NCAA News Archive - 2008

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Presidents Council considers role in future discussion of issues

Apr 25, 2008 8:42:03 AM

By Jack Copeland
The NCAA News

The Division III Presidents Council -- after noting that approximately 90 percent of presidents participated in institutional discussions about how to respond to a membership issues survey that recently halted consideration of restructuring -- is exploring ways of encouraging colleagues to remain engaged as the division begins to consider other approaches to addressing problems arising from the division’s size and diversity.

Council members agreed that results of the 75-question survey -- which in addition to revealing little support for restructuring also suggested varying levels of comfort in such areas as minimum sport sponsorship, prohibition of athletically related financial aid and access to championships -- suggest issues where presidential input is needed to ensure that Division III maintains fundamental principles as it continues to grow.

The Council, meeting Thursday in Indianapolis, agreed to consider sponsoring a series of issue-oriented “white papers” that would address topics arising from survey results as well as from discussions during a series of Town Hall Meetings in Indianapolis (May 8), Boston (May 19) and San Antonio (June 2).

The Council suggested producing preliminary drafts of the papers in time to discuss the approach with the Division III Chancellors and Presidents Advisory Group when it meets with the Council August 6.

Members suggested the papers are a way in which the Council can share its perspective and offer leadership in upcoming discussions about the issues, while encouraging presidential colleagues to become as engaged in those discussions as they were in responding to the recent survey.

Members agreed that the papers should address issues in the context of the division’s current philosophy statement and how the statement’s tenets are applied practically by Division III institutions in intercollegiate athletics.

One member suggested the papers should serve as a “rallying call to strengthen what we already have,” given the strong support demonstrated by the membership for the current divisional structure.

Council members agreed that, at a minimum, the effort could reinforce a broad understanding throughout the membership of the rationale behind elements of the philosophy statement.

The idea for the papers grew out of the Council’s review of survey results and of final recommendations from the Division III Working Group on Membership Issues.

Last week, the Division III Management Council assigned issues listed by the working group to various committees for further review. The Presidents Council, in its own review of the working group’s report, focused on ensuring that presidents will have a leadership role in future discussions.

Other highlights

  • Approved recommendations from the Division III Strategic Planning and Finance Committee for the two-year budget cycle beginning in fall 2008. The budget includes a $2 increase in championships per diem for 2008-09 to keep pace with inflation and an additional $3 increase in 2009-10, ultimately boosting per diem from the current $75 to $80, and also an increase in 2008-09 in officials’ per diem from $40 to $45. It also includes funding for nonchampionships initiatives, including an additional $90,000 for the Strategic Initiative Conference Grant Program and $110,000 to fund four additional positions on institutional and conference staffs through the Division III Ethnic Minority and Women’s Internship Grant Program.
  • Approved a recommendation to permit the Division III Financial Aid Committee to propose punitive measures when institutions are found in violation of legislative standards through the annual financial aid reporting process. The recommended penalties will be forwarded to the enforcement staff and, if necessary, the Division III Committee on Infractions. The emphasis during the first three years of the reporting process has been educational in nature. Potential new penalties include a public reprimand, and loss of membership benefits and championships access.
  • Agreed to sponsor two legislative proposals for the 2009 Convention. One 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). The other would 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.

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