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Division II Management Council supports emergency health and safety legislation

Proposal would require medical exams for voluntary summer workout participation; group also discusses financial aid review and branding initiative

Karen Stromme, chair of the Division II Management Council and senior woman administrator at the University of Minnesota Duluth, discusses the councils' excitement for the new Division II brand campaign at the 2015 NCAA Convention.

The Division II Management Council kicked off its first meeting of the 2015 NCAA Convention with a recommendation for emergency legislation that, if passed by the Presidents Council on Thursday, will create a safer environment for Division II athletes participating in voluntary summer workouts. 

The Management Council unanimously voted to support the proposal, which would require all prospective student-athletes to undergo a medical exam or evaluation before taking part in voluntary summer workouts. Returning student-athletes would need a medical examination or medical history on file. If at least three-fourths of the Presidents Council approves the proposal at its meeting, the legislation would take effect immediately.

The Division II Legislation Committee made the recommendation in November to account for the division’s recent changes regarding voluntary summer workouts. Current legislation requires student-athletes to receive a medical exam or an updated medical history only before beginning required athletic-related activity. However, that legislation originated before last year, when Division II began allowing voluntary summer workouts conducted by strength and conditioning personnel for football players only. At Saturday’s business session, the membership will vote on similar legislation for athletes in all fall sports, which could make voluntary summer workouts more widespread across the division.

“We need to ensure that our student-athletes who are in the weight room or doing conditioning have clearance,” said Management Council Chair Karen Stromme. “That really is the overarching theme here.”

Financial Aid Review

A conversation about term-by-term and multi-year scholarships picked up steam among Management Council members Wednesday after the Legislation Committee renewed the conversation in November. Currently, Division II does not offer multi-year scholarships and permits financial aid to be awarded for one semester or quarter at a time. With ongoing changes in Division I, and Division II’s review of financial aid legislation underway, council members agreed the timing is right to review these fundamental financial aid issues.

The first step, Management Council members agreed, is to gather data on how Division II schools are distributing scholarships. For the first time, information will be collected from the NCAA Compliance Assistant software, a database that more than 90 percent of Division II schools use to track financial aid. (Schools had the opportunity to opt out of this data collection, which will be used for research purposes only. Individual students and schools will not be identified.) From there, the conversation on financial aid will continue when the Legislation Committee meets again in March.

“We recruit student-athletes who are making decisions between Division I and Division II schools, and while this is on the radar, we need to talk about it and make decisions,” Stromme said. “We want to hear what our institutions are thinking and bring this back to our membership. But before we know what questions to ask, we need to gather some data.”

Brand Enhancement Vote Friday

While Wednesday marked the start of an active week for Division II, one particularly anticipated vote will occur Friday morning at the Division II Issues Forum. Management Council members are among those encouraging all Division II members at Convention to attend the meeting at 8:30 a.m. to cast their vote on the next Division II brand slogan. Members will have the opportunity to weigh in on two potential monikers, with the winner replacing “I Chose Division II.” 

The membership vote will be the culmination of a yearlong effort led by Blacktop Creative, a Kansas City marketing firm tasked with developing a new rallying cry for Division II. The full rollout of the new brand campaign, including new colors, photography and other aspects of design, will occur in the spring.