, along with additional membership feedback, during its August meeting. Any change to the board’s composition would require approval by two-thirds of the membership in a vote at an NCAA Convention.

Alan Cureton, Division III Presidents Council chair and president of the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, and Jay Lemons, council vice chair and president of Susquehanna University, represent Division III on the board and briefed their fellow council members on the ad hoc committee’s discussions and rationale. Cureton and Lemons asked for input from their peers on the council, which led to the unanimous vote to support the reformed structure.

“There’s a wonderful sense of solidarity within Division III,” Cureton said. “Having the support of all my fellow presidents on this crucial and strategic initiative is absolutely critical.”

Other actions:

  • The council met with NCAA Sport Science Institute staff and discussed potential forthcoming legislation regarding independent medical care provisions, including designation of a director of medical services at NCAA member schools. That legislation, potentially pertinent to all divisions, will be reviewed by the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports this summer and could enter the Division III legislative cycle before the 2018 NCAA Convention.

    The proposal would call for each school to designate a director of medical services – an administrative role that is tasked with ensuring a school is compliant with legislation and inter-association consensus statements pertaining to health and safety, among other duties. The position wouldn’t require hiring new personnel, merely designating an appropriate staffer (for example, head athletic trainer or team physician) to assume the role. Primary health care providers would maintain their unchallengeable autonomous authority over medical management and return-to-play decisions.

    Though potential legislation could be more than a year and a half away, the council plans to encourage Division III members to begin identifying someone to fill that role to help them more easily comply with health and safety guidelines issued by the NCAA in conjunction with leading medical organizations.

    “The ethos of Division III is focused on the student-athlete, and we want to make sure that they’re cared for from a medical viewpoint as well as a mental health standpoint,” Cureton said. “That’s why we’re all embracing it well before the initiative might come to fruition.”
  • The council supported the Board of Governors’ call to bolster ethnic and gender diversity and inclusion throughout the Association, namely by encouraging athletics departments to consider a diverse set of candidates for coaching and administrative vacancies.
  • The Presidents Council approved a series of recommendations for championships enhancements and bracket expansions that were recently endorsed by the Division III Management Council. The changes will go into effect over the next two academic years.