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DII council endorses plan to collect more injury data

Group backs 30 percent participation goal for NCAA Injury Surveillance Program

In an effort to enhance data-driven decision-making around student-athlete health and safety, the Division II Management Council on Wednesday endorsed a plan to increase membership participation in the NCAA Injury Surveillance Program.

The Division II Management Council on Wednesday endorsed a plan to increase membership participation in the NCAA Injury Surveillance Program.

The plan focuses on strategies to increase communication and education around the long-standing NCAA data-collection program. It also sets a goal of having at least 30 percent of Division II schools voluntarily submitting data to the program on at least two sports per season by June 2019. About 8 percent of the Division II membership now submits data.

The plan must be approved by the Division II Presidents Council on Thursday before it is formally implemented in the coming months.

The plan was recommended by the Division II Injury Surveillance Program Task Force, a group of six athletics administrators and one university president that has been exploring the issue since last summer. The Management Council and Presidents Council formed the task force after learning about the low participation rates of the Association-wide database program, an initiative that stretches back to 1982. The program is used to inform decisions made by NCAA committees and other outside groups associated with college athlete health and safety.

“Thirty percent is no small task,” Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Commissioner Steve Murray told his fellow council members Wednesday. “So we’ve got to put the pressure on internally. At your league meetings, with your presidents. … Say this is coming down the pike, we need you to get involved. We need to make decisions based on data, and we just don’t have it.”

To meet the 30 percent goal, about 92 Division II schools would need to participate in the program – an increase of about 68 schools. The program is run by the NCAA Sport Science Institute in conjunction with the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention, an independent nonprofit.

The task force’s recommended plan includes tactics such as distributing talking points to members that clarify the technical and logistic aspects of the program, running a targeted email campaign, creating a video to raise awareness, and other ideas.

The group also recommended a pilot of a health and safety survey that is now being administered in Division I. If approved by the Presidents Council, the pilot will require two to three athletic trainers or athletic health care administrators per Division II conference to complete the survey.

NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline applauded the council for taking the lead on this data collection issue. “This push has been driven by DII,” he said, “and the entire NCAA membership is going to benefit as a result.”

Other actions

Also at its meeting, the Management Council:

  • Endorsed the approval of 23 budget requests from the Division II Championships Committee totaling $1.3 million annually over the championships’ triennial budget cycle beginning in 2018-19. The requests include increasing officials’ fees in several sports and increasing student-athlete participation opportunities in others. The Division II Presidents Council will vote on the requests Thursday.
  • Endorsed a recommendation to reimburse schools for local ground transportation for team and individual travel based on participation in 2016-17 championships. The reimbursements will total approximately $1.1 million. The Presidents Council also will vote on this recommendation.
  • Referred a slew of recommendations from the Division II Culture of Compliance Summit in December to the Division II Legislation Committee for further review. The summit is part of an ongoing effort to simplify and clarify portions of the Division II manual.
  • Provided feedback on Division II University, a new online coaches education program that will be launched this spring.