As voting on legislation in Division I looks poised to get increasingly stratified, Division II appears headed in the opposite direction. At their meeting last week, the Division II President’s Council sponsored a proposal which would eliminate special voting on football issues. If the proposal is adopted by the Division II membership at the 2015 NCAA Convention, it would mean that all Division II institutions, not just schools sponsoring football, would vote on football-specific proposals.
The language used by Division II Presidents Council chair and Grand Valley State University president Tom Haas is a stark contrast to the current trend in Division I:
“In our history we’ve avoided going down the path of having legislative actions on a sport-by-sport basis,” Haas said. “It’s not consistent with our past and current philosophy in Division II.”
The Division II Management Council made the recommendation for the bylaw to the Presidents Council after getting information about the history and reasoning behind special voting on football issues. The Management Council had asked for additional feedback from conferences, but the presidents sponsored the proposal with no debate and indicated they had considered eliminating football-only votes prior to the Management Council’s recommendation.
The tipping point appears to be the voluntary summer workouts which were just permitted for football programs in Division II at the 2014 NCAA Convention:
But while 64 percent of football-playing schools and conferences approved the legislation, concerns were voiced on the Convention floor that the new workout programs reached beyond the sport. Many questioned why the legislation was not extended to other fall sports considering it was based on health and safety concerns.
So the goal appears not so much to interfere with football issues but rather to make sure that something proposed for football is truly football-specific and not a broader issue which was just identified in football first.