» 7/5/13 - 2014 Convention
» 1/20/13 - Social media proposal passes in DIII
» 1/19/13 - DII looks to 2014
» 1/19/13 - DIII approves sickle cell measure
» 1/19/13 - Division I streamlines rulebook
By David Pickle
After the drama of 2010, the legislative outlook for Division II at the 2011 NCAA Convention is relatively calm.
Last year’s Convention featured passage of the groundbreaking Life in the Balance package, which reduced playing and practice seasons in most Division II sports. The 2011 event will feature Life in the Balance, Phase II, but the scope is comparatively modest.
Voting will occur at the Division II business session Jan. 15. In all, Division II delegates will consider 25 legislative proposals.
The Division II Presidents Council has sponsored three Life in the Balance proposals, which were developed by the Legislation and Championships Committees after consultation with a variety of Division II constituents.
Proposal No. 2011-5 would establish a start date of Sept. 7 or the fourth day of classes, whichever is earlier, for out-of-season or preseason activities and competition in all winter sports. At most institutions, the change would benefit student-athletes by starting preseason practice later in the fall term, thus allowing them to acclimate more effectively to campus life. The Presidents Council also sponsored Proposal No. 2011-11 in wrestling that would establish Oct. 10 as the start date for preseason practice and Nov. 1 as the start date for any competition.
Proposal No. 2011-6 would amend the start date of the nonchampionship segment and out-of-season activities for spring sports to Sept. 7 or the fourth day of classes, whichever is earlier. The expectation is that the legislation will permit student-athletes in those sports to acclimate to campus, class schedules and non-athletically related commitments. The rule would not permit athletically related activities (for example, practice and weight-training, conditioning) until the fourth day of class, as distinguished from four days after the start of class.
The remaining Phase II proposal, No. 2011-7, would amend Bylaw 220.127.116.11 so that winter and spring-sport coaches would have the ability to prepare for in-season competition with team activities, including practice, from the beginning of the institution’s academic year in the fall term through the day before the first permissible practice date. The same opportunity would be available for fall championship sports from the first day of classes in the winter or spring term through February 15. Skill instruction would be maintained for the development of individual student-athletes after the Division II championship until the week before the institution’s final examination period.
The sponsors believe Proposal No. 2011-7 would not increase the amount of time that coaches and student-athletes devote to out-of-season activities. It would simply permit another type of activity during the period.
Delegates also will consider several notable proposals that originated from member conferences:
No. 2011-8: This proposal from the Lone Star Conference and Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association would permit voluntary strength and conditioning training in the summer under specified conditions. The Management Council has taken no position in the belief that concerns about the proposal (competitive equity, safety and time demands on student-athletes) are not so clear-cut as to recommend a negative vote. The Presidents Council, however, believes the proposal conflicts with the overall objectives of Life in the Balance and has joined the Legislation Committee and Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports in opposition.
No. 2011-9: This Pennsylvania State and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference proposal would modify the seven-day winter break legislation that was approved as part of the Life in the Balance Phase I package by adding flexibility to the rule.
Governance reaction to the proposal is mixed. The Division II Legislation Committee supports the proposal, but the Management Council has taken no position, noting that the PSAC/RMAC proposal (seven consecutive calendar days between Dec. 20-30) comes with complexities of its own in how the break periods would match up from sport to sport, conference to conference and region to region.
The Presidents Council opposes the proposal, believing all Phase I legislation, including the winter-break rule, should be assessed and modified after legislation has been given an opportunity to work. Since the winter-break legislation had not been applied before Proposal No. 2011-9 was sponsored, the Council considers the proposal premature.
No. 2011-22: This proposal would not charge a spring-sport student-athlete with a season of competition for competition in the nonchampionship segment, provided the student-athlete was academically eligible at the start of the academic year. The Management Council and the Division II Legislation Committee both support the proposal (sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and the Northeast-10 Conference), but the Presidents Council, concerned about potential for abuse, opposes it. The presidents also do not believe the legislation is necessary to create equity for fall sports and spring sports in the nonchampionship segment. The Presidents Council is encouraging additional review of issues pertaining to the nonchampionship segment.
No. 2011-14: This Northeast-10, East Coast and Peach Belt Conference proposal would give men’s ice hockey student-athletes at Division II institutions a 12-month grace period, in addition to the 12-month grace period already available, to continue participating in organized-competition activities without being subject to the use of a season of competition. In addition, the proposal would make Division II’s provisions regarding Major Junior A men’s ice hockey consistent with those in Division III. The Presidents and Management Councils support the proposal, as does the Legislation Committee.
No. 2011-17: This proposal, sponsored by the Northeast-10 and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, would establish a quiet period in the 48 hours preceding the National Letter of Intent signing date for prospects who are not eligible to sign (it would remain a dead period for those who are eligible to sign). The Presidents and Management Council both oppose the proposal, citing a disagreement in the need for the legislation, insufficient data and a difficulty in monitoring if it were approved.