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Division III Presidents Council opposes two significant proposals

Group opposes easing restrictions on football contact, reaching recruits via social media

Two key membership-sponsored proposals have met resistance from Division III’s top governing body.

In a Thursday teleconference, the Division III Presidents Council voted to oppose a proposal that would permit contact during football’s spring segment and another that would deregulate several rules pertaining to contacting recruits electronically, particularly via social media. Both will be subject to a membership vote at the 2016 NCAA Convention in San Antonio. The Presidents Council’s decision to oppose both proposals echoed the positions the Division III Management Council took earlier this month.

The football proposal was brought forward by 25 Division III schools and would permit as many as seven days of practice with full equipment involving contact, including three days of live tackling. The Presidents Council opposed the proposal because it worried additional contact could pose health and safety concerns and might place a strain on facilities and athletic training staff.

Like the Management Council, the Presidents Council opposed the proposal that would ease restrictions on electronic correspondence with recruits because of concerns voiced by student-athletes at the campus and conference level. The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and North Coast Athletic Conference brought the proposal forward and contend that current limitations on public communication – via social media platforms, for instance – are cumbersome and inhibit effective correspondence between coaches and recruits. Both councils, though, cited the strong opposition expressed by student-athletes as their rationale for voting against the proposal.   

“We’re still trying to determine what is appropriate for our prospective students and what isn’t,” said Alan Cureton, Presidents Council chair and president of the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. “Our intent is to respect the boundaries of a student-athlete’s personal domain, including social media.”

Other actions

  • The Presidents Council reviewed the Management Council Playing and Practice Seasons Subcommittee’s plan to lead a discussion at the Division III Issues Forum about reforming playing and practice season rules. The forum will take place in January at the NCAA Convention. Given that recent membership survey data does not indicate a desire for comprehensive changes, the Presidents Council members reemphasized that they support the subcommittee’s efforts to complete a thorough review but do not have any expected outcomes. If the membership doesn’t want significant changes, the Presidents Council noted, there is no agenda to push for them.
  • Also on Thursday afternoon, the NCAA Board of Governors approved a measure that would allow Division III to keep any additional funds garnered from a potential dues increase. A proposal that would raise dues from $900 to $2,000 for Division III schools and from $450 to $1,000 for conferences will be up for vote at the Convention. The additional dues would be used to fund several championships enhancements. Should the proposal pass, the Board of Governors’ action ensures the additional funds will be used solely by Division III.
  • The Presidents Council approved a pair of new members. Spalding University President Tori Murden McClure will begin her appointment immediately. Margaret Drugovich, president of Hartwick College, will begin her term in January, pending approval by an electronic vote of the division’s presidents. Both Cureton, the chair, and Jay Lemons, vice chair and president of Susquehanna University, will retain their leadership positions on the Presidents Council through January 2017. Lemons was also appointed vice chair of the NCAA Board of Governors and will hold the position through January 2019.