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DIII Management Council recommends an enrollment flexibility blanket waiver for 2021-22

Presidents Council will take final vote at its April 28 meeting

A blanket waiver could allow Division III student-athletes in the upcoming academic year to participate while enrolled less than full time for both semesters.

The Division III Management Council approved the recommendation from the Subcommittee for Legislative Relief at its quarterly meeting Tuesday. The proposal moves to the Presidents Council, which will take final action at its meeting April 28.

Due to waivers granted this year to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, student-athletes were effectively granted an additional year and season of eligibility. The Management Council wants to provide students who have graduated or are close to graduating a certain level of enrollment flexibility to use during the 2021-22 academic year. The recommendation maintains a base level of enrollment, ensuring students compete against students, while providing flexibility that supports graduation and participation.

Student-athletes who have graduated or will graduate during the 2021-22 academic year will be able to use this blanket waiver as follows:

  • If a student-athlete has graduated, then that student-athlete may be enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours each semester in a second baccalaureate or graduate program or classes approved by an academic authority outside of athletics that progresses a professional or career goal. 
  • If a student-athlete has not yet graduated, then two potential paths are available:
    • A student-athlete would need to be in a minimum of six credit hours during the fall 2021 semester and then satisfy the legislated final term exception in the spring semester of 2022.
    • The student-athlete satisfies the legislated final term exception in the fall 2021 semester and then is enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours in the spring 2022 semester in a second baccalaureate or graduate program or classes approved by an academic authority outside of athletics that progresses a professional or career goal.
  • This relief would be available to those on a quarter system on an equivalent basis.

“We recognized a need for extra flexibility in regard to enrollment to allow our student-athletes who wish to utilize their additional year and season of eligibility due to the pandemic,” said Jason Fein, director of athletics at Bates and chair of the Division III Management Council. “This provides the base level of enrollment for those students while supporting graduation and participation. Our subcommittee discussed the long-term implications of this waiver and will continue to evaluate the appropriateness of the enrollment flexibility past the 2021-22 academic year.”

2022 NCAA Convention legislation

The Management Council approved a slate of legislative items for the 2022 NCAA Convention, including sponsoring legislation incorporating elements of a current blanket waiver allowing greater flexibility with virtual recruiting involving multiple prospective student-athletes. The item was introduced to the council from the Division III Interpretations and Legislation Committee. The Management Council is also requesting the Division III Presidents Council sponsor Convention legislation to permit the Presidents Council to use an emergency legislative process.

The Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports asked the Management Council to discuss and introduce 2022 NCAA Convention legislation to eliminate the option for a student-athlete to sign a written release or waiver declining the sickle cell solubility test. The council agreed to introduce the legislation after discussing the relevant considerations related to the administration of sickle cell solubility tests, student-athlete privacy, and institutional management of the care of trait-positive student-athletes and how it has evolved since the adoption of the original legislation.   

Based on a recommendation by the Committee on Women’s Athletics, the Management Council will sponsor 2022 NCAA Convention legislation to add STUNT as an emerging sport for women.