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DII Presidents Council votes to withdraw NIL proposal

Members emphasize continued commitment to rules that benefit student-athletes

During its virtual NCAA Convention meeting Tuesday, the Division II Presidents Council voted to withdraw the division’s name, image and likeness proposal from consideration during Friday’s business session.

The Presidents Council’s action followed NCAA President Mark Emmert’s request for all three divisions to delay voting on name, image and likeness legislation amid recent judicial, political and enforcement issues related to the proposals.

“The Presidents Council remains supportive of the Division II legislative proposal developed around name, image and likeness, which followed a process that included thorough input from the membership and our student-athletes,” said Sandra Jordan, chancellor of South Carolina Aiken and chair of the Division II Presidents Council.

“However, given the current environment that is outside of Division II’s control, the DII Presidents Council believes the responsible and prudent response is for the division to postpone a vote until such time that the NCAA can gather additional relevant information about the potential impact of the various external concerns currently surfacing around this issue.”

Civic engagement proposal

The Presidents Council sponsored a civic engagement legislative concept for the 2022 NCAA Convention 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. It is designed to provide more opportunities for student-athletes to participate in civic engagement activities like voting, volunteering and other community engagement.

Division II SAAC noted that the proposal supports its “Total Package Student-Athlete” goal that encourages student-athletes to be well-rounded students.

The concept will return in legislative form to the Management Council and Presidents Council in April.

Planning and Finance Committee

The Presidents Council approved a recommendation from the Division II Planning and Finance Committee to suspend or reduce some Division II initiatives during the current fiscal year. The recommendation comes as the division faces budget 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.

In October, the NCAA Board of Governors updated 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 long-term financial stability. 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.

Elections

Allison Garrett, president of Emporia State, was elected to serve as chair of the Presidents Council. Garrett is currently the council’s vice chair and chair of the Division II Planning and Finance Committee. Her term as chair of the Presidents Council begins July 1 and expires at the end of the 2022 Convention. Garrett is eligible for re-election.

Blake Thompson, president of Mississippi College, was approved to serve on the Division II Presidents Council as its Region 2 representative. Thompson’s term begins immediately and runs through the 2027 Convention.

Joint meeting with Management Council, SAAC

Earlier on Tuesday, Division II’s Presidents Council, Management Council and SAAC held a joint meeting. The group of presidents, chancellors, athletics administrators, faculty athletic representatives and student-athlete leaders discussed several topics.

This included a four-person panel to discuss lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and from the social justice activism displayed in college athletics in 2020. The group also reflected on NCAA governance decisions during the pandemic and noted positive takeaways from the past year. The panel members were Alex Shillow, senior football player at Texas A&M-Commerce; Gayle Hutchinson, president of Chico State; Bob Dranoff, commissioner of the East Coast Conference; and Jim Johnson, director of athletics at Pittsburg State.

The joint meeting also included round table discussions of the impact of COVID-19 on campus. The groups shared changes made during the pandemic that they would like to see continue, others they would not and how Division II can benefit from the challenges of COVID-19, among other items.