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DIII Administrative Committee recommends not competing in the fall term

Committee establishes path forward for those pursuing fall competition

The Division III Administrative Committee recommends member schools not compete in the fall term to avoid potential increased health and safety risks.

The committee took legislative action, effective immediately, that requires schools that decide to engage in outside competition during the fall term to review existing health care cost coverage with student-athletes to help them make an informed decision about participation. Further, schools must inform student-athletes of the risk classification of their sports according to the Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: Action Plan Considerations and provide information about how the school is complying with the NCAA Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: Developing Standards for Practice and Competition.

The committee met Thursday via videoconference to discuss the directives from the NCAA Board of Governors regarding student-athlete well-being issues due to COVID-19.

The Administrative Committee received feedback from members across the division heading into the meeting, including members of the Presidents and Management Councils, the Presidents Advisory Group, and the executive committees of the Division III Commissioners Association and the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators.

“Any competition this term in the current environment will increase the health and safety risks of not only our student-athletes, but also coaches, staff and campus communities,” said Tori Murden McClure, chair of the Presidents Council and president at Spalding. “We also have concerns of the potential health care cost exposure for member institutions if a student-athlete contracts COVID-19 through athletically related activities. Today’s action will help ensure that member schools and student-athletes make an informed decision regarding these issues.”

Consistent with the Board of Governors, the Administrative Committee believed it is inappropriate for student-athletes and their families to unknowingly assume related health care expenses when local health officials apply established contact tracing protocol and identify athletics competition as the source of a student-athlete’s COVID-19 infection.

In addition, the committee encouraged the Association as a whole to address the need for insurance coverage for athletically related illness, similar to current coverage for athletically related injuries.

The Administrative Committee also took action on two other relevant directives from the Board of Governors:

  • The committee adopted noncontroversial legislation, effective immediately, that institutions may not require student-athletes to waive their legal rights regarding COVID-19 as a condition of participating in athletics.
  • It also clarified that, for the 2020-21 academic year, all full-time enrolled student-athletes who opt out (that is, the student-athlete decides not to engage in any activity during or after the first contest) would get a two-semester/three-quarter extension.