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NCAA Insider notes

A roundup of the latest developments in NCAA governance, infractions, playing rules changes and other actions

GOVERNANCE

DIVISION I

The Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee continued to support the inclusion of student-athlete votes within the new Division I governance structure. The group also will work with campus and conference SAACs to help them function with a more legislative focus, especially on student-athlete well-being issues … The Division I Leadership Council reviewed feedback collected from the membership about the new governance structure and stressed the importance of continued open communication with members. The Leadership Council also began discussions about how the supporting structures, such as the Council, should function, with the goal of having a more robust discussion in October … The Division I Presidential Advisory Group discussed the proposed new governance model and suggested some further study of specific areas, including board composition, weighted voting and the role of the advisory group in the new structure … The Division I Board of Directors adopted a new governance structure, which will be fully implemented in 2015. The structure established a 24-member Board of Directors, a Council to make day-to-day decisions and a Committee on Academics. Student-athletes will have a vote on all bodies. The structure also allows the five highest-resourced conferences to make rules decisions for themselves in certain areas … The Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet approved an adjustment to the format at the 2015 men’s and women’s golf championships finals site. The change replaces the individuals-only day Monday with play by the top 15 teams and nine individuals not on one of the advancing teams.

DIVISION II

The Division II Membership Committee approved adding eight schools to the division’s active membership and gave the green light for an additional 18 schools to begin or progress in the three-year membership process. All membership changes took effect Sept. 1 … The Division II Management Council and the Division II Presidents Council supported proposed legislation that would allow schools to provide unlimited meals and snacks for student-athletes in association with their athletics participation. In addition, the councils voted in favor of amendments to a proposal requiring schools to employ a full-time athletics director and compliance administrator with no coaching duties and voted against eliminating a provision in the Division II constitution permitting football-specific voting. The Management Council tabled a proposal that would require national certification for any person designated as a school’s strength and conditioning coach … The Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee sought support on two proposals to increase student-athlete involvement in the division’s governance process. The Presidents Council voted in favor of both proposals: one would give SAAC two seats and one vote on Management Council, and the other would give SAAC one vote on the floor of the NCAA Convention … The Division II Championships Committee recommended allocating more than $800,000 of the championships budget to fulfill requests intended to increase participation opportunities for student-athletes and improve their championships experience.

DIVISION III

The Division III Presidents Council voted to co-sponsor proposed legislation – initially sponsored by the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and the Centennial Conference – that would reduce the maximum number of in-season contests (or dates of competition, depending on the sport) by up to 10 percent. The reduction would apply to nearly every sport, except for those with only a handful of contests, such as football (10) and cross country (nine) … The Division III Management Council endorsed a proposal from the Division III Interpretations and Legislation Committee that would allow prospective student-athletes to make an official visit to a member institution any time on or after Jan. 1 of their junior year of high school. Currently, official visits are prohibited until classes begin in a prospective student-athlete’s senior year. The membership will vote on the legislation at the 2015 NCAA Convention … The Division III Championships Committee rejected a proposal from the Division III Women’s Golf Committee, which had recommended the championships expand from 21 to 23 teams in 2015. The Championships Committee rejected that proposal because women’s golf already has a waiver in place through 2015 that allows greater access to the championships. The waiver’s intent is to help grow the sport by providing more teams the opportunity to compete in the championship.

ASSOCIATION-WIDE

The Executive Committee passed a resolution stating its expectation that athletics departments at NCAA member schools are expected to cooperate with campus authorities, maintain a hostile-free environment and follow campus protocols for reporting incidents related to sexual violence. The committee also approved recommendations from its Subcommittee on For-Profit Institutions that would establish a for-profit member classification that permits those members to participate in championship events and receive financial distributions through their conferences while also limiting their involvement in the governance system. The committee directed the NCAA’s three divisions to immediately consider adopting legislation that addresses those recommendations … The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics recommended removing equestrian from the list of emerging sports for women. The group also voiced support for a report from the NCAA Gender Equity Task Force and expressed opposition to changing the name of “sand volleyball” to “beach volleyball” … The NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct selected University of Michigan men’s basketball head coach John Beilein to receive the 2013-14 Bob Frederick Sportsmanship Award. This honor recognizes his demonstrated history of sportsmanship while leading the Wolverines. The committee also selected these student-athletes to receive 2013-14 NCAA Student-Athlete Sportsmanship awards: Utah State University’s Chari Hawkins, who competes in track and field; Northern Michigan University’s Jaylee Brown, who competes in cross country; and the Division II Harding University football team.

INFRACTIONS

Georgia Institute of Technology failed to monitor its sports programs to ensure its coaches followed NCAA recruiting rules, according to a decision issued by an NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions panel. A total of nine sport programs placed at least 478 impermissible calls and sent at least 299 impermissible text messages to a total of 140 prospects. Most of the violations occurred in the men’s and women’s basketball and football programs between March 2011 and March 2012. Three days after appearing before the committee for major violations in its football and men’s basketball program in April 2011, the men’s basketball program began placing impermissible phone calls. Violations in the football and women’s basketball programs began the month before the school appeared before the committee … Due to Pennsylvania State University’s significant progress toward ensuring its athletics department functions with integrity, the NCAA Executive Committee eliminated the school’s postseason ban, effective immediately, and will return the full complement of football scholarships in 2015-16.

PLAYING RULES

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved rules changes in men’s lacrosse regarding stalling rules and faceoff tactics. Starting in 2015, a visible clock can be used to time the 30-second stalling segment in facilities capable of displaying the clocks. All Division I men’s lacrosse programs will be required to have the clocks by the 2016 season, and Division II and Division III will be required to have them by the 2017 season.  … The panel also approved changes to the lacrosse faceoff rules. A violation will be called if a player picks up or carries the ball on the back of his stick. It will still be legal to clamp the ball with the back of the stick, but the ball must be moved, raked or directed immediately … The panel also approved a rules change in baseball that allows umpires to conference in order to confirm or overturn an original call on whether a fielder caught a ball hit to the outfield. Current NCAA baseball rules allow umpires to conference on certain close plays, and catches in the outfield now have been added to that list of plays.