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DIII Management Council supports snacks proposal

Group also weighs in on remaining membership-sponsored legislation

The Division III Management Council formally has voiced its support for a proposal that would loosen restrictions on the snacks that Division III schools can provide its student-athletes.

At a meeting this week in Indianapolis, the Management Council recommended the Division III Presidents Council endorse the proposal, which has been sponsored by more than 20 member schools. The proposal would permit the provision of snacks and permissible nutritional supplements and, sponsors say, is designed to offer schools the flexibility to meet student-athletes’ nutritional needs and to alleviate administrative burdens associated with enforcing current prohibitions.

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 Division III Presidents Council before it reached the NCAA Convention floor for a vote.

“We want to be able to provide a safe and healthy environment for our student-athletes, and nutrition is part of that,” said Stevie Baker-Watson, chair of the Management Council and DePauw associate vice president for campus wellness and athletics director. “It allows our member institutions some autonomy on the issue on their own campuses.”

Other membership-sponsored proposals

In addition to the snacks proposal, the Management Council took official positions on the rest of the membership-sponsored proposals that will be up for vote at the 2020 Division III business session. Those decisions include:

  • Recommending that the Presidents Council endorse a pair of proposals that would amend the processes on admitting reclassified and provisional members. The first proposal calls for the application process for provisional institutions seeking admission into Division III to be reduced from four years to three years (plus the usual exploratory year). The second seeks to make the same reduction in the timeline for schools seeking to reclassify into Division III from another NCAA division (without the exploratory year).
  • Recommending that the Presidents Council oppose a proposal that would allow schools to provide practice expenses in golf and swimming and diving during official vacation periods regardless of location.
  • Recommending that the Presidents Council oppose a proposal that would 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.
  • Endorsing a proposal that would add equestrian as an emerging sport for women in Division III and establish relevant legislation related to playing and practice seasons and membership. In separate votes at the Convention, Division III members will decide whether equestrian and two other sports — women’s wrestling and acrobatics and tumbling, which were sponsored by the division’s governance structure this summer — will be added to the emerging sports list. “Any time we have an opportunity to support growth for women’s sports in particular, we’re going to do that,” Baker-Watson said.

Alcohol sales at 2020 joint men’s basketball championships

Per a recommendation from the Division III Championships Committee, the Management Council approved a waiver, which the Presidents Council will review next week, to permit alcohol sales at the 2020 Division III Men’s Basketball Championship. The decision was made in accordance with recently adopted legislation that permits alcohol sales at Division III championships held in conjunction with Division I in the same venue. In 2020, the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship will be held in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, while the Division II and III championships will be contested at the adjacent State Farm Arena. To ensure a consistent experience for fans at all events, the Management Council decided sales should be permitted for Division III contests as well.

Baseball and softball resolution

This fall, the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (now in conjunction with a handful of other Division III conferences) submitted a resolution calling for the Division III Softball and Baseball Committees and the Championships Committee to consider shifting the start dates for the championship tournaments in both sports. The conferences cite concerns related to compressed seasons due to more severe, and longer lasting, winter weather in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. Changing climate patterns, the conferences argue, have caused the start of the spring season to be delayed, which disrupts athletic and academic schedules. The Management Council referred the resolution to the Championships Committee for further discussion and will take an official position before Division III members vote on the resolution at the Convention. If adopted, the resolution calls for the respective sport committees and Championships Committee to explore possible scheduling alternative but does not mandate a change.

Officiating discussion

The Management Council convened with members of the NCAA’s championships staff to discuss ongoing efforts to address issues related to officiating across the Association. A study commissioned by the Division III Commissioners Association that seeks feedback from conference commissioners and other relevant sports administrators is expected by summer 2020, which will be used to inform a strategic plan to address referee shortages, fan behavior and gaps in training.