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DIII Management Council opposes amendment to recruiting legislation

The council voted against a suggestion from membership that would alter legislation pertinent to contacting recruits at athletic competitions

Terry Rupert, chair of the Division III Management Council and athletics director at Wilmington College, discusses the councils' thoughts on contact during multiple day events and sand volleyball at the 2015 NCAA Convention.

Despite some debate, the Division III Management Council agreed with the Division III Recruiting Working Group regarding a proposal to allow coaches to contact recruits on any day at multi-day athletic competitions. The original proposal would allow coaches to speak with potential student-athletes at any time during the competition as long as they or their coaches consent.  

An amendment brought forward by the Landmark Conference and the University Athletic Association would limit coaches’ ability to contact athletes until after they have finished competition on a given day. The current rule bars coaches from contacting recruits until the end of the final day of competition at a camp, so both the proposal and amendment are more permissive than the current regulation.

At its fall meeting, the Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee voted to oppose the original proposal and favor the amendment because it felt contact with coaches prior to competition would be too distracting and place too much pressure on athletes preparing to compete.

The Management Council weighed the committee’s opinion at its meeting Wednesday at the 2015 NCAA Convention, ultimately deciding that the proposal could be beneficial for both coaches and athletes. It would ease the burden placed on coaches by giving them the freedom to speak with a bevy of recruits at several sites over a few days rather than lingering at one site and waiting for competition to conclude. Additionally, council members noted the proposal doesn’t allow coaches to speak with recruits without their consent or the consent of their coaches. So even if the more permissive rule is implemented, the athletes still have control over when they speak with college coaches.

“I think the Management Council took the opinion supporting [the proposal] over [the amendment] because it allowed more flexibility for both prospective student-athletes and the coaches out there recruiting,” said Terry Rupert, Division III Management Council chair and director of athletics at Wilmington College. “It allows coaches to have more contact with more kids. It will allow kids who are involved in these showcases to have more contact with prospective schools.”

Other actions:

  • A pair of proposals are set to hit the floor at Saturday’s Division III business session that would add sand volleyball as a Division III sport and create a national collegiate championship for the sport. The Management Council has already voted in support of the proposals, but on Wednesday discussed the Division III Championships Committee’s recommendation that, if the proposals pass, the sport be renamed “beach volleyball.” Despite the committee’s recommendation, and the fact that the American Volleyball Coaches Association and USA Volleyball use “beach volleyball,” the Management Council voiced opposition to renaming the sport and expressed concerns about the connotations that could accompany the name.
  • The Management Council on Wednesday approved the first significant changes to the Division III financial aid reporting program since its inception in 2005. The program was initially put in place to ensure schools were awarding financial aid fairly and not based on athletic ability. The changes approved by Management Council are intended to make the review process more effective and ensure that it isn’t a burden for financial aid personnel on campuses that are routinely subject to review, but are also routinely found to be in compliance with financial aid policies.
  • To accomplish those improvements, the council recommends altering the system used to determine which schools are reviewed, replacing the current “4 percent variance” with an annual sport-specific review. The Division III Financial Aid Committee will now be tasked with formulating ways to educate athletics administrators and financial aid directors about the changes over the coming months.
  • This was the final Management Council meeting for the following members, who have finished their terms: Marjorie Hass, Austin College president; Kurt Beron, University of Texas at Dallas faculty athletics representative; Jan Hathorn, Washington and Lee athletics director; Nancy Meyer, Calvin College athletics director; Charles Harris, Averett University executive vice president; and Audrey Hester, SAAC representative and Randolph-Macon College graduate.  It was also the final meeting for Terry Rupert as chair. While he will return to the council for another year of service, Lori Runkmeier, athletics director at New England College, will become the new chair at the conclusion of this year’s convention.