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Division I Council extends waiver allowing virtual, nonphysical activities through July

Members also approve transfer guidelines

Division I student-athletes in sports other than football and basketball may continue to participate in eight hours of required, virtual nonphysical activities per week.

The Division I Council extended a waiver allowing the virtual nonphysical activities through July. One day off per week continues to be required. The extension provides the opportunity for student-athletes who can’t return to campus to have connection to their teammates, coaches and sport.

The Council discussed a temporary waiver that would allow student-athletes in fall sports other than football to participate in required in-person athletics activities beginning July 15 but deferred a final decision on the concept until a later meeting.

Name, image and likeness

The Council heard an update on the work of the Division I Name, Image and Likeness Legislative Solutions Group. The group is working to refine proposals for membership consideration in the 2020-21 legislative cycle.

Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee vice chair Caroline Lee, a former Southeastern Louisiana soccer athlete, addressed the Council to clarify the student-athlete position on name, image and likeness.

The publicly stated SAAC position, released last fall, was before the development of legislative concepts and was intended to underscore the importance of the student-athlete voice in the conversation, not an official position on concepts developed after the statement was made, Lee said.

“Since the drafting of the statement, Division I SAAC has been highly involved in each conversation at the Division I level as concepts were being developed and remain a key stakeholder in the process. Our voice is being heard,” she said. She underscored the group’s beliefs that reform of name, image and likeness rules is possible and necessary and that appropriate attention is being paid to issues like recruiting, monitoring, ethics, gender equity and exploitation.

“We encourage the Division I membership to continue to work with us as a model is developed to benefit the ‘100%,’” she said.

The Division I Legislative Solutions Group; which includes Nick Clark, former football student-athlete at Coastal Carolina, and Jaila Tolbert, former volleyball student-athlete at Virginia Tech; will present some concepts to the Council in July, with the goal of seeking membership feedback throughout the summer and fall. The deadline for Council-sponsored name, image and likeness proposals is November 1.

Transfer guidelines

The Council, which met virtually Wednesday, adjusted guidelines that direct staff who initially consider requests to waive rules that govern eligibility after transfer. The group approved a new guideline specifically tailored for cases of transfer due to a student-athlete’s mental health. Prior to this change, such cases had fallen under the guideline for student-athlete illness or injury, which had limitations.

The guideline was developed using takeaways and guidance developed during the Academic and Membership Affairs and NCAA Sport Science Institute’s Mental Health Waiver Think Tank.

The Council also approved the use of a standardized form for cases in which a student transferred because they didn’t have the chance to participate at the previous school.

The Council also approved some changes to the waiver process:

  • In the case of reconsiderations, any new information submitted after a decision has been reached must be germane to the original assertions put forward in the transfer waiver request.
  • A student must have ‘standing’ (be enrolled, begin practicing with the team) at their new school before a waiver request can be processed. This minimizes the use of the waiver process in recruiting.
  • Information may be shared between the academic and membership affairs and enforcement staffs to clarify the waiver request.

COVID-19 waivers

The Council members addressed several waiver requests related to the COVID-19 epidemic, including:

  • For this year, Division I multi-sport conferences are not required to meet legislated requirements specific to minimum regular season conference competitions.
  • For this year, Division I conferences are not required to meet the legislated requirements in order to be eligible for automatic qualification to a division championship.