Council supports sport-safety certification for head coaches
MINNEAPOLIS – Following the failure of two previous efforts to ensure broad access to emergency care for student-athletes, the Division III Management Council is taking a more straightforward approach this year by endorsing cosponsorship of a conference’s proposal to require head coaches to be certified in first aid, CPR and use of an AED.
The Council took the action at the request of the Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which unsuccessfully has asked the membership at the past two Conventions to take such steps as requiring the presence of certified personnel at athletics activities and familiarity with emergency plan-activation policies.
The proposal is one of five that were forwarded to the Division III Presidents Council for consideration.
Saying it wants to achieve a “minimum benchmark” for responding to student-athletes’ medical emergencies, the SAAC asked the Council to endorse joining the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference as sponsors of the proposal to require certification of head coaches only.
“We want to get something out there, to get something going and establish the minimum benchmark,” said Chris Wolf of Nebraska Wesleyan, who represents the SAAC on the Management Council.
SAAC also asked the Council to consider amending the NEWMAC proposal to require creation of an emergency activation plan in athletics departments, but accepted Council members’ judgment that doing so likely would generate opposition to the proposal.
Wolf said SAAC members agree there are other ways -- for example, by asking about the existence of emergency plans in Division III’s Institutional Self-Study Guide -- to lead member institutions to create a plan for responding to a medical emergency.
During its meeting this week in Minneapolis, the Management Council also forwarded proposals to add equestrian to Division III’s emerging-sports list and to remove from that list four sports that have not progressed toward gaining enough programs to achieve NCAA championships status.
It also endorsed two other proposals:
• A Playing and Practice Seasons Subcommittee recommendation to sponsor legislation to permit an institution to conclude the fall nontraditional season on a date coinciding with the beginning of final exams, rather than the current established end date of October 30.
• A Division III Championships Committee recommendation to sponsor legislation establishing a uniform October 15 start date for practice in ice hockey. The Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Committee and the Management Council Playing and Practice Seasons Subcommittee will be asked to provide input before the September 1 deadline for sponsoring Convention legislation.
If sponsored by the Presidents Council, the five proposals endorsed by the Management Council would join two Convention proposals that the presidents already have placed on the Convention agenda. Those proposals would:
• Permit coaches to provide a workout program tailored to specific needs and limitations of an individual student-athlete (while continuing to prohibit coaches from conducting such workouts and reaffirming that the activity must be voluntary).
• Reinstate a requirement that an institution’s team be charged with its once-in-three-years opportunity for a foreign tour if more than a limited number of student-athletes representing that institution participate on an outside team during a foreign tour.
The Management Council also considered, but did not forward to the Presidents Council, a Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee recommendation to sponsor legislation to require as a condition and obligation of membership the annual submission of a statement indicating athletics department compliance with institutional policies pertaining to hiring.
The Council instead asked MOIC to review Division III’s recent action to address adherence to hiring policies through the Institutional Self-Study Guide (which institutions must complete once every five years) and also to consider the possibility of asking specifically about adherence in the annual Division III certification-of-compliance form signed by the institution’s president or chancellor.
Turning to other matters, the Council:
• Reviewed feedback obtained during the recent Town Hall Meetings on growth-related issues and learned more about the Presidents Council’s plan to produce a series of “white papers” addressing topics arising from a survey early this year that focused on membership issues. The Presidents Council plans to share drafts of the papers with the Division III Chancellors and Presidents Advisory Group during an August 6 meeting in Indianapolis, and then will share the papers with the membership early this fall. Council members expect to play a role in leading discussions resulting from the papers during conference meetings leading up to the 2009 Convention.
• Received a preliminary report on the first year of Division III’s two-year drug-education and testing pilot, which is seeking to assess whether education -- both with and without drug testing -- can deter substance use among student-athletes. Nearly 9,000 student-athletes completed “pre-test” surveys used to establish a baseline for that assessment and “post-test” surveys recently were completed. Nearly 2,000 drug tests were conducted during the first year of the pilot program. A final report of pilot study findings will be made available to the membership this fall.
• Approved a Division III Championships Committee recommendation that members of a conference -- including those whose members are in multiple regions -- be permitted to count competition against each other as in-region without obtaining a waiver, for purposes of eligibility for championships selection.
• Acting in response to a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee request to consider the possibility of increasing the maximum number of student-athletes who are permitted to be in the bench area at championships, asked sports committees to evaluate bench limits and to consider whether increases could be accommodated without increasing roster limits.
• Ratified renaming the Management Council’s Administrative Review Subcommittee, which now will be known as the Subcommittee on Legislative Relief to better describe its charge; also, approved a recommendation to give the subcommittee (which already is responsible for other waiver requests involving Bylaw 16) authority over incidental-expense waivers.
• Thanked departing SAAC representative Kayla Hinkley of the University of New England, whose committee term ends this summer, for her Council service. Hinkley will be replaced as one of SAAC’s two Council representatives by Ashley Snell, a former volleyball student-athlete from Rivier.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association