By Brian Burnsed
The Division III Management Council convened on Wednesday to discuss a handful of significant issues the division will need to tackle in the future and, for one final time, to weigh in on the 10 pieces of legislation that will be up for vote on Saturday.
After an update on Division III’s budget from NCAA staff, council members dove into a discussion regarding the need for more prudent spending in the future. Current expenditures, coupled with increasing economic constraints, are poised to create deficits in the years ahead. For instance, championships spending during the 2012-13 academic year, as a whole, exceeded its budget by more than $988,000. Nineteen sports exceeded their allotments, largely due to increasing travel costs.
Championships weren’t the only culprit. The budget for miscellaneous Division III initiatives was exceeded by more than $126,000 in 2012-13. Several on the council stressed that members, institutions and committees alike will have no choice but to take a budget-first approach when making major decisions in the future. They implied that all of the division’s championships and initiatives should be closely examined in hopes of making them more fiscally efficient.
“The reality on the budget has set in,” said Terry Rupert, Division III Management Council chair and director of athletics at Wilmington College. “As we project it out, we know we’re going to have budget deficits, and somewhere we’re going to have to make cuts. And I think the council is very aware of that and wants to do it right, and wants to make changes reflective of the membership’s priorities.”
While there were no lengthy discussions regarding much of this weekend’s proposed legislation – much of that discourse took place in summer and fall – the legislation calling for football helmets to be allowed during offseason limited skill instructional periods again sparked some debate (though the council voted to support the legislation in the fall). A few council members noted that conversations among constituents from their respective conferences were divided.
Finally, the council said goodbye to several members. Its two SAAC representatives – Dalaine Whitlock, who played soccer at Concordia, Texas and Steve Berardi, a pitcher at Ursinus – took part in their final meeting. Tim Downes, athletics director at Emory; Stan Ching, faculty athletics representative at Connecticut College; and Portia Hoeg, council vice chair and director of athletics at Allegheny, also finished their terms.
“Stan, Tim and Portia, all three of them, have been excellent council members,” Rupert said. “It’s been an honor and privilege to work with them.”
SAAC Members Depart
In their final act as council members, Whitlock and Berardi briefed the council on SAAC’s Wednesday meeting. SAAC voted to support nine of the 10 pieces of legislation, but were divided on the football helmet proposal and ultimately decided not to take a position. Whitlock and Berardi will be replaced on the council by Audrey Hester, who plays lacrosse at Randolph-Macon, and Medaille soccer student-athlete Jaime Salcedo.