DII Presidents Council supports one membership-sponsored Convention proposal, opposes another

The Division II Presidents Council, during its meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Indianapolis, reviewed the four membership-sponsored proposals for the 2023 NCAA Convention. 

The council supported a proposal that would permit football players at a Division II school in their initial year of college enrollment to play in up to three games without triggering a season of competition. The council opposed one proposal that would expand summer access opportunities for signed prospective student-athletes and student-athletes in team sports. Additionally, the council took no position on two other membership-sponsored proposals.

This meeting marked the Presidents Council’s second with student-athlete representation since it approved adding two student-athletes as voting members this year. Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee member and Concordia-St. Paul football player Davaris Cheeks represented his peers for this meeting. 

Steven Shirley, president at Minot State and chair of the Division II Presidents Council, noted how beneficial the student-athlete voice was in the council’s discussions on these proposals.

“Presidents Council members engaged in robust discussions on these four membership-sponsored proposals, weighing each for their impact on student-athletes and their related alignment with our division’s priorities,” Shirley said. “Reviewing the recommendations from other Division II councils and committees, along with hearing the student-athlete voice during our deliberations, were extremely beneficial in finalizingour positions on these proposals.”

At the Division II business session of the 2023 Convention in January in San Antonio, there will be 12 proposals — four membership-sponsored proposals and eight sponsored by the Division II Presidents Council (review all the proposals here) — voted on via the division’s one-school, one-vote legislative process. For a proposal sponsored by the Division II membership to be voted on at an NCAA Convention, it must have at least 15 active Division II schools or two Division II conferences on behalf of 15 or more of their member schools as sponsors.

The membership-sponsored proposal the Presidents Council supported would permit football players at a Division II school in their initial year of college enrollment to participate in up to three contests without using a season of competition. The proposal was sponsored by the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Great Lakes Valley Conference, Gulf South Conference, Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and the South Atlantic Conference. As rationale for the proposal, the sponsors cited it could enhance the student-athlete experience, help with retention and improve Academic Success Rates. 

The Presidents Council agreed with the Division II Football Committee’s rationale for supporting the proposal, noting that it could help student-athletes become acclimated to contact and possibly assist with student-athlete retention.   

The proposal the Presidents Council opposed would expand summer access to permit signed prospective student-athletes and student-athletes in team sports to participate in individual workout sessions with a member of the coaching staff. The proposal has an immediate effective date. Sponsored by the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, the proposal specifies that access would be limited to two hours per week for a maximum of three weeks beginning July 5 through the start of the school’s fall term. Additionally, the proposal specifies that a signed prospective student-athlete or student-athlete must initiate the request for the workout. A waiver permitting similar access was granted for the 2020 and 2021 summers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Presidents Council signed on to the rationale of the Management Council in its opposition, which included concerns that signed prospective student-athletes and student-athletes would feel pressured to participate in summer activities and forgo internships, summer jobs or study-abroad opportunities. The Management Council’s rationale also noted that the proposal could impact the mental health of student-athletes and support staff members, such as athletic trainers. Additionally, the council noted that although similar relief was provided during the COVID-19 pandemic, that relief followed a time period when many Division II schools implemented remote learning and canceled sport seasons, making it difficult for student-athletes to participate in anything.

The Presidents Council took no position on two other membership-sponsored proposals. 

One proposal would permit a football team to scrimmage against another four-year college during its spring practice period as one of its three permissible 11-on-11 scrimmages outside the playing season. The scrimmage would have to occur on or after the 10th day of the spring practice period, allowing time for student-athletes to become acclimated to full contact. Additionally, the proposal specifies that a student-athlete’s participation in such a scrimmage would not trigger use of a season of competition if the student-athlete was academically eligible during the fall term. In taking no position, the Presidents Council cited a lack of injury-related data or information on the timing of the scrimmage and the benefits of the scrimmage against another four-year college. 

Another proposal the Presidents Council took no position on would permit a school to begin on-court preseason basketball practice 35 days before the school’s first regular-season game. Additionally, it would limit teams to no more than 25 days of countable athletically related activities during the on-court preseason practice period, providing more rest for student-athletes. Current legislation permits schools to begin preseason practice Oct. 15, while the first permissible date of competition is the second Friday in November — a 27-day window between the two this year. Sponsored by the Great American Conference, Gulf South Conference and the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, the proposal aims to provide more rest and recovery periods within the basketball preseason for student-athletes. 

The Presidents Council decided to take no position on this proposal due to equal rationales provided for and against it during the group’s discussion. 

Elections

Division II Presidents Council members re-elected Shirley to a second term as chair. His second term will run through the 2024 NCAA Convention. Shirley was also elected as vice chair of the Board of Governors this week. 

The Presidents Council also approved several appointments to the Division II Management Council. 

The council approved the election of Carrie Michaels, senior associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator at Shippensburg, as the chair of the Division II Management Council. Michaels will serve a one-year term beginning after the 2023 Division II business session. 

The Presidents Council approved the election of Jerry Wollmering, director of athletics at Truman State, as the vice chair of the Management Council, effective immediately. His term will run through the 2024 Division II business session. 

Additionally, the Presidents Council approved the elections of the following new members of the Management Council: 

  • Femi Alao, senior woman administrator at Roberts Wesleyan. 
  • Patrick Britz, commissioner of the South Atlantic Conference.
  • Jeremy Elliott, faculty athletics representative at Alabama Huntsville. 
  • Theresa Grosbach, senior woman administrator at Missouri Western. 
  • Katherine Loh, faculty athletics representative at Florida Southern.
  • Cindy McKnight, director of athletics and senior woman administrator at Ursuline. 
  • Roberta Page, director of athletics at Slippery Rock.
  • Sarah Ramey, senior woman administrator at West Texas A&M. 

Other items

  • The Presidents Council approved a revised long-range budget for Division II through the 2032 fiscal year. The revised long-range budget captures budget approvals for the 2022-23 fiscal year and aligns the Division II revenue allocation with the NCAA’s 10-year financial plan. It also provides enhancements to Division II championships, distributions to member schools and conferences, and other strategic initiatives.  
  • The Presidents Council approved a recommendation to expand the Division II Softball Championship’s finals site format from six to seven days, starting with the 2023 championship. The finals site format was expanded from five to six days for the 2022 championship to enhance the student-athlete experience, while the Division II Softball Committee and Championships Committee reviewed whether additional expansion was appropriate.
  • The Presidents Council adopted noncontroversial legislation to amend the effective date for one part of a Convention proposal that would amend the organizational structure of Division II’s Presidents Council, Management Council, Administrative Committee, and Planning and Finance Committee. The Presidents Council approved changing the proposal’s effective date for the Management Council’s restructuring from Aug. 1, 2023, to Feb. 1, 2024. The Management Council recommended the change to provide an opportunity for an expanded pool of candidates to meet the new composition requirements in the proposal and to align with the effective date of the changes to the Presidents Council and Planning and Finance Committee.

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