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DII Passes Academic Reform, Health and Safety Legislation

Division I’s governance review and continued attempts at deregulation dominated headlines, but Division II did the most significant work at the NCAA Convention two weeks ago by passing a number of proposals including a major academic reform package and health and safety proposals.

DII’s legislative agenda was dominated by the Path to Graduation package. Four of five proposals were adopted which made the following changes:

  • Raised the minimum GPA for qualifiers to 2.200 and implemented a sliding scale similar to Division I’s for both full and partial qualifiers.
  • Changed requirements for junior college transfers including requiring a 2.200 GPA unless the prospect has graduated and English, math, and science requirements for partial qualifiers, nonqualifiers, and 4–2–4 transfers.
  • Required athletes to earn nine-semester or eight-quarter hours per term, 18-semester or 24-quarter hours each regular academic year, and maintain a 2.000 GPA each fall.
  • Eliminated the averaging method used to determine annual credit hour requirements; athletes will need to earn 24-semester or 36-quarter hours each year (including summer).

Division II’s membership defeated a stricter version of the last proposal which would have required freshmen and sophomores to earn 27-semester or 40-quarter hours each year. Most of the proposals passed with overwhelming support, the most debate coming over the two annual credit hour proposals and the final proposal passing 163–130.

Health and safety was the other big topic at the Convention in all three divisions. Division II voted to require institutions to designate team physicians for all programs and to report student-athlete fatalities, near fatalities, and catastrophic injuries to the NCAA annually. Division II also voted to reduce the penalty for a positive drug test in the street drug class to 50% of a season, down from the current penalty of a one-year suspension and charging a season of competition. Part of the rationale is the reduced penalty will keep athletes on campus where there are more support resources.

Division II also voted to exempt conference challenge events annually in basketball and allow strength and conditioning coaches to design and conduct voluntary workouts in the summer for football players. DII also adopted a system of standardized selection criteria for Division II tournaments, with individual sport committees able to select from a list of sport-specific criteria.

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