Division III panel ends restructuring discussion
A Division III panel meeting this week in Indianapolis ended its discussion of creating a new NCAA division or subdivision to address the growth of Division III, recommending instead that the Association adopt a more broad-based approach in responding to its continuing growth.
The Division III Working Group on Membership Issues, which last fall suggested creating a new division or subdividing Division III in anticipation of divisional growth to 480 members by 2020, made the decision after reviewing preliminary results from a membership survey that asked for opinions about restructuring, among other questions.
The working group’s suggestion was to create a new classification based on higher minimum sports sponsorship and also featuring other membership standards that would have distinguished it from the current Division III.
The survey’s results will not publicly be released until April 9, after an Association-wide working group established by the NCAA Executive Committee to study membership issues also has an opportunity to review the findings. But members of the Division III panel characterized the degree of opposition to the restructuring recorded in the survey as consistent with the level of opposition that was expressed during an NCAA Convention discussion of the working group’s proposal.
A number of delegates argued during the Convention discussion in January that restructuring is too severe a step for dealing with Division III membership growth and its byproducts, while others said the membership needs more time to explore all options for accommodating future growth. Delegates and survey responses both urged more active participation by Division II in the development of new membership models.
The working group continues to believe that membership growth will aggravate differences among Division III institutions on such questions of minimum sports sponsorship, “redshirting,” appropriate membership standards and competitive restrictions, and also will make it increasingly difficult to maintain current levels of championships access and national office services.
Working group members, anticipating a series of Division III Town Hall meetings scheduled beginning in May, recommended that the membership begin discussing alternatives for addressing growth-related concerns during those sessions.
The working group also listed several topics for further consideration that were subjects of questions in the survey, including financial aid policies, sport-sponsorship levels, playing and practice seasons restrictions, championships access and membership standards
The working group also recommended that the Executive Committee establish a new working group to explore issues related to membership growth and structure on a broader basis. Such a review could include discussion sessions at the 2009 Convention, with legislative recommendations for membership consideration at subsequent conventions.
Division III’s Town Hall meetings will be May 8 in Indianapolis, May 19 in Boston and June 2 in San Antonio.
Registration continues for the Indianapolis meeting (here), and the NCAA is offering limited reimbursement for expenses of attending that session. Institutions that send representatives to the meeting can receive $75 for one participant or $150 to help cover attendance by two or more participants. However, attendees are responsible for their own travel and hotel expenses and arrangements.
The Boston and San Antonio sessions are scheduled during NCAA Regional Rules Seminars in those cities. Those who wish to attend only the Town Hall Meeting in Boston or San Antonio should register to do so through the regional seminars’ registration process (here). Funding to attend the Boston and San Antonio regional seminars can be requested from conferences or the Association of Division III Independents.
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