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DIII council supports revised transfer proposal

Presidents Council also sponsors three other legislative proposals

The Division III Presidents Council has formally voiced its support for four significant pieces of legislation, which will be subject to a membership vote at the 2018 NCAA Convention.

Among the proposals the Presidents Council voted to sponsor at a meeting this week in Indianapolis was a recommendation from the Division III Management Council that would permit students who graduate from a Division III college or university and are enrolled in a graduate or second baccalaureate degree program to compete at a Division III school of their choice. They must have athletics eligibility remaining and must participate within the pre-existing 10-semester/15-quarter limit. (These do not have to be continuous.)

Last year, the Presidents Council opposed a similar proposal — albeit one that would have also permitted graduate transfers from Divisions I and II — that was subsequently defeated at the 2017 Convention. Though the Presidents Council lent its support to this year’s proposal, dissenting voices in the group noted they felt the legislation does not reflect Division III’s philosophy, which stresses that college athletics should primarily focus on a four-year undergraduate experience.

“We decided to move forward because we felt like we want to err on the side of giving Division III student-athletes the opportunity for four years of participation,” said Jeff Docking, Presidents Council chair and president of Adrian. “Essentially, the presidents have said, ‘This is a good middle ground.’ We’re looking for an area that may not be perfect for everybody, but is good enough that young people continue to be able to compete.”

The Presidents Council also sponsored:

  • A proposal that would amend rules pertinent to the football preseason in the wake of the recent elimination of traditional, two-a-day contact practices. If adopted, the first permissible football practice date would fall 25 days before the first permissible Saturday contest date (regardless of an institution’s actual first contest date). The proposal also calls for a day off to be offered during the first six days of preseason, which includes the five-day acclimatization period, and a day off during each remaining week of the preseason practice period. On-field activity (including practice and walk-through sessions) would be limited to four hours per day, though schools would have flexibility to determine how that time is allotted. Schools would, however, be capped at three hours of on-field practice per day, but could choose to conduct a longer walk-through in lieu of a three-hour practice. Footballs would be permitted during walk-though sessions after the five-day acclimatization period.
  • A proposal that would eliminate the legislated penalty for sports wagering for student-athletes. The change would permit the Division III Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee to conduct a case-by-case evaluation of such violations and would provide student-athletes the opportunity to appeal the committee’s decision, which is consistent with all other reinstatement requests.
  • A proposal that would streamline rules pertinent to academic misconduct and recognize academic misconduct and impermissible academic assistance as violations separate from rules pertaining to extra benefits or unethical conduct. The proposal mirrors legislation first adopted by Division I in April 2016 and subsequently by Division II at the 2017 NCAA Convention.

Other actions:

  • The Presidents Council approved the division’s biennial budget and strategic plan. The budget reflects the division’s continued commitment to devote 75 percent of expenses to championships and 25 percent to ongoing nonchampionships initiatives. The nonchampionships initiatives include the strategic initiatives conference grant program; diversity grants and internships for women and minorities; in-person orientations for new commissioners and athletics directors; the Faculty Athletics Representative and Athletics Direct Report Institutes; and funding to support the division’s four current working groups, among other endeavors.
  • The Division III Presidents/Chancellors Advisory Group convened with Presidents Council members, offering guidance and input in advance of the Presidents Council’s vote on legislation. In addition to legislative matters, the group discussed the NCAA Board of Governors’ proposed method of making major decisions relevant to social issues, and the Board’s ongoing work to help prevent sexual violence on campuses.