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The Division III Presidents Council reconsidered but ultimately did not revise its stance against a proposal that would allow institutions to earmark fundraising dollars for individual student-athletes.
Fitchburg State President Bob Antonucci outlines the pros and cons of a fundraising proposal at Thursday’s Presidents Council meeting.
The Council’s meeting on Thursday to prep for Saturday’s business session came with some intrigue, given the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s ability to persuade the Management Council on
Wednesday to ask the presidents to back rather than oppose the fundraising proposal (Convention Proposal No. 4).
Presidents Council members decided to maintain the opposition they agreed on in October, though they did so by the one-vote margin that has become symbolic of the controversy the proposal has generated all year.
Just as the Council’s position did not change, neither did the thoroughness with which members debated the pros and cons. In the end, though, the prevailing side was not persuaded by the permissiveness SAAC cited as the measure’s most appealing pro.
A few of the presidents, in fact, thought that the permissiveness might inadvertently create a kind of class system within teams. That has been a core concern among opponents who worry that student-athletes who have more access to potential supporters or who are simply better at fundraising or have more time to devote to it would be advantaged. That could jeopardize the team chemistry that is so integral to the college experience, the presidents said.
Other concerns are that the legislation would be burdensome to monitor and that it may not even be the best solution to the perceived problem.
Yet, some presidents agreed with the SAAC sentiment that institutions are best positioned to determine the effect of these procedural matters on their own teams. One president said his institution had operated under both paradigms and that team chemistry hadn’t suffered in either case.
But most of the presidents wanted to protect the “all-for-one” spirit that the current fundraising rules promote. Whether that carries the day on the Convention floor remains to be seen.
In other business at the Presidents Council’s Thursday meeting, members reviewed preliminary results from the NCAA’s most recent GOALS study (Growth, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Learning of Students in College) that surveyed about 20,000 current student-athletes regarding their experiences in college. Many of the results, especially on time demands, compare favorably with the Division III philosophy of allowing student-athletes to experience a life in proportion at their schools.
Most Division III student-athletes in the survey cited academics as being just as important, if not more so, in their college selection. A majority also said they would have attended the same school even if a different coach had been there.
Also, about two-thirds either agreed or strongly agreed that their athletics participation was important in preparing them for life after graduation.
More results from the GOALS study and a companion study on former student-athletes (SCORE) will be released in the coming months.