While Division I will consider some major changes despite the ongoing governance reform effort and Division II tackles a major academic reform package, Division III’s legislative agenda at the 2014 NCAA Convention will be much quieter. The NCAA’s largest division will only consider nine proposals, four of which will also be voted on by the other two divisions.
Like Divisions I and II, Division III will vote on the following cross-divisional initiatives:
- Reporting of catastrophic injuries;
- Reducing the penalty for positive drug tests in the street drug class;
- Introducing rugby sevens a recognized discipline in women’s rugby; and
- Adding women’s triathlon as an emerging sport for women.
Of the proposals unique to Division III this year, the biggest change would allow the use of football helmets during offseason conditioning. The proposal would allow the use of helmets during DIII football’s 16 day offseason conditioning and skill instruction period. Pads, contact, and other football equipment outside of footballs and hand shields would still be prohibited during offseason workouts.
The other significant change would be to move the start of the ice hockey season around and introduce a five practice acclimatization period. Practice would start on the third Monday of October (currently October 15). The first regular season games would be the second Friday after the first date for practice. Before playing a game against outside competition, the team (plus any student-athletes joining late individually) must complete at least five separate days of on-ice practices. The rationale is to start the season on a weekend, avoid midweek games, and ensure that athletes are not jumping immediately into competition.
The other proposals involve more minor tweaks:
- Permit field hockey to play up to three preseason exhibitions that count against the total number of contests;
- Prohibit teams from scouting future opponents at exhibitions; and
- Limit institutions transitioning from single-gender to coeducational enrollment a maximum of two three-year waivers of the sport sponsorship requirements.