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DIII Presidents Council opposes acclimatization proposal, supports football amendment

The group also approved joint championships in men’s and women’s basketball

The Division III Presidents Council echoed the Division III Management Council’s positions on a pair of key pieces of legislation, both pertinent to the preseason.

At a meeting this week at Rollins in Winter Park, Florida, the Presidents Council opposed a proposal from the City University of New York Athletic Conference and New Jersey Athletic Conference that, if adopted, would add three additional days for acclimatization to the preseason practice period in soccer and field hockey, among other modifications to current rules. The proposal’s sponsors contend there is not enough preseason practice time in both sports to adequately prepare student-athletes for competition.

Echoing the Management Council’s recommendation, the Presidents Council opposed the proposal because no data exist regarding whether such a change would benefit the health and safety of student-athletes, according to the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, and extending the preseason could encumber student-athletes who have summer jobs or internships. Division III members will vote on the proposal at the 2019 NCAA Convention.

“We just didn’t see the data to support the proposal at this point,” said Presidents Council chair Jeff Docking, president at Adrian. “And it certainly would be more expensive for some small private colleges to bring students in earlier. I think we were just looking for some additional justifications before we could support this.”

The Presidents Council also endorsed an amendment to a Convention proposal that would allow the first permissible practice date in football to occur 23 days before a school’s first regular-season contest. The amendment applies to teams whose first game falls on the first Thursday of the regular season. Their first practice would be permitted to take place 23 days before the Friday of that game week.

Independent members on NCAA Board of Governors

The Presidents Council expressed general support for adding five independent members to the NCAA Board of Governors, which will be subject to an Association-wide vote at a special business session at the 2019 Convention. Several members did, however, express a desire for more transparency regarding what parameters will be used when evaluating and selecting these independent members, and how they will be integrated into and educated on current practices and procedures within the NCAA governance structure. More information regarding the selection process will be made available to NCAA members in advance of the vote via regular communications from Division III staff.

“It’s important for the members to know this is still a work in progress,” Docking said. “Certainly, the staff at the NCAA knows that we need to continue to tweak how these members are chosen in order to promote diversity: cultural diversity, gender diversity, economic diversity, even geographic diversity. We need people from different fields. All of that will be coming together over the next several months. It’s an important message to the membership that we continue to seek input around this entire initiative.”

Basketball joint championships to move forward

The Presidents Council approved a recommendation from the Management Council that men’s and women’s basketball each hold one joint championship with their counterparts in Divisions I and II by 2024. Each event will cost an additional estimated $250,000, and the Division III Strategic Planning and Finance Committee will now determine how to allocate funds to account for those costs. Presidents Council members felt the opportunity to give Division III student-athletes a more robust championship experience — and to promote the division — was worth the additional investment. The joint events will take place two weeks after the semifinals, not three, as was the case in recent past joint basketball championships.

New Presidents Council members appointed

The Presidents Council selected a chair and vice chair for 2019 and appointed several new members, who will begin terms in 2019 pending approval by the Division’s presidents:

  • Sue Henderson, New Jersey City president and current Presidents Council vice chair, will serve as chair beginning in January 2019.
  • Tori Murden McClure, Spalding president, will serve as vice chair.
  • Ozarks (Arkansas) President Richard Dunsworth, Hendrix President Bill Tsutsui, and North Central (Illinois) President Troy Hammond will begin terms on the Presidents Council in January 2019. In July, Mary Washington President Troy Paino will replace Texas Lutheran President Stuart Dorsey, who is retiring at the end of the academic year.