The Division II Legislation Committee last week launched a review of the division’s rules on organized outside competition, a set of regulations that exists to ensure competitive balance among student-athletes.
The organized competition legislation now regulates the athletic experience Division II student-athletes can gain before initial college enrollment without impacting their eligibility. The concept of a formal review of the legislation – which was last updated in 2010 – arose from conversations first held among the Division II Men’s Soccer Committee. In a recent meeting, that committee discussed what some members perceived as a growing trend: Student-athletes who enroll at a college only to withdraw after one or two semesters in order to play soccer with a competitive outside amateur league, then enroll at Division II institutions with more experience and at no cost to their college eligibility. Members of the Men’s Soccer Committee believe some of the student-athletes who take this route travel overseas to play high-level amateur soccer and, when they come to Division II, are older and stronger than most of their peers.
While the evidence around these occurrences is largely anecdotal, the Legislation Committee agreed at its Nov. 7-8 meeting that the issue warranted a larger discussion. The committee wants to explore how the organized competition legislation is impacting all sports, not just men’s soccer, and whether the committee needs to address any loopholes in the legislation. “The current rule is now six years old,” said committee chair Natasha Oakes, the associate athletics director for internal operations and senior woman administrator at Missouri Western State University. “It’s time to take a look at it and see if we are in the right place, if there are any areas of concern from a competitive equity standpoint.”
Legislation Committee members will be presented with a range of data at their next meeting in March and will continue the review then.
Also at last week’s meeting, the Legislation Committee:
- Analyzed and discussed data related to student-athlete time demands. The committee reviewed initiatives that are being pursued in Division I and deliberated on efforts Division II might explore in the future, with plans to continue the conversation at the next meeting in March. The committee noted that several of the Division I changes were already current legislation in Division II.
- Referred a legislative concept to the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports that would establish an exception to the women’s volleyball preseason hour limitations for exempted exhibition and scrimmage dates of competition.