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Members discuss DI proposals at Issues Forum

Recruitment process in several sports – including football, women’s basketball – on spring agenda

Representatives from Division I colleges and universities gathered Thursday at the Division I Issues Forum at the NCAA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, to review legislative proposals and provide feedback before the Division I Council considers them in April.

Among the items on the division’s agenda this spring, the Council will consider changes to recruiting rules in several sports, particularly football, where a new date for official visits and other changes have been proposed. About 300 representatives from Division I schools listened Thursday as committee chairs and national office staff described the proposals and, through live polling, solicited feedback.

The division representatives also discussed the contributions made by student-athletes since they began filling seats on various committees within the governance structure. Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee co-chair Brady Bramlett, who also holds a seat on the division’s highest-level committee, the Division I Board of Directors, told the members how the student-athlete perspective has helped shape many of the issues now being considered by the division. Some examples included the proposed recruiting process changes and legislation tied to restricting the demands athletics places on student-athletes’ time.

Among the next priorities for the SAAC, Bramlett said, will be to improve communication between the national committee and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committees at the conference and campus levels.

“We’ve discovered a lot of student-athletes don’t understand a lot of what happens at the NCAA,” said Bramlett, a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi who competed in baseball and is now pursuing a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications at the school. “We want to make sure we educate our fellow student-athletes on what we do.”

Also at the Issues Forum, members listened to descriptions of legislative proposals that will come before the Council in April. Among the proposals were:

  • Changes to the football recruitment model that would allow an early signing period and change how coaches and prospective student-athletes can interact at camps and clinics.
  • Changes proposed by the Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee Ad Hoc Working Group on Recruiting, which spent several months reviewing the recruiting calendar, events certification process and the evolution of recruitment in women’s basketball. The working group focused its work on protecting the well-being of current and prospective women’s basketball student-athletes and the work-life balance of Division I women’s basketball coaches.
  • A number of other changes to the recruiting process – such as changes to the dates when prospective student-athletes can begin reaching out to coaches, and further restricting the dates for off-campus contacts and unofficial visits – have been proposed for a number of other sports. Softball, field hockey, women’s volleyball and wrestling are among the sports in which changes are proposed.
  • The Council will also consider some proposals related to athletics eligibility, including one that would reduce the requirements for male college students to regularly practice with women’s teams.  Those students would only be required to be full-time students and have time remaining in their five-year periods of eligibility.

In the Division I governance structure, the Council, comprised mostly of Division I athletics administrators but also faculty members, conference commissioners and student-athletes, gives the final approval on legislative items. The Division I Board of Directors, made up mostly of university presidents from the division, monitors the Council’s decisions to ensure they are following the policies and strategies of Division I.