You are here

DIII Management Council endorses proposals

Legislation pertains to health and safety, contest exemptions

A trio of key proposals, endorsed this week by the Division III Management Council, appear to be bound for a membership vote at the 2017 NCAA Convention.  

At its meeting this week in Indianapolis, the Management Council endorsed recommendations pertinent to student-athlete health and safety, the membership process and contest exemptions.

The Management Council endorsed a recommendation from the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports that Division III adopt legislation that provides unchallengeable autonomous authority to primary athletics health care providers (often team physicians and athletic trainers) regarding medical management and return-to-play decisions.

The recommendation also calls for institutions to designate an athletics health care administrator to provide oversight for health care administration and delivery. This administrator does not need to be a new hire. These administrative duties can be passed on to any current staff member, who would be tasked with ensuring campuses are adhering to established best practices and protocols for medical care. Given that, the financial impact is expected to be minimal.

The five autonomy conferences in Division I adopted similar legislation last year and the Division II Management Council approved an identical proposal this week.

“Unchallengeable autonomous authority regarding medical management and return-to-play decisions is already happening on our campuses,” said Tracey Ranieri, Management Council chair and athletics director at the State University of New York at Oneonta. “This legislation clarifies a best practice in supporting student-athlete safety and well-being, a priority for the membership. I think it is also helpful that the membership understand this does not have to affect the budget. Staff is already in place to assist with this role.” 

The Management Council also proposed legislation that would standardize contest exemptions across all sports. The proposal would continue to permit contest exemptions for conference tournaments and end-of-season tournaments and would establish, for all sports, two exemptions for discretionary scrimmages, exhibitions or joint practices. All other existing annual exemptions would be eliminated. The recommendation permits alumni contests during nontraditional segments – the only exemption permitted during that time – though alumni games would be counted as one of the two exemptions. All sports other than wrestling could hold these exempted scrimmages, exhibitions or joint practices before the first permissible contest date.

“The membership has had questions around all sports related to exemptions,” Ranieri said. “This legislation makes exemptions very clear and provided a balanced approach across all sports.”

Lastly, the Management Council endorsed a recommendation from the Division III Membership Committee that would cap the number of institutions annually admitted to the Division III provisional and reclassifying process at four and would permit no more than 12 institutions to participate in the process at any one time. These limits, the Membership Committee noted, would improve the attention and service it could provide to each institution as it progresses through the membership process.

The Division III Presidents Council will have an opportunity to review each of the recommendations when it convenes in early August.

Other actions:

  • The Management Council’s Playing and Practice Seasons Subcommittee will collaborate with the Division III Baseball Committee to survey baseball coaches in order to gauge interest and measure the potential impact of an optional two-period model for baseball, which would permit schools to play regular-season games in both the fall and the spring. Many Division III colleges and universities are forced to play a majority of their baseball games in a small window because, in some areas, winter weather is often too harsh at the beginning of the season. Because of the condensed schedule’s demands, student-athletes competing in baseball have indicated they miss more class and are away from campus more than student-athletes in other sports. For several months, the subcommittee has explored ways to alleviate that burden without placing an undue strain on athletics facilities or personnel in the fall. 

    The subcommittee will share any additional information and insight with the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference, which has brought forward a legislative proposal to permit an optional period of competition in the fall for both baseball and softball.
  • The Management Council elected new leaders, who will begin their terms in January. Brit Katz, vice president and dean of students at Millsaps College, was elected chair. Shantey Hill, assistant vice president and senior director of athletics and recreation at St. Joseph’s College (Long Island), will serve as vice chair.