Division III Governance

"One Institution, One Vote" is the long-standing philosophy of the Division III governance structure. The democratic style in which all member schools vote on and hold themselves accountable to various policies and procedures has been in place since the division was established in 1973.

Bylaws governing Division III and its 450 member schools and 43 voting conference offices are adopted through a membership-driven legislative process that culminates annually in a voting session during the NCAA Convention in January.

The process centers around the presidents, athletics direct reports, athletics administrators and staff, coaches, faculty representatives, conference personnel and student-athletes from Division III institutions and conferences who volunteer to serve on dozens of NCAA committees. The committees, led by the Division III Presidents Council, conduct the division’s day-to-day business ranging from championship administration to budget allocations, collect feedback from the membership, and establish strategic direction for the future. The NCAA national office staff in Indianapolis assists the membership by administering the committees.

The student-athlete voice is a critically important component of the Division III governance structure. Two members of the Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee participate and vote in meetings of the Division III Management Council, the division’s primary policy-making body. The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee also takes a position and engages in debate on key proposals at the NCAA Convention.

Many of the Division III regulations – as well as proposals to change existing policies – develop within the committee governance structure throughout the year, while other legislative proposals are submitted by member institutions and conferences.

Proposals from the membership must be sponsored by at least 20 active member institutions, or at least two active member conferences, and must be submitted by July 15. Those proposals then filter through the governance structure to be considered by the relevant committees.

All of these bylaws and regulations are published annually in the NCAA Division III Manual, which is the division’s official governing rulebook.

For a visual of how the Division III governance structure works, check out the infographic below.