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DIII committee endorses snack proposal

Membership-sponsored legislation would permit schools to provide snacks to athletes

The Division III Interpretations and Legislation Committee took formal positions on a pair of key legislative proposals sponsored by Division III members at a meeting last week in Indianapolis. The committee’s recommendations will be passed to the Division III Management Council and Division III Presidents Council, which will decide whether to endorse or oppose this year’s membership-sponsored Convention proposals at its October meeting.

Snacks for student-athletes

The committee recommended that the governance structure endorse a proposal sponsored by more than 20 institutions from several Division III conferences that would allow schools to provide snacks and permissible nutritional supplements to student-athletes (beyond what is already permitted during road trips).

The proposal is similar to a rule Division II adopted in 2015 and a comparable Division III proposal last year that was ultimately struck down by the Presidents Council before it reached the Convention floor for a vote. The Interpretations and Legislation Committee introduced that 2018 proposal, saying permitting snacks would be beneficial for student-athletes, and it relied on that rationale again this year when backing the new iteration of the proposal.

“The committee determined that providing snacks for student-athletes is in the best interest of the students,” said Angie Morenz, committee chair and dean of work at Blackburn. “This has been an ongoing conversation for the committee, and the group felt that proposal addresses potential concerns about food stability and nutrition for student-athletes.”

Voluntary leadership activities

The committee recommended that the governance structure oppose a proposal from the North Coast Athletic Conference and Upper Midwest Athletic Conference that seeks to allow student-athletes to voluntarily participate in athletics-related leadership programing outside of their playing season with members of their school’s coaching staff. The proposal offers several caveats designed to limit the nature of the activity, such as prohibiting on-field, court or floor activity, the use of equipment, or discussing offensive or defensive strategy.

The proposal’s sponsors noted that leadership development is a vital part of Division III’s philosophy and that the change would create opportunities for coaches to spend time out of season to work with student-athletes to directly sharpen their leadership skills. Ultimately, though, committee members felt that this sort of voluntary out-of-season activity might place additional strain on already-busy student-athletes, taking into account comparable feedback from the Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

“The committee felt that leadership education directed by coaches is already legislated during the playing season,” Morenz said. “To expand permissible educational opportunities outside the playing season would put undue, or additional, pressure on a student-athlete. The committee takes the views of SAAC very seriously. Every decision impacts their experience immediately, so it weighed heavily on this decision.”