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Division III members vote against football proposal, adopt dues increase

Proposal would have permitted contact in football's spring segment

Division III delegates approved several proposals at Saturday’s business session, including one that will raise membership dues effective in September 2017.

For the second year in a row, Division III members were asked to decide if contact should be permitted during football’s spring segment. And for the second year in a row, they decided it shouldn’t.

After more than two years of debate and a half-hour of discussion on the floor of Saturday’s Division III business session, the proposal that would have permitted up to seven days of full equipment and three days of live tackling during a 14-day period in the spring was defeated 232-154. The proposal mirrored the one defeated by only a handful of votes at last year’s Convention. 

Opponents, including members of the Division III Presidents Council, repeatedly referred to potential safety concerns posed by allowing more contact in football and noted that the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports opposed the proposal.

Several football coaches, athletics directors and members of the national Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee spoke in support of the proposal, citing equity concerns – other fall sports are permitted more robust nontraditional segments – and the opportunity the proposal might provide coaches to teach safe tackling techniques in the spring. Despite their appeals, the proposal was defeated by a larger margin than last year’s similar legislation.

Other actions:

As anticipated, a proposal that would have deregulated rules regarding contact between coaches and prospective student-athletes via social media, as well as rules pertaining to the ways a school may publicize its recruitment of a prospective student-athlete, was divided into two separate proposals. Despite the split, both the social media and publicity deregulation were defeated by wide margins after SAAC voiced its opposition on the Convention floor.

Despite opposition from the Division III Management Council, a proposal that will allow student-athletes to participate in out-of-season institutional fundraising activities involving athletics ability passed easily. Before the vote, supporters called on members to adhere to the proposal in an appropriate way and not use it as a loophole to conduct additional practices. 

A proposal to eliminate the requirement for a student-athlete to depart for a competition no earlier than 48 hours before it starts and remain no longer than 36 hours after it has ended was pulled from the grouping of noncontroversial legislation and voted on individually. It was adopted by a large margin.

Division III 2016 Convention legislation voting results

Read here for more details on the proposals.

Annual membership dues increase: Adopted (455-18); effective Sept. 1, 2017.

Deregulate electronic transmissions related to recruiting: Defeated (106-365).

Deregulation of publicity rules related to recruiting: Defeated (62-410).

Allow contact during football’s nontraditional segment: Defeated (154-232).

Permit off-ice training before ice hockey’s first on-ice practice date: Adopted (223-45); effective Aug. 1. Allow athletes to access an athlete-only weight room outside their playing and practice season and permit certified strength and conditioning coaches to reserve athletics facilities for workouts during the academic year: Adopted (409-53); effective immediately.

Allow student-athletes to participate in out-of-season institutional fundraising activities involving athletics ability: Adopted (333-128); effective immediately.

Allow coaches to have in-person contact with a recruit before a competition, provided that contact occurs on campus and the campus is not the competition site: Adopted (461-3); effective immediately.

Eliminate requirement that Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement restore eligibility after an athlete has fulfilled a drug-testing penalty: Adopted (452-14); effective Aug. 1 (for all drug tests administered on or after that date).

Permit conferences to count institutions that are in years three and four of the provisional and reclassifying membership process toward its requisite number of members in order to begin the two-year waiting period before that conference is eligible for automatic qualification to NCAA championships: Adopted (418-44); effective Sept. 1.

Reduce the minimum number of participants needed to sponsor golf from five to four: Effective Sept. 1, 2016. Adopted (423-21); effective immediately.