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DIII Presidents Council takes action on name, image and likeness proposals

Season-of-participation waiver also ratified

The Division III Presidents Council  this week voted to sponsor two legislative concepts on student-athletes’ use of their name, image and likeness.

During its meeting by videoconference Wednesday, the council also canceled the division’s seven fall championships this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It decided not to reschedule those championships for the spring semester.

The name, image and likeness concepts were recommended by the Division III Name, Image and Likeness Oversight Working Group and endorsed by the Division III Management Council.

The first concept would allow student-athletes to use their status as athletes to promote their own work product or service. The second concept would allow student-athletes to use their status as athletes to endorse third-party products or services, provided there is no institutional involvement in procuring promotional opportunities for student-athletes (except to the extent the school is involved with assisting students generally). Both concepts were developed by the Interpretations and Legislation Committee and endorsed by the division’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

In April, the Board of Governors supported rule changes in each division to allow student-athletes to receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics. It also supported compensation for other student-athlete opportunities, such as social media, businesses they have started and personal appearances, within the guiding principles originally outlined by the board in October. The goal is to have new name, image and likeness legislation adopted by each division at the 2021 NCAA Convention and then implemented for the 2021-22 academic year.

Season-of-Participation Waiver

The Presidents Council ratified the proactive waiver permitting Division III student-athletes to receive a season-of-participation waiver if their teams complete 50% or less of the sport’s maximum contests/dates of competition during the 2020-21 season due to the impact of COVID-19.

The waiver was first approved by the Administrative Committee and initially recommended by the Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee. It is intended to provide schools and student-athletes appropriate flexibility, given the uncertainty surrounding the 2020-21 academic year. The proactive blanket waiver allows student-athletes to make informed enrollment decisions before the academic year. 

“Though there was a desire from many member conferences that this proactive waiver should exempt postseason conference tournaments and NCAA championships from that 50% standard, we ultimately found the waiver did not need expanding,” said Tori Murden McClure, chair of the Presidents Council and president of Spalding. “The waiver aligns with the Division III philosophy and provides a safe harbor for student-athletes whose seasons are shortened due to the impact of COVID-19. This waiver will ensure they are not charged a season of participation if their institution is unable to provide a significant competitive experience.”

Budget Cuts, Mandated Reserve Policy

The Presidents Council approved championship and nonchampionship budget cuts of nearly $2 million annually to offset budget shortfalls due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cuts are necessary in light of this year’s budget shortfall of about $9 million. The council endorsed the recommended cuts through 2023-24. The council also approved a recommended change to the mandated reserve policy starting in 2024-25. Instead of a percentage of the annual revenue, the mandated reserve will target a flat amount of $15 million plus a $5 million financial insurance policy.