The normal Division I legislative process is on hold this year, although the Rule Working Group proposals are due to be voted on by the Division I Board of Directors in January. And while the Rules Working Group proposals are important, the bigger changes are coming next year and there are far fewer than in a normal Division I legislative cycle.
In Division II and III, it is more or less business as usual. Division II has a major package of reforms up for vote, the Ease of Burden package, which seeks to deregulate areas like pre-enrollment amateurism and recruiting visits. Division III is a little quiet this year, as the DIII leadership ponders a significant increase in recruiting regulation, possibly for next year.
What follows is a summary of the proposals in Division II and Division III. Strictly administrative proposals like those affecting the composition of committees were not included. Major changes are broken out with detailed summaries, while minor proposals are just listed. Where the intent is in quotes, it is straight from that division’s Official Notice.
Proposal 2013–6: Amateur Status Intent: “To specify that prior to initial full-time collegiate enrollment, only receipt of a benefit from an agent or entering into an agreement with an agent will jeopardize an individual’s amateur status.”
Division II’s pre-enrollment amateurism rules have always been looser than Division I. But, as the proposal’s rationale points out, they were still confusing. A prospect could receive a professional salary and still be eligible in Division II, but not have his expenses paid by anyone other than his or team or parents. This cleans up the DII rules and makes agent violations the only ones athletes must worry about before enrolling at a Division II school.
Proposal 2013–7: Official and Campus Visits Intent: Amend the official and unofficial visit legislation as below.
Proposal 2013–7 seeks to make major changes to unofficial and official visits. Some of those changes include:
- Rename unofficial visits to “campus visits”;
- Allow schools to arrange for parking and pay for meals on campus visits;
- Allow prospects to take official visits starting June 15 before their junior year;
- Remove the 48-hour limit for official visits.
These are major changes to the visit legislation. Prospects already get unlimited official visits, just one to each school in Division II, so allowing them a year earlier will allow for more visits. Removing the 48-hour limit should not have too much of an impact at the DII level. One question will be how many of these ideas float up to Division I and how quickly.
Proposal 2013–9: Mexican Institutions Intent: “To specify that an institution located in Mexico may join the Division II membership, as specified.”
Division II has already expanded to Canada with the addition of Simon Fraser University as the NCAA’s first Canadian member. This proposal would start the same pilot program that lead to SFU’s membership for institutions in Mexico, where there is already some interest in NCAA membership. Monterrey Tech is likely to be the first to jump at the chance.
Proposal 2013–13: 14-Day Break Intent: “To specify that a student-athlete shall not participate in any countable athletically related activities for a 14-consecutive calendar-day period following an institution’s final contest or date of competition in the segment that concludes with the NCAA championship.”
With the growth in offseason practice and conditioning, student-athletes are getting fewer and fewer periods where they truly do not need to participate in their sport at all. This proposal seeks to establish such a period, right after their season. That makes sense, because this would be the period that athletes feel least pressure to participate in “voluntary” activities.
Other Division II Proposals
Here are the other proposals floated in Division II:
- Proposal 2013–1: Would make the definition of an agent the same as the definition used in Division I.
- Proposal 2013–2: Schools would be allowed to subscribe to recruiting services that offer video of nonscholastic competition (same as Division I is now).
- Proposal 2013–3 and 2013–4: Nontraditional courses would be allowed to be used for full-time enrollment and academic eligibility purposes, provided they meet certain requirements (again, same as the current Division I rule).
- Proposal 2013–5: Would move the start of the women’s bowling season to October 1 and allow 32 dates of competition, up from 26.
- Proposal 2013–8: Tryouts would be allowed starting June 15 prior to a prospect’s junior year in high school. Currently tryouts in Division II are allowed for seniors only.
- Proposal 2013–11: Prospects would be required to submit a transcript to both the Eligibility Center and the school before an NLI or written scholarship offer could be sent. Currently submission to the school only is required.
- Proposal 2013–12: Student-athletes in their initial year of college enrollment would be able to play in any preseason or exhibition game without using a season of eligibility.
Proposal 2013–4: Sickle Cell Trait Testing Intent: “To require confirmation of sickle cell trait status for all student-athletes not later than the 2014–15 academic year, including mandatory confirmation of status of all incoming student-athletes (first year and transfers) in the 2013–14 academic year.”
Division I and Division II require student-athletes to provide confirmation of their sickle cell trait status, mostly through a sickle cell solubility test. This would expand that requirement to Division III. At both Division I and Division II, the proposal generated a bit of a fight, centering around the cost of testing and whether it resulted in a form of discrimination against athletes with the trait.
Proposal 2013–9: Electronic Transmissions Intent: “To specify that any form of electronically transmitted correspondence (e.g., electronic mail, Instant Messages, text messages or facsimiles) including private communication through a social networking site may be sent to a prospective student-athlete (or the prospective student-athlete’s parents or legal guardians), provided the correspondence is sent directly to the prospective student-athlete (or his or her parents or legal guardians) and is private between only the sender and recipient.”
Division III had a different problem with electronic communication than Division I. DIII allowed text messages, but prohibited private social media messages, like Facebook messages or Twitter direct messages. In DI, the opposite is true. Division III is seeking to deregulate in the same way Division I is, by allowing any electronic text correspondence, so long as it is private between the coach and the prospect or his/her family. One key difference would remain: Division III has no start date. Messages can be sent to any prospect, although Division III is debating this philosophy.
Proposal 2013–10: Ineligible Transfers Intent: “To specify that a four-year college transfer student from a Division III institution would have to satisfy a transfer exception or serve a year in residence, if the transfer student has ever participated (practiced or competed) at a Division III school, regardless if the student used a season of participation.”
Currently, a transfer from one Division III school to another may play immediately provided he or she never used a season of competition (i.e. appeared in a game) at the first school. This would allow only athletes that had never competed or practiced at other Division III institutions to use the same exception. This is the way the current rule treats transfers from Divisions I and II and the NAIA. But the rule would only apply to transfers who were ineligible at the first school. There is a separate exception if a student-athlete transfers and would have been eligible at the old school.
Other Division III Proposals
- Proposal 2013–2: Institutions reclassifying to Division II would be ineligible for championships and grants as soon as they start the reclassification process. Currently they are still eligible until the second year of the process.
- Proposal 2013–3: Conferences would be allowed to provide one male and one female student-athlete each year with a postgraduate scholarships.
- Proposal 2013–5: During football’s acclimatization period, student-athletes would need to be given three hours to recover between any workout sessions, as in Division I. Currently the recovery period is only required before a walk-through that follows an on-field practice.
- Proposal 2013–6: Would push the first date of hockey games back to November 1 from October 15.
- Proposal 2013–7: Would allow coaches to work with tennis players who qualify for the ITA Small College Championship, even during the off-season.
- Proposal 2013–8: Football teams would be allowed to use hand shields during the spring strength and conditioning period.
- Proposal 2013–11: Would add a transfer exception for foreign exchange students, same as Division I has now.
- Proposal 2013–12: Prospects would be allowed to participate in institutional fundraisers provided they have graduated and made a written commitment to the school. The same proposal is up for Division I this year.
- Proposal 2013–13: Prospects in team sports would be able to accept prize money just like prospects who compete as individuals. Division I is debating this proposal as well.