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Financial aid proposals to see DII membership vote

DII Presidents Council approved the proposals at August meeting

The Division II Presidents Council last week ensured three heavily discussed financial aid proposals will come to a membership vote in January at the NCAA Convention.

The proposals, which came out of a comprehensive three-year review led by the Division II Legislation Committee, would change the way financial aid is awarded to Division II student-athletes.

The Presidents Council easily approved two of the financial aid proposals in legislative form, one of which would eliminate term-by-term financial aid awards and another that would permit increases in athletically related financial aid at any time, for any reason.

The other financial aid proposal drew more deliberation among the presidents but was also ultimately approved. This proposal would change financial aid legislation so only institutional athletics aid would count toward individual and team equivalency limits. The model would exempt other forms of institutional aid, such as academic and need-based aid, from individual and team equivalency limits, making it possible for student-athletes to receive more nonathletics financial aid without affecting a team’s scholarship allotment. It is also expected to make financial aid legislation simpler and easier for administrators on campus to apply.

For those not dealing with financial aid on a daily basis, understanding the nuances of the legislation can be complex. The presidents took time during their meeting Wednesday and Thursday to review data, hear the stances of other groups in the membership, and debate potential impacts of the change.

“It’s a complicated issue,” said Steve Scott, Pittsburg State University president and chair of the Presidents Council. “I was really proud of the presidents at the table. They really dug into it –  they studied it and they asked a lot of questions.”

While some of the presidents expressed concern about gamesmanship and competitive equity, others felt the proposed legislation would bring flexibility in their financial decision-making, benefit their school’s financial aid directors and assist student-athletes in paying for college. The Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has been supportive of the proposal.     

The council decided to sponsor the proposal so it could be considered at Convention. “In the end, people looked at it and thought, let’s give the entire membership an opportunity to weigh in on this and vote when we get to Nashville in January,” Scott said.

Other actions

Also at its meeting, the Presidents Council: 

  • Voted to become a co-sponsor of a membership-submitted proposal that would require Division II schools to have an administrative structure that provides independent medical care and protects the authority of the primary athletics health care providers (such as team physicians and athletic trainers). This proposal was recommended by the NCAA’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports.
  • Approved nine legislative proposals in concept, including concepts related to academic misconduct and the non-championship segment, all of which will come before the membership for a vote at the 2017 Convention.
  • Approved Division II priorities for 2016-17, which address implementation of the Foundation for the Future initiative; the 2017 Division II winter championships festival in Birmingham, Alabama; health and safety initiatives; enhancement of compliance operations on campuses and more.
  • Re-elected Henderson State University President Glen Jones Jr. as vice chair of the Presidents Council.
  • Ratified the appointment of Tonya Charland, associate commissioner and senior woman administrator of the Great Lakes Valley Conference, as vice chair of the Management Council.