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DIII Presidents Council readies for business session

Social activism, graduation rate reporting discussed

The Division III Presidents Council spent Thursday preparing for the Division III Business Session and discussing a handful of issues — including graduation rate reporting and social activism on campus — that could generate further interest and action in the coming year.

The Presidents Council, in a gathering with other Division III presidents Thursday afternoon, discussed the merits and potential hurdles of mandatory student-athlete graduation rate reporting by Division III institutions.

At its Thursday meeting at the 2018 NCAA Convention in Indianapolis, the Presidents Council approved recommendations from the Management Council to amend the format of the men’s and women’s tennis championships and fund a one-year pilot program in ice hockey that would shift the burden of evaluating eligibility for first-year international students from schools to the NCAA Eligibility Center.

Speaking with students

The Presidents Council convened with the Division III Management Council and the Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for a joint breakfast Thursday. The groups discussed how best to involve student-athletes in conversations regarding social activism on campus and how to help Division III student-athletes strengthen relationships with faculty. SAAC also reiterated its support for an amendment to a 2018 legislative proposal related to the committee’s structure, which would add partner conference SAAC liaisons while not increasing the committee’s size.

“I don’t think there’s anything more valuable that we do at the NCAA Convention than hear from SAAC,” said Jeff Docking, Presidents Council chair and Adrian president. “A forum where students can come together and say, ‘These are the issues that are important to us; this is what we want you to know about our experience’ — it’s very important to all of us.”

Graduation rate reporting

The Presidents Council, in a gathering with other Division III presidents Thursday afternoon, discussed the merits and potential hurdles of mandatory student-athlete graduation rate reporting by Division III institutions. The data could serve as a vital tool for creating evidence-based policies, but could present an administrative burden for member schools. This spring, the Presidents Council and Management Council likely will have a chance to review a proposal on the concept from the Division III Diversity and Inclusion Working Group. The presidents also discussed the viability and potential pitfalls of permitting alcohol sales at Division III championship events.

Final meeting for three members

Thursday’s meeting marked the last for a trio of Presidents Council members: Alan Cureton, Northwestern-St. Paul president, former Presidents Council chair and outgoing vice chair; Thomas Foley, Mount Aloysius president; and Zorica Pantic, Wentworth president.

Kathleen Murray, president of Whitman, served in her first Presidents Council meeting.