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Applications for membership for new Division II conferences will be suspended for the next two years as the result of an action Wednesday by the Division II Management Council.
The Council also voted to reduce the maximum number of institutions accepted annually into the membership process from 10 to eight, effective with applications received by June 1 and thereafter.
Management Council member and Regis (Colorado) athletics director Ann Martin discusses the conference membership moratorium issue at the Division II Management Council meeting.
Both recommendations originated with the Division II Membership Committee.
The decision to establish the two-year moratorium on new conference members is based on the need to vet various concepts pertaining to conference membership resulting from Division II’s long-range strategy discussions on membership growth. The moratorium will be from the conclusion of this Convention through the January 2013 Convention.
The moratorium on new conferences would not affect the new Great American Conference, which has already submitted its application to the Membership Committee.
Membership Committee chair Sandy Michael of Holy Family said the moratorium will provide various constituent groups with time to review possible legislation pertaining to conference membership and provide feedback. She said the committee would support removing the moratorium before adjournment of the 2013 NCAA Convention if a consensus on a course of action has been reached.
The membership will be asked to consider concepts from the Division II Long-Range Projections Task Force and the Membership Committee that deal with revised membership requirements for active and new conferences during this Convention.
One concept would require at least eight members, some of which could be provisional members, for new conferences applying for membership beginning in 2012. By 2017, conferences applying for membership would be required to have 10 members, some of which could be provisional members. All institutions in a new conference would be required to be members of the same geographic region for championship purposes.
For current active member conferences, the concept would involve requiring eight active member institutions starting in 2017 and 10 beginning in 2022.
The task force and Membership Committee also are asking the membership to consider limiting to 24 the number of conferences receiving membership privileges such as automatic qualification, revenue distribution, Convention votes and committee representation. Other Division II conferences could be eligible for membership, but without the privileges.
Finally, the task force and Membership Committee are seeking membership response on a concept that would require any prospective new Division II member institution to have an invitation for full membership from an active or applicant conference.
Michael stressed that the concepts are not formal recommendations. She said the Membership Committee is encouraging discussion about the concepts within conferences and soliciting feedback over the next several months.