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Division II Management Council takes positions on membership-sponsored proposals

Council supports rules change regarding timing of football, basketball camps

The Division II Management Council this week weighed in on four legislative proposals that were sponsored by Division II members for a vote at the 2019 NCAA Convention in January.

In establishing formal positions on the proposals at its Oct. 15-16 meeting in Indianapolis, the council voted in support of a proposal that would increase flexibility for schools around the timing of football and basketball camps and clinics. Currently in Division II, camps and clinics for football and basketball can only be held over summer vacation. Since the same restrictions do not apply for other sports, the Management Council agreed that removing the restrictions for football and basketball would promote equity across all sports.

The proposal, sponsored by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and the East Coast Conference, also would prohibit all Division II student-athletes from working camps and clinics over the seven-day legislated winter break. This addition is intended to ensure athletes have time away from campus during this winter period.

Coaches in all sports would be permitted to hold youth camps and clinics over the winter break, a time when kids don’t have many other activities going on. “This is more permissive legislation that allows all sports to meet youth at a time when they are most available,” said Pennie Parker, Rollins athletics director and Management Council chair. “This might be an opportunity for more youth to participate in the sport.”

The proposed change also would provide a more equitable opportunity for universities on the quarter system, whose summer vacations may begin and end later than universities on the semester system and may not align with high school summer vacations. These differences currently may impact the number of camps and clinics quarter-system schools can be involved in.

The Division II Championships Committee, the Division II Football Committee and the Division II Men’s and Women’s Basketball Committees all supported the proposal, while the Division II Legislation Committee took no position.

The Management Council opposed two membership-sponsored proposals related to playing and practice seasons, citing concerns about student-athlete time demands.

The first proposal, sponsored by the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, would increase the permissible time allotment for team activities outside the playing season for all sports but football from two hours to four hours a week. The sponsors emphasized that while the time limit for team activities would increase under their proposal, the overall permissible time — eight hours — for countable athletically related activities per week during the offseason would remain the same.

The council expressed concern that this proposal would increase practice time, which would consume hours that might otherwise have been used on strength and conditioning activities. Council members believed this could result in student-athletes feeling pressure to engage in these activities outside of the permissible eight-hour allotment. 

The other proposal the council opposed would amend the spring football practice period to permit 15 practice sessions within a period of 36 consecutive days, up from the current 29-day window. The two sponsors, the Great Lakes Valley Conference and Great Midwest Athletic Conference, stated that the extension of the spring practice period would enable schools to hold fewer practices per week, allowing for more recovery time for student-athletes, and provide greater flexibility for necessary scheduling adjustments. The council, however, did not support a longer spring practice period out of concern that it would increase time demands on football players and adversely impact their academics.

Finally, the council took no position on a fourth proposal that would allow schools’ medical staff to treat their student-athletes who are competing unattached from the school at a competition site. The proposal was sponsored by the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The sponsors believe that student-athletes competing independent of their schools should be allowed to receive medical attention from athletic trainers and other staff who have knowledge of their body and past injuries. The council noted each institution should review its internal policies and procedures and insurance coverage, and consult with legal counsel as needed, in deciding how to provide medical services to student-athletes competing unattached should the proposal be adopted.

The Presidents Council will take its position on the four membership-sponsored proposals during its meeting next week.