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DIII student-athletes soon may be included in NCAA Transfer Portal

Presidents Council supports expanded use of the tool

Division III student-athletes soon may be permitted to be included in the NCAA Transfer Portal, like their peers in Divisions I and II.

At a meeting this week in Indianapolis, the Division III Presidents Council approved a recommendation from the Division III Administrative Committee that the division’s student-athletes be allowed — though not required — to use the portal beginning in the 2019-20 academic year. The Presidents Council is expected to review further details regarding the portal’s use in Division III when it reconvenes this summer.

Division III coaches and administrators now have read-only access to the portal, which includes athletes from only Divisions I and II. It is used as a compliance tool that provides academics and athletics information relevant to the transfer process. The change would allow compliance directors to enter and view information about Division III student-athletes who hope to transfer to a different school. The portal would not supersede the student-athlete self-release form.

“I think the presidents were very interested in supporting this because we’d like our Division III student-athletes to have the same opportunities and services as athletes from other divisions, and this is just an example of that,” said Sue Henderson, Presidents Council chair and New Jersey City president.

Athletics diversity and inclusion designation

The Presidents Council sponsored a legislative proposal recommended by the Division III Management Council that calls for all member schools and conference offices to add an athletics diversity and inclusion designee. The designation would not necessitate a new hire. It could be a title conferred upon a current staff member — inside or outside the athletics department — who would be charged with serving as the primary contact and conduit for diversity and inclusion-related information. The position would be comparable to the function of the athletics health care administrator, but for diversity and inclusion efforts. The proposal will be subject to a membership vote at the 2020 NCAA Convention during the Division III business session.

“Across the country, universities and colleges are having to think about how to be much more inclusive, and I think athletic departments need to take the lead in that,” Henderson said.

The proposal was brought forward by the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee and is being considered by all three divisions. Division III delegates will vote on the proposal at the 2020 Division III Business Session.

Conference composition legislation

The Presidents Council endorsed a proposal for the 2020 Convention, sponsored by the Management Council via the Division III Membership Committee, that would permit provisional institutions involved in year three or four of the new member process to count toward the seven institutions needed to form a Division III conference. At least four of those seven members, though, would need to be active Division III colleges or universities.

Graduate student eligibility

The Presidents Council also adjusted waiver criteria relevant to graduate transfers.

Division III members adopted legislation in 2018 that permitted graduate and postbaccalaureate students who graduated from Division III schools and have remaining eligibility to transfer and compete at another Division III school. While that change pertained only to those who graduated from Division III schools, a waiver opportunity exists for student-athletes who demonstrated exemplary academic performance at a school outside Division III.

The previous waiver criteria required that graduate student-athletes hailing from outside Division III had to graduate in less than four academic years, among other conditions. This week the Presidents Council voted to change that rule, per a recommendation from the Management Council Subcommittee on Legislative Relief.

Graduate students from outside Division III will now meet minimum waiver criteria if they graduate within four consecutive academic years with no breaks in enrollment and have at least one season of eligibility remaining with at least a 3.0 GPA. (Their remaining eligibility will be measured by Division III’s parameters — specifically, a redshirt year at a non-Division III institution would count as a season used.) The subcommittee felt the previous standard was no longer an accurate measure of academic success.