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Division II philosophy statement

In addition to the purposes and fundamental policy of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, as set forth in Constitution 1, members of Division II believe that a well-conducted intercollegiate athletics program, based on sound educational principles and practices, is a proper part of the educational mission of a university or college and that the educational well-being and academic success of the participating student-athlete is of primary concern.

Higher education has lasting importance on an individual’s future success. As such, Division II supports the educational mission of college athletics by fostering a balanced approach in which student-athletes learn and develop through their desired academic pursuits, in civic engagement with their communities and in athletics competition. Division II athletics programs also are committed to establishing an inclusive culture in which persons of all backgrounds are respected and given the opportunity to provide input and to participate.

Division II members abide by the following principles that help define and distinguish the division:

(a)   Division II colleges and universities are expected to operate their athletics programs with integrity and in a welcoming manner that complies with conference and NCAA rules and regulations. Institutional control is a fundamental principle that supports the institution’s educational mission and assumes presidential involvement and oversight;

(b)  Division II members fund their athletics programs in a manner that aligns with the institution’s budget and educational mission. This method of funding features a “partial scholarship” model that allows Division II schools to recognize student-athletes for their skills through athletics-based grants, but student-athletes can accept merit-based aid and academic scholarships as well;

(c)   Division II believes in a balanced approach that integrates athletics into the college experience and allows students to focus on their academic pursuits and participate in other campus and community activities. This “Life in the Balance” emphasis facilitates learning through:

(1)  Academics. Division II offers exceptional teacher-student ratios that provide student-athletes with a quality education in the academic curriculum of their choice. The division structures its eligibility requirements to facilitate student-athletes earning their degrees, which is measured in part by an institution’s student-athletes graduating at least at the same rate as the institution’s student body;

(2)  Athletics. Division II supports athletics achievement through highly competitive programs that strive to participate in the division’s 25 national championships, which offer the best access ratio among the NCAA’s three divisions. Division II also supports a regionalization model in scheduling that reduces time away from campus and keeps athletics participation in perspective within the educational mission;

(3)  Community engagement. Division II athletics programs actively engage with their communities to enhance relationships between student-athletes and community members and develop a shared civic experience. Division II promotes engagement at the local, conference and national levels, including at all Division II national championships; and

(4)  Post-graduation success. Division II supports a higher education model that shapes student-athletes who graduate with the skills and knowledge to be productive citizens. The balanced approach allows student-athletes to focus on their academic pursuits, their internships, and whatever else it takes to prepare them for life after graduation;

(d)  Division II members support the utmost in sportsmanship by committing to a “game environment” initiative that establishes an atmosphere at athletics contests that is both energetic and respectful; and

(e)   Division II promotes student-athlete involvement in decision-making through campus, conference and national Student-Athlete Advisory Committees that provide leadership opportunities and offer a representative voice in the division’s governance structure.