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Division II Presidents Council supports Association-wide proposals

Council also sponsors four proposals for 2019 Convention

The Division II Presidents Council this week agreed to support two Association-wide legislative proposals from the NCAA Board of Governors that are intended to increase accountability and promote fairness in college athletics. The pair of proposals encompassing all three divisions address recommendations issued in April by the Commission on College Basketball, which was tasked with examining issues in college basketball and recommending solutions.

First, the Division II Presidents Council voted to adopt as noncontroversial legislation a change that will hold presidents and chancellors more accountable for the integrity of their athletics programs each year. The new legislation will require the school president or chancellor to join all athletics staff members in personally affirming the athletics program meets the membership obligations for institutional control and rules compliance. The leaders also must confirm that when NCAA rules are broken, their school will cooperate fully with the NCAA and take appropriate corrective actions.

The certification of compliance will be required for a school to be eligible for individual and team NCAA championships. Any school that does not certify compliance by Sept. 15 each year will be subject to removal from or found ineligible to serve on an NCAA board, council or committee.

The legislation must be ratified with other noncontroversial legislation at the Division II business session at the 2019 Convention in January. Schools will then be required to comply with the new rule beginning in the 2019-20 academic year.

“The whole premise here is to make certain our presidents are not sticking their heads in the sand,” said Glen Jones, president of Henderson State and chair of the Presidents Council. Council members overwhelmingly agreed on the importance of college and university leaders having greater involvement in and knowledge of their institution’s athletics programs.

The Presidents Council also voiced support for a second proposal sponsored by the Board of Governors, which would add five independent members to the NCAA’s top governing body, increasing the board’s size from 20 members to 25. The independent members would not have direct ties to NCAA schools — a recommendation from the commission intended to bring new perspectives and greater transparency to the decision-making group. 

Because altering the Board’s composition would require a change to the NCAA constitution, the proposal will go to an Association-wide vote at a special business session among all three divisions at the Convention in January. It will require a two-thirds majority vote to pass. If adopted, the change would be effective Aug. 1, 2019.

Under the proposed legislation, the Board of Governors’ Executive Committee would serve as the nominating committee and vet candidates for final approval by the Board of Governors to fill the new positions, and one independent member would be selected to be a part of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee includes representation from all three divisions; currently, the Division II seats are filled by Jones, as vice chair of the Board of Governors, and Division II Presidents Council Vice Chair and Daemen College President Gary Olson.

When considering the proposal, Presidents Council members discussed the Association’s shared responsibility to see the commission’s recommendations through. “We’ve got to do something,” said M. Roy Wilson, president at Wayne State. “And I think the sooner everybody gets on board, the better.”

Other Convention legislation

Also at its Aug. 7-8 meeting, the Presidents Council sponsored four proposals for the 2019 Convention:

  • A proposal to require schools to complete a student-athlete health and safety survey on an annual basis. This was developed by the Division II Injury Surveillance Program Task Force to improve Division II’s ability to make data-driven decisions around health and safety issues.
  • A proposal that would provide greater opportunity for international students who participated in organized competition while on active duty in their country’s military. Under the proposed legislation, the student-athletes would not be charged a season of competition for their athletic participation while serving. Participation in the United States and Canadian armed services already is exempt in the legislation.
  • A proposal to replace the annual coaches certification test with required completion of modules in the new online coaches education program, Division II University.
  • A proposal to clarify pre-enrollment academic misconduct activities for prospective student-athletes.

The council voted to table a transfer concept that mirrors legislation recently passed in Division I, and which was recommended by the Division II Management Council last month. The concept would replace the Division II permission-to-contact legislation for four-year student-athletes with a notification-of-transfer model. Under the concept, when a student-athlete requests to transfer, schools would be required to submit the request in a national portal, opening the door for coaches to contact the student. After a student-athlete requests a transfer, their current school would be able to reduce or cancel athletics aid for the following term or academic year.

Council members expressed concerns about the impact the legislation might have on the frequency of transfers in Division II and requested more data to review at a future meeting. The topic will not advance to a vote at the 2019 Convention.

Council appointments

The council voted to extend Olson’s term as the vice chair through the conclusion of the business session at the 2019 NCAA Convention. It also ratified the appointments of Chris Graham, commissioner of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, as vice chair of the Management Council, and Steven Winter, faculty athletics representative at Sonoma State, as the new Management Council representative from the California Collegiate Athletic Association.