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Members weigh in on direction of DIII budget discussions

Straw-poll results at the Division III issues forum indicated that the membership favors dues increases and more championship policy changes

At Friday’s Division III issues forum, members indicated that in order to address projected budget shortfalls, they would be comfortable paying higher NCAA membership dues and would favor further championships policy changes over limiting access to championships.

At Friday’s Division III issues forum, members indicated that in order to address projected budget shortfalls, they would be comfortable paying higher NCAA membership dues and would favor further championships policy changes over limiting access to championships.

The feedback Division III governance leadership and staff gathered will shape the course of upcoming budget discussions and future proposed policy changes.  

Recent championships travel policy changes offered a short-term solution to the division’s budget imbalances. But projections show a deficit will resurface by 2019, so members were asked about a series of potential long-term resolutions. Two-thirds of respondents favored further championships policy changes, while only 22 percent expressed the desire to cut costs by changing the division’s championships-access ratio, which dictates how many Division III teams can compete in a sport’s postseason tournament. New proposals based on that feedback will arise from the Division III governance structure in the near future.

“Changing the access ratio might be the simplest and most effective way to balance the budget, but is that the route we want to pursue?” said Alan Cureton, University of Northwestern St.-Paul president and vice chair of the Division III Presidents Council. “So this feedback was extremely valuable.”

Additionally, more than 90 percent of members expressed interest in creating new revenue streams to subsidize championships. Eighty-six percent favored a Division III membership dues increase to garner additional revenue, while only 46 percent favored implementing a championships surcharge.

Currently, 75 percent of the division’s revenue is allocated for championships spending, and 25 percent is dedicated to non-championships initiatives. When asked if that ratio should be altered, a straw poll indicated an even split in the room.

Other discussion topics:

  • Members indicated opposition to reforming the nontraditional segment in team sports. Two-thirds of respondents indicated they wanted the segment – 16 days of athletics-related activity in the semester opposite the regular season – to be left in its current format. The rules governing the segment were implemented in 2004 and haven’t been significantly altered since, so Division III leadership was curious to learn if members felt policies should be amended.
  • Nearly three-quarters of members polled expressed support for the creation of an inclusion and diversity working group that would be tasked with creating best practices to ensure women and minorities are properly represented among student-athlete, coaching and administrative populations.
  • Representatives from the Division III Recruiting Working Group briefed members on the progress the group has made through more than two years of work. Beyond the four proposals that will be up for vote at Saturday’s business session, the group is also developing a recruiting resource in hopes of enhancing the recruiting experience for all parties involved. Forty percent of respondents said they would rely on such a resource, while 38 percent claimed they needed more information.
  • Representatives from the newly formed Division III Sportsmanship and Game Environment Working Group asked members to identify the primary parties responsible for sportsmanship problems at Division III athletics events. Forty-six percent of respondents cited fans, and 32 percent cited parents. The group will use that feedback as well as responses to several other questions to develop resources that schools can use on their campuses to promote sportsmanship.