» 6/13/13 - Teammates on and off the field
By Gary Brown
Sickle cell trait status confirmation for Division III student-athletes got a financial boost Tuesday when the Presidents Council authorized a one-time allocation to help schools defray the costs of testing if a proposal to require it passes in January.
The Council’s decision comes after the Management Council endorsed the allocation earlier this month. The approximate $220,000 distribution (reallocated from an anticipated 2012-13 surplus in the collaboration with NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) to address alcohol and other drug abuse) would give each active Division III school up to $500 to offset the costs of testing.
The action is in response to membership concerns about costs related to Convention Proposal No. 4 (2-8), which would require confirmation of sickle cell trait status for all student-athletes no later than the 2014-15 academic year, including mandatory confirmation of status for all incoming student-athletes (first-year and transfers) in 2013-14.
“This shows how committed the Presidents Council is to making sickle cell trait status confirmation a reality,” said Presidents Council member Bob Antonucci of Fitchburg State, who participated in the meeting via teleconference, as did several others due to travel arrangements being interrupted by Hurricane Sandy.
The Presidents Council supported the original proposal to require testing that was referred at the 2012 Convention to the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports for further review.
That prompted a year-long effort to educate Division III schools and student-athletes about the risks associated with sickle cell trait. The CSMAS also worked with the Division III governance structure to craft a revised proposal for the 2013 Convention that provides education regarding sickle cell trait for all students-athletes and provides additional mandatory education and accommodations determined by the institution for those that do not confirm their status or test positive for the trait.
The Division III Strategic Planning and Finance Committee will figure out the administrative and financial details of the now-approved financial allocation during a November teleconference. A subsequent request for final approval, if necessary, would go to the Administrative Committee to permit membership notification in advance of the 2013 Convention.
The Presidents Council also supported continued education of the sickle cell issue preceding the Convention in January. Among the outcomes of the 2012 Convention was a sense that the membership was not prepared to vote on the proposal because it was under-informed.
“I don’t think that will be the case this year,” said Presidents Council chair Jim Schmotter of Western Connecticut State. “The Council has authorized educational outreach to governance groups, conferences and individual members for the last 10 months. With two months still to go before the Convention, we are confident that we’ll have a well-informed delegation voting on this matter in January.”
The Council also reviewed other legislative proposals slated for a Convention vote, including a membership-sponsored proposal on which the Council was required to take a position since it falls into the presidential grouping.
Council members voted to support the proposal from the City University of New York Athletic Conference and St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference that would permit conferences to provide a postgraduate scholarship to one male and one female student-athlete who have excelled in the classroom, in athletics and the community and who have exhausted their eligibility.
The Management Council had recommended that the Presidents Council support the proposal at its meeting two weeks ago.
In other action at the Division III Presidents Council’s Oct. 29-30 meeting in Indianapolis, members: