NCAA News Archive - 2008

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Division III Management Council refers membership issues for study

Apr 16, 2008 1:16:21 AM

By Jack Copeland
The NCAA News

Issues identified by the recently disbanded Division III Working Group on Membership Issues stemming from the division’s membership growth and diversity soon will be considered by a variety of committees, following referrals by the Division III Management Council.

The Council, which concluded its spring meeting yesterday in Indianapolis, also suggested how a series of Town Hall Meetings beginning May 8 could help move the division forward in addressing issues ranging from championships access to membership standards to division branding and identity.

The working group listed several issues that Division III will need to address in accommodating projected growth to 480 members by 2020, now that the membership has indicated through a recent survey that it does not support the creation of a new division or subdivision as a solution.

The Council referred issues to the following committees:

  • Championships Committee. The committee was asked to review access to championships, including survey findings that 48 percent of respondents support or strongly support adjusting the current championships access ratio (one per 6.5 members) and limiting the field in team championships to 64 as the best option for managing national championships. Other suggested approaches generated less support.
  •  Membership Committee. Several issues were assigned, including a review of membership standards, compliance, educational efforts to support compliance, and institutional accountability for meeting membership standards. The committee also was asked to review sport-sponsorship requirements, including survey findings that 76 percent of the membership prefers a higher sports sponsorship minimum than the current standard of 10 sports (52 percent supported the minimum of 12 that goes into effect in 2010), while  24 percent support the current standard of 10 or less. Also, the committee was asked to study recent work in Division II to demonstrate the role that a partial-scholarship model may play in attracting student-athletes to institutions, and to consider ways in which Division III might assist institutions in evaluating Division II as a membership option.
  • Financial Aid Committee. The committee was asked to review survey responses relating to financial aid, including a finding that 52 percent of the membership agrees or strongly agrees that consideration of leadership in athletics in financial aid packaging should be allowed, provided it is consistent with the consideration of leadership in other student activities.
  •  Strategic Planning and Finance Committee. It was asked to review future staffing and national office support for Division III in light of the division’s decision on restructuring, as well as budget priorities and the current membership dues structure. The committee also was asked to address branding and image considerations, in consultation with the national office’s branding and communications staff.
  • Playing and Practice Seasons Subcommittee. The Management Council subcommittee was asked to review survey results relating to playing and practice seasons, including a finding that about half of the membership supports the current limit of one date of competition during the nontraditional segment in team sports. One-third of the membership would like more dates of competition, while 17 percent would permit no dates of competition during the nontraditional segment.

Council members also offered suggestions for the conduct of the Town Hall Meetings that begin May 8 in Indianapolis. Similar meetings are planned May 19 in Boston and June 2 in San Antonio, during the NCAA Regional Rules Seminars in those cities.

After reviewing a preliminary agenda for the meetings -- which includes an opportunity to review membership survey results as well as discuss the issues that were forwarded by the Council to Division III committees for review -- Council members also urged that the membership be encouraged to help create an agenda for future discussions and to offer ideas about ways to address growth and diversity while preserving the Division III membership structure.

Council members also noted concerns expressed in survey responses as well as during an open forum at the January Convention about the process that resulted in the working group’s suggestion that Division III consider creation of a new division or subdivision in addressing growth issues.

The Council noted that the Town Hall Meetings should emphasize looking to the future rather revisiting that process, now that Division III has expressed its views on a structural solution to growth issues.



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