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DII Management Council recommends three Convention proposals

Festival changes, adding new emerging sports for women supported

The Division II Management Council this week recommended the Presidents Council sponsor three new legislative proposals for the 2020 Convention.

The first recommended proposal would move up the competition start date for men’s and women’s soccer in years in which the Division II National Championships Festival occurs in the fall. The other two would add women’s wrestling and acrobatics and tumbling as NCAA emerging sports for women in Division II.

The soccer concept came out of a working group charged with examining the Division II National Championships Festival and identifying potential enhancements to the events, which are unique to Division II. The festival working group made more than two dozen recommendations to staff and sport committees, but only one — to ensure no season for a sport that is part of the festival is shortened because of participation in the festival ­— would involve a legislative change. Under current legislation, soccer programs lose a week of their competitive seasons in fall festival years because of the festival’s timing. The proposal would allow men’s and women’s soccer teams to engage in their first date of competition a week earlier. In those years, competition could begin as early as the Thursday preceding Aug. 30.

The Management Council supported the proposed change, as well as the other recommendations from the working group, which include allowing hotels to be farther from competition venues to ensure championship-caliber facilities, conducting a separate men’s and women’s basketball festival event in the “off” year of other festivals, moving the spring festival back one week to align with the softball standard date formula, and adjusting the festival competition schedules of cross country and swimming and diving.

“Those of us on the Management Council are very pleased with what came out of the festival working group,” said Laura Liesman, athletics director at Georgian Court and chair of the council. “It was a good opportunity to look at the total festival concept and how we can continue to make it an exceptional experience for the student-athletes. These changes are going to move the festival to an even higher level in future years.”

The Management Council also supported two proposed changes being considered in all three divisions that would add acrobatics and tumbling and women’s wrestling to the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program. The proposals were recommended by the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics, which oversees the emerging sports program with the goal of increasing participation opportunities for female athletes. The program provides a fast track for eligible women’s sports to become full-fledged NCAA championship events. The NCAA currently has three emerging sports: equestrian, rugby and triathlon. The recommended proposals to add women’s wrestling and acrobatics and tumbling would have an effective date of Aug. 1, 2020.

The Division II Presidents Council will review all three proposed changes at its meeting Aug. 6-7 and determine whether to sponsor them for the 2020 NCAA Convention. Already, the Presidents Council has sponsored and the Management Council has backed three Convention proposals:

  • A proposal that would permit student-athletes to accept donations from an institutional staff or faculty member, excluding athletics department staff, when fundraising to cover expenses for participation in outside competitions.
  • A proposal that would specify that a student-athlete transferring from another NCAA division, a two-year college or the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics would be subject to the season-of-competition legislation applicable to the school where the athlete competed, rather than Division II legislation. The Management Council approved a modification recommended by the Legislation Committee that would not charge Division III student-athletes with a season upon transfer if they only practiced at the Division III institution.
  • A proposal that is being considered in all three divisions that would require every school and conference to establish a diversity and inclusion designee for athletics.

The Management Council did not advance one legislative concept from the Division II Championships Committee that would increase the permissible length of tryouts for golf from two hours to four hours. An almost duplicate proposal was submitted by the membership, with one key difference: The permissible length of tryouts requested in the membership-sponsored proposal is five hours. The Management Council referred this membership-sponsored proposal and six others to relevant committees for review.

Management Council/SAAC Summit

Before the Management Council’s meeting Monday and Tuesday in Indianapolis, the council members gathered over the weekend for their annual summit with the national Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. The summit provides an opportunity each year for the two groups to discuss key issues in Division II, ensuring the student-athlete voice is well represented in the governance process.

This year’s meeting included a review of the proposed legislation for the 2020 NCAA Convention; a discussion about the Division II regular-season media agreement; a review of a new Division II University module titled “Bylaw 17 and Life in the Balance,” created following SAAC’s “voluntold” discussions; and a professional development session on communication skills for leaders.

The council and SAAC also were able to take part in a Make-A-Wish reveal for a 4-year-old Indianapolis girl.