You are here

Social media, advertising on DIII radar

Interpretations and Legislation Committee feels topics warrant further discussion

The Division III Interpretations and Legislation Committee convened in Indianapolis last month. A few highlights from the two-day meeting:

  • The committee reviewed proposed legislation in Division II pertinent to social media, which triggered a discussion about rules regarding interaction between recruits and institutional staff members. The Division II proposal provides an exception to the restrictions on publicity before a recruit commits to a school, allowing staff members to, for instance, “like” or “favorite” recruits’ content on social media platforms. The committee thought the proposal warranted further discussion for Division III since it requires that contact can be made only after a prospective student-athlete initiates the post. The committee has requested that the Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee review the proposal.

    “It became a larger discussion around trying to keep up with changing technology,” said Shana Levine, committee chair and director of physical education and athletics at Lewis & Clark. “Why are we worried about this when no one has the time to truly monitor it? SAAC’s perspective is important because they were recently opposed to deregulating the rule the last time around, and this is a topic where many will look to student-athlete input.”
  • NCAA staff members have fielded numerous questions recently regarding whether advertising practices undertaken by some athletics departments conform to NCAA rules. The committee discussed the topic at length, reviewing what constitutes a recruiting advertisement and agreeing that advertisements specifically designed to solicit student-athlete enrollment violate legislation if they occur at or during events pertinent to a prospective student-athlete audience (for example, a high school sporting event). The committee requested that staff continue to permit such advertising when it’s not held during or at such events, though the committee suggests that a more wide-ranging discussion of advertising practices may be needed in the future.

    “The committee discussed how recruitment limitations no longer just affect athletics, but can also impact the ability of an institution to enroll a class, which is a much larger issue in NCAA recruiting,” Levine said.
  • In the wake of recent interpretations by Divisions I and II regarding permissible nutritional supplements, the committee has asked the Sport Science Institute and Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports for feedback on the subject. Currently, Division III schools are not permitted to provide nutritional supplements to student-athletes unless they are part of a meal incidental to participation. With year-round training increasingly prevalent, the committee felt those limitations should be examined further. It will rely on guidance from health and safety experts.

    The committee recommended legislation to the Division III Management Council that would allow student-athletes to participate in athletics while enrolled less than full time during their final term or quarter before participating in an experiential learning requirement (for example, an internship) in the following term or quarter. The student-athlete would need to carry all other courses necessary to complete a degree except for the upcoming experiential learning requirement.