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DII expected to delay vote on name, image, likeness legislation

Management Council recommends civic engagement concept from DII SAAC

The Division II Management Council during its virtual NCAA Convention meeting Monday heard from NCAA President Mark Emmert, who requested each of the three divisions delay voting on name, image and likeness legislation. 

Emmert’s request comes amid recent judicial, political, and enforcement issues related to the name, image and likeness proposals. Emmert, while recommending a delay, reiterated the Association’s commitment to modernizing its rules and providing student-athletes additional opportunities in the area of name, image and likeness.  

The Division II Presidents Council is expected to take formal action during its meeting Tuesday to withdraw the name, image and likeness proposal from Friday’s business session. The division will still vote on its other Convention proposals to allow access to institutional athletics aid and access to practice to all incoming freshman student-athletes and two-year college transfers, regardless of their initial-eligibility status. 

Civic engagement proposal

The Management Council also recommended the Presidents Council sponsor a 2022 Convention proposal on civic engagement that was recommended by the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. 

The concept is similar to legislation Division I adopted last fall and prohibits countable athletically related activities, such as practices and games, on the first Tuesday after Nov. 1 every year. 

The Division II Presidents Council will determine whether to sponsor the concept during its meeting Tuesday. If approved, the concept would return in legislative form to the Management Council and Presidents Council in April.  

“We commend SAAC for this recommendation, especially considering how well it aligns with the Division II ‘Life in the Balance’ philosophy,” said Chris Graham, commissioner of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and chair of the Division II Management Council. “Division II prides itself on providing a balanced experience of academics, athletics and community engagement. This recommendation is an excellent way to improve that experience.” 

Planning and Finance Committee recommendations 

The Management Council also recommended the Presidents Council approve a recommendation from the Division II Planning and Finance Committee to suspend or reduce some Division II initiatives. The recommendation comes as the Division II 2020-21 fiscal year budget faces challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The one-year suspensions and reductions will bring an estimated savings of $3.3 million. They include savings from events and initiatives like the Division II Championships Festival, new Division II University modules and the SAAC Super Region Convention, among others. 

In October, the NCAA Board of Governors updated the fiscal year 2020-21 revenue estimates to include a 75% reduction in championships ticket revenues, due to limited fan capacities because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The new Division II budget estimate for the 2020-21 fiscal year, about $40 million, is nearly $7 million less than the original. 

The recommendation continues the division’s commitment to maintaining its financial stability long term. In December, the Division II Administrative Committee approved a recommendation to reduce bracket and field sizes for the 2021 Division II winter and spring championships as projected expenses to host championships this fiscal year are higher because of testing and other safety protocols.

Recruiting concepts

The Management Council endorsed recommendations from the Legislation Committee that a pair of recruiting-related concepts become permanent changes. Both concepts were approved as blanket waivers by the Administrative Committee in May 2020 as a way to provide flexibility in recruiting during the pandemic. Those waivers expire at the end of the 2020-21 academic year. 

One concept permits an unrestricted number of uncommitted prospective student-athletes and their family members to participate on telephone or video calls with multiple coaching staff members at a time. All other publicity restrictions still apply. 

The other concept allows institutions to produce any promotional material for purposes of recruiting, provided the publicity legislation is followed. Schools still are prohibited from calling out a prospective student-athlete by name or making any overt mention to a prospective student-athlete. 

Both concepts will return in legislative form to the Management Council in April and, if approved, would be effective immediately.