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DIII Management Council weighs in on Convention legislation

The Management Council backed several recommendations, including a proposal to raise membership dues

The Division III legislative slate for the 2016 NCAA Convention has begun to take shape.

The Division III Management Council sponsored several pieces of legislation recommended by Division III committees and held preliminary discussions on membership-sponsored proposals when it convened on July 20-21 in Indianapolis.

The Management Council voted to support a proposal from the Division III Strategic Planning and Finance Committee that would push annual dues for Division III schools from $900 to $2,000 and from $450 to $1,000 for conferences. Several Division III committees have already spent the first half of the year discussing the feasibility of a dues increase. The increases would be used to offset other initiatives that the Management Council approved, including per diem increases at championship events and improved championships access for female swimmers. The Division III Presidents Council will vote on the proposal next and, if approved, it will reach the 2016 Convention floor for a membership vote.

“First, we recognized the good work the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee did on finding a new budget scenario moving forward that both reflects the needs of our membership and is also fiscally responsible,” said Lori Runksmeier, who is chair of the Management Council and was recently named athletics director at Eastern Connecticut State University. “I also think we appreciated the commitment to generating funding for some championships initiatives that we have had to cut back on.”

The Management Council also endorsed legislation that would alter the requirements for athletes to return to competition after losing eligibility following a positive drug test. Currently, the Division III Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement processes requests for those athletes to be reinstated only after the student-athlete has served the legislated penalty and retested negative on a drug test administered by the National Center for Drug Free Sport. Because the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement is simply verifying the negative drug test and has no discretionary authority on that type of reinstatement request, the committee made a recommendation to the Management Council that the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports should give final approval to restore a student’s athletic eligibility.

CSMAS, though, recently determined that it should not have authority to process reinstatement requests, an administrative action. So the Management Council took action to streamline the process and endorsed legislation that would not require the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement to approve a negative drug test. It, too, will be subject to a membership vote at the 2016 Convention.

“The Management Council wants to simplify and expedite the process for student-athletes by removing an administrative task performed by the reinstatement committee,” Runksmeier said.

Additionally, the Council reviewed 10 legislative proposals from the membership, noting that several of the proposals must receive additional sponsorship before the Sept.1 deadline if they are to be included in the 2016 Convention Notice. The Council identified various committees to provide feedback on each proposal and will determine its position, if any, on properly sponsored proposals at its October meeting. Some of the significant proposals that generated discussion among Management Council members include:

  • Deregulation of existing restrictions on electronic transmissions to recruits: This proposal would primarily affect rules pertaining to contact and publicity via social media between coaches and potential student-athletes. The Division III Interpretations and Legislation Committee as well as the Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will review the proposal in more detail before the Management Council takes an official position in the fall.
  • Establishing recruiting dead periods: The proposal seeks to establish dead periods around national holidays and coaches’ association conventions to improve the work/life balance of Division III coaches. Management Council members noted the topic was broached repeatedly by the Division III Recruiting Working Group, but membership survey data indicated a lack of support. The Management Council tasked SAAC and the Interpretations and Legislation Committee with reviewing this proposal.
  • Football nontraditional segment: The proposal to create a nontraditional segment for football was narrowly defeated at the 2015 Convention. It will return in the same form next year. The Management Council has asked the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, the Division III Football Committee, the Championships Committee, the Playing and Practice Seasons Subcommittee and Division III SAAC to weigh in on the proposal.

Other actions:

  • The Management Council asked the Interpretations and Legislation Committee to reconsider an interpretation regarding weight room use. The Interpretations and Legislation Committee recently reviewed the issue of athletes using weight rooms created solely for student-athletes – often referred to as “varsity weight rooms” – when they are out of season and determined this would be an impermissible reservation of an athletics facility. Some Management Council members noted this interpretation might cause overcrowding in their athletics facilities available to all students and that allowing student-athletes to use varsity weight rooms at any time could alleviate that issue. The Interpretations and Legislation Committee will reexamine the topic at a future meeting.
  • Tracey Ranieri, director of athletics at the State University of New York at Oneonta, was elected chair of the Management Council, effective January 2016. Dennis Leighton, faculty athletic representative at the University of New England, was elected vice chair and will also begin his term in January.