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Division II adopts meals legislation, three membership-sponsored proposals

In all, delegates passed 17 of 19 proposals Saturday

Division II delegates gave a resounding vote Saturday in favor of allowing schools to provide student-athletes with unlimited meals and snacks as well as team entertainment incidental to their athletics participation. 

The two proposals – meals and entertainment – were voted on separately, but 92 percent of voters gave their approval each time.  The legislation will take effect Aug. 1. 

The topic of unlimited meals and snacks drew public attention in the last year when Division I passed legislation similar to the Division II proposal. Saturday’s legislation continues Division II’s efforts to deregulate its manual – reducing the burden of monitoring on athletics administrators – and ensures appropriate benefits for student-athletes. 

Division II Presidents Council and Management Council sponsored both proposals, often referring to them as “common sense.”  

Three membership-sponsored proposals approved

Three membership-sponsored proposals addressing playing and practice seasons also received majority votes at the business session:   

  • Beginning in June, strength and conditioning coaches will be permitted to design and conduct voluntary summer workouts for athletes competing in fall sports. Members passed similar legislation for football at last year’s Convention. “This will provide greater equity for fall sports,” said Judy Bense, president of the University of West Florida and incoming Presidents Council chair. About 72 percent of voters approved the change. 

  • In sports other than football, athletes will be allowed to participate in up to two hours of team practice activities a week outside the playing season during the academic year, after members passed the legislation 277-36. 

  • Starting immediately, schools can schedule the season-opening game for spring sports teams on the Friday before Feb. 1 when that date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday. Nearly 87 percent of votes were in favor. 

The third and final membership-sponsored proposal would have permitted two games in baseball, softball, soccer and women’s volleyball, if played as conference challenge events, to be exempted annually from the maximum number of contests. The proposal failed, 140-167-3. 

“This is contrary to the Division II philosophy of ‘life in the balance,’” said Steve Scott, president of Pittsburg State University and a member of the Presidents Council. “Allowing sports to exempt two contests will undo the great efforts made by Division II membership to ensure student-athletes and coaches have time for other pursuits.” 

More legislation passed 

More legislation that members passed Saturday will:  

  • Establish sand volleyball as national collegiate championship;

  • Eliminate limitations on publicity surrounding a prospective student-athlete’s signed commitment;

  • Change eligibility requirements for foreign tours;

  • Permit prospective student-athletes to participate in school fundraisers or promotional activities before college enrollment, as long as the student has graduated from high school and signed a written commitment;

  • Identify recruiting contact and evaluation violations as institutional infractions that would not affect a prospective student-athlete’s eligibility;

  • Establish new standards that schools must follow when denying a student-athlete’s transfer-related requests;

  • Modify current tryout legislation; 

  • Allow a coach who also works for a local sports club to engage in recruiting activities while receiving expenses from the school and/or sports club; 

  • Simplify current legislation related to student-athlete travel expenses by permitting a school, conference and the NCAA to cover necessary expenses for an athlete representing his or her school.