The student-athlete voice in the Division II governance process might get a little bit louder.
While reviewing their involvement in various NCAA governing groups, members of the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee on Sunday spotted an opportunity. The Division II Management Council, a 27-member group of athletic directors, senior woman administrators, conference administrators and faculty athletic representatives, could be an outlet to provide more of the student-athlete perspective, SAAC members agreed. All they need is a seat on the Council.
“We already feel that with our ability to speak on the Convention floor, the student-athlete voice is heard,” said SAAC Vice-Chair Spencer Dodd, who plays baseball at Saint Martin’s. “But we wanted to look at what avenues there were to enhance that.”
Representation on the Management Council appeals to the student-athletes, Dodd said, because of the “tremendous relationship” the two groups already have. The Management Council and SAAC meet each July at a summit to discuss issues affecting Division II. “We’re looking to add to that, so we can increase the communication even more,” Dodd said.
Efforts to amplify the student-athlete voice have increased across all divisions. The Division III SAAC already has a seat, as well as a vote, on the Division III Management Council. Division I, which is currently restructuring its system of governance, is considering adding one student-athlete to the Division I Board of Directors and two student-athletes to the new 34-member body tentatively called the “Council.”
The Division II SAAC has not decided whether they would seek a vote on the council. The two groups will discuss details of the SAAC request – including whether they would have one or more representatives – at the July summit.
Management Council members greeted the idea with enthusiasm when they heard it Monday.
“I think it’d be great to have representation here,” said Scott Swain, athletics director at Notre Dame (Ohio). “We could ask the student-athlete, ‘What do you think about this legislation?’ That would be invaluable.”
Full-time AD, Compliance Officer Proposal Moves Forward
Also Monday, a proposal that would require all Division II schools to employ a full-time athletics director and a full-time compliance administrator – no coaching duties attached – came one step closer to fruition.
The Division II Management Council easily voted in favor of sponsoring the proposal, which was recommended by the Division II Membership Committee and will move on to a vote next week by the Division II Presidents Council.
The requirement to employ both a full-time athletics director and compliance administrator is already in place for schools applying for Division II membership. Among current members, the impact from the rule change would be small; only about 10 percent of the existing membership has an athletics director and/or compliance administrator who is also a coach, according to the 2013 Division II Membership Census. To give these schools sufficient time to make staff changes and adjust budgets, the new requirements would not go into effect until Aug. 1, 2018. Any school that has not complied after that date would be put on probation for a year.
For many members of the Council, the move is necessary to hold incoming and existing Division II members to the same requirements, and to reduce conflicts of interest.
“We want to be consistent because it’s the best model for the student-athlete,” said Karen Stromme, senior woman administrator and assistant athletics director at Minnesota Duluth, and chair of the Management Council. The roles for administrators and coaches in Division II have grown in recent years, she explained, making it difficult to effectively juggle the responsibilities. “You can’t be Superman.”