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DIII Management Council proposes loosening rules on meals, snacks

The group wants to give schools more freedom regarding food they can provide to student-athletes

Rules related to what meals and snacks Division III schools can provide to student-athletes may soon grow more permissive.

At a meeting this week in Indianapolis, the Division III Management Council recommended a pair of proposals — one for a vote on the Convention floor and the other to be grouped with other noncontroversial legislation — that would offer more flexibility regarding when meals and snacks can be offered in hopes of better meeting student-athletes’ nutritional needs. Both proposals were derived from a single recommendation from the Division III Interpretations and Legislation Committee. The Management Council refined the concepts of the committee’s proposal as it formulated these recommendations.  

The first proposal would allow schools to provide snacks incidental to athletics participation —not including nutritional supplements — to student-athletes at any point during the academic year. Council members debated whether only students who are in season should be eligible to receive snacks, but felt ensuring compliance with such a restriction would prove too onerous. If the legislation is adopted, schools would not be required to provide snacks, only permitted to do so.

The Division III Presidents Council will review the proposal when it convenes next month, and Division III members will have an opportunity to vote on the measure at January’s NCAA Convention.

“We wanted to provide our student-athletes with snacks throughout the course of the academic year,” said Shantey Hill, Management Council chair and St. Joseph’s (Long Island) senior director of athletics. “We did want to be permissive for our student-athletes because we recognize that it’s important for them.”

The second proposal will not follow the same legislative path. The Management Council’s recommendation that schools may provide meals missed due to participation in practice will be included with the noncontroversial legislation that is voted on as a group during the Division III Business Session. (Unless members opt to pull it out of the general grouping and vote on the proposal individually.)

Meals already can be provided in conjunction with home competition. This proposal expands that allowance to meals missed due to practice. Support was strong enough among Management Council members that the group felt it didn’t warrant inclusion with other major legislative proposals.  

“It’s the right thing to do,” Hill said. “This is permissive; it’s not required. It’s allowing you to be able to do it, and not saying that you actually have to do it.”

Joint meeting with SAAC

Management Council members also held a joint meeting with the Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. At the gathering, SAAC members articulated their priorities for the upcoming academic year, including efforts to improve communication between the national SAAC and campus and conference SAACs. The groups also discussed at length how to best implement the new SAAC associate member model, which was approved by Division III delegates at the 2018 Convention. Associate members will represent conferences that do not have a representative on the Division III SAAC. They will participate in two in-person SAAC meetings per year and will serve as conduits for student-athlete feedback and information from conferences that aren’t represented on the committee. The SAAC structural change is effective next month.

Alcohol sales at joint championships

The Management Council endorsed a recommendation from the Division III Championships Committee that would permit alcohol sales at joint championships that include Division I only when each division’s event takes place in the same venue, not merely in the same city. Division III does not permit alcohol sales at its standalone championships, but Division I recently passed a policy that allows beer and wine sales at its championships if the host facility is able to meet certain requirements. Even if the new policy is approved by the Presidents Council, Management Council members noted that alcohol sales at future joint championships should be brought to the attention of relevant committees on a case-by-case basis.

New leadership appointed

Management Council members selected Stevie Baker-Watson, DePauw director of athletics and recreational sports, as the group’s next chair. Heather Benning, executive director of the Midwest Conference, will become the Management Council’s next vice chair. They will assume their new roles after January’s Division III Business Session concludes.