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Division II Presidents Council approves festival working group

Removal of softball from 2020 festival, ground travel reimbursements also OK’d

Daemen President Gary Olson will become the Division II Presidents Council chair after the Convention. NCAA Photos

A Division II membership working group will be appointed to evaluate and recommend enhancements to the Division II national championships festivals, the Division II Presidents Council decided Thursday. 

The working group will be charged with ensuring the festivals continue to provide exceptional championships experiences for student-athletes, considering aspects such as timing of the festivals, sports that are included, the impact on playing and practices seasons, and other logistics. The Division II Championships Committee recommended the formation of a working group to lead the review and provide recommendations back to the committee in June. On Wednesday, the Management Council voted in support of the idea before the Presidents Council made it official at its meeting Thursday at the NCAA Convention in Orlando, Florida. 

Any recommendations from the working group will apply to festivals in 2022 and beyond, not for those already scheduled in 2020 and 2021.

The festivals, which bring together multiple championships in one location, have been an experience unique to Division II since the first festival was held in 2004. Since then, the division has conducted 11 festivals – four for fall sports, three for winter and four for spring. The most recent festival took place in Pittsburgh in late November and featured men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball.

In addition to establishing a working group, the Presidents Council also approved the removal of softball from the 2020 Division II National Championships Festival. This is a one-time change requested by the Championships Committee and the Division II Softball Committee because of the timing of the festival and scheduling challenges it presents. The committees expressed concern that participating in the festival would require softball teams to squeeze in the same number of games into a schedule that is eight days shorter than most years, which would potentially result in more midweek doubleheaders and more missed class time.

With the change, the 2020 festival, which will be held in St. Louis, will consist of championships for Division II men’s and women’s golf, women’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s tennis. The softball committee will begin seeking bids for hosting the softball championship.

Local ground transportation reimbursement for championships

The Presidents Council approved a reimbursement to Division II schools for their local ground transportation costs at team and individual championships in 2017-18. This is the fourth straight year the division has issued this reimbursement, which will be determined as follows:

  • Team sports: $1,100 per day multiplied by the number of per diem days for each team.
  • Individual sports: $25 per day multiplied by the number of eligible travelers, times the number of per diem days.

The Presidents Council also approved allocations recommended for the $1.9 million Division II budget surplus, which include a $3,000 per institution supplemental distribution. Both distributions to Division II schools will be made next month.

Leadership changes

Sandra Jordan, chancellor of South Carolina Aiken, was elected vice chair of the Presidents Council. Jordan will replace Daemen President Gary Olson, who will become chair after the Convention. Glen Jones, Henderson State president, was recognized among the group for his work as chair over the last two years. “The words I would leave you with are very simple,” Jones told the group. “Just keep the focus on the students.”