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DI SAAC weighs in on new season of competition mode

Student-athlete feedback will inform discussions about expanding to other sports

The Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee offered its perspective on the new season of competition model and the implications it may carry for other sports. The committee convened July 13-15 in Indianapolis.

Last month, the Division I Council announced college athletes competing in Division I football can participate in up to four games in a season without using a season of competition. The change to the season of competition model was made to provide additional flexibility for student-athletes, particularly those dealing with injuries.

If the rule change is applied to other sports, SAAC concluded that feedback from individual coaches associations would be necessary to determine the most effective model for each sport.

Among other models, SAAC discussed using a consistent percentage of each sport season to measure what would qualify as a season of competition. Four games equates to roughly 30 percent of the football season; SAAC members believe that if the 30 percent standard were applied to other sports, it could negatively impact individual sports and alter team dynamics.

Recruiting communications and official visits

The committee weighed the implications of possible changes to early recruiting dates for telephone calls and initial contact as well as altering the definition of a prospective student-athlete. Also, SAAC members discussed requiring all sports to pay for parents of prospective student-athletes to attend an official visit, already allowed for football and basketball. Student-athletes’ perspectives on these subjects will be a vital as these conversations continue in Division I.   

Transfer Working Group update

SAAC received updates from the Transfer Working Group following the adoption of the new notification-of-transfer rule. The committee has been tasked with creating educational resources for student-athletes about the new rule.

“What has come out of the Transfer Working Group has really benefited the student-athlete, which was our focus,” said Noah Knight, SAAC chair and former men’s basketball student-athlete at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. “Our committee is looking forward to continuing these important discussions throughout the year.”

Educational groups

SAAC closed out the weekend at the national office by setting their primary goal for the forthcoming year — to educate student-athletes on the new notification-of-transfer rule, gambling and how it can affect the culture of college sports, and student-athlete health and well-being. The committee aims to be a resource for the broader Division I student-athlete community on these important topics and others.

SAAC will reconvene in October.