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Goals Met, Goals Set

DIII makes strides on key initiatives despite recent budget strife, eyes new programs

After staring down potential budget shortfalls in recent years, Division III governance committees made difficult decisions to help bring the division’s budget back in order. Their careful cuts to championships spending were temporary remedies, and some cost-saving measures — such as championships per diem cuts — gradually are being eased back amid a rosier financial picture.

How rosy? This spring, the Division III Presidents Council felt comfortable offering a credit to schools to offset the roughly $500,000 cumulative annual membership dues increase that was slated to go into effect this August.

“It’s not as critical for us to implement the dues increase immediately, so this wonderful opportunity to provide credit back to members within Division III was seen as a positive step,” Alan Cureton, Division III Strategic Planning and Finance Committee chair and president of Northwestern-St. Paul, said when the group made the decision to delay the dues increase.

All the while, governance committees remained committed to instituting the division’s strategic plan, which focuses on major initiatives beyond administering championships.

Despite the years with budget concerns, the division has achieved many milestones, and new endeavors are on the horizon.

Key recent accomplishments

  • The division developed a best-practice resource for athletics direct reports, who directly oversee athletics at roughly three-fourths of Division III schools. An ADR Institute has been conducted at the past two NCAA Conventions.
  • The Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, teaming with the office of inclusion, created The Diverse Workforce, a resource to assist in recruiting, selecting and retaining a diverse athletics workforce.
  • The Student Immersion Program began at the 2016 Convention and brought more than 40 minority students to the event to network with athletics administrators and learn more about careers in the field.
  • Division III became the first division to develop educational videos related to committee service for committee members and staff liaisons. The now-mandatory videos help in understanding duties, time commitments and the benefits of serving.
  • The division supported the Eligibility Center’s transition to a free registration process for prospective Division III athletes.
  • The Division III Recruiting Working Group distributed a resource to assist institutions in making recruiting more efficient and effective.
  • Staff and members of governance committees worked with the Division III Commissioners Association to develop best practices to bolster communication between presidents and their conferences.
  • Staff established in-person orientations for new athletics directors and commissioners.

What’s next?

  • Division III will continue to invest in its women and minority internship program ($1.13 million budgeted), Strategic Alliance Matching Grant program ($708,000) and conference grant program that supports diversity and gender equity ($426,000).
  • Efforts will be made to enhance communication between those in NCAA governance and the Division III membership, increasing conference visits from members of the Division III Presidents Council, Management Council and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, as well as NCAA staff.
  • Investment will continue in sportsmanship and game environment initiatives. Through the partnership between the Division III Sportsmanship and Game Environment Working Group and the Disney Institute, campus administrators will undergo training to create and maintain game environments consistent with those at NCAA championships.
  • Efforts to bolster engagement with presidents and athletics direct reports in the legislative process will be led by members of the Presidents Council and Presidents and Chancellors Advisory Group. More presidential programming will be made available at the NCAA Convention, and the Athletics Direct Report Institute will continue to grow.
  • For the first time, the division is exploring its LGBTQ landscape and culture through a membershipwide survey by an LGBTQ working group.
  • Funding for the Strategic Initiatives Conference Grant program has been increased by 10 percent.

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Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.

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