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Playing and Practice Seasons Dominate D2 Legislative Agenda

Division II released its Initial Publication of Proposed Legislation (IPOPL) last week. Like Division I’s, the Division II legislative agenda is short and focused. As of now D2 will take up four proposals at the 2015 NCAA Convention and all of them involving playing and practice seasons to some degree. Also interesting compared to Division I’s likely push to limit time demands on athletes, all the Division II proposals would expand athletic time by creating additional practice opportunities, lengthening seasons, or exempting more contests.

No. 1–1: Strength and Conditioning Personnel Designing and Conducting Workouts During Summer

Intent: “In fall championship sports (including golf and tennis, for those institutions that conduct the championship segment during the fall term), to specify that June 1 through the conclusion of an institution’s summer vacation period, strength and conditioning personnel may design and conduct workout programs for student-athletes, as specified.”

Analysis: Last year Division II allowed strength and conditioning staff to design and conduct voluntary workouts for football players. This proposal would expand that opportunity to all fall sports.

No. 1–2: Team Activities

Intent: “In sports other than football, to permit a student-athlete to participate in a maximum of two hours of team activities per week as part of the permissible eight hours of countable athletically related activities that may occur outside the playing season during the academic year.”

Analysis: Division II’s two hours per week of offseason skill instruction is a hodgepodge of regulations even more complicated that Division I’s with its different dates numbers. This proposal would unify all those rules and allow team activities (basically practice) during those two hours at any time offseason activities can be required.

No. 1–3: Spring Sports – First Date of Competition – Friday before February 1

Intent: “In baseball, golf, lacrosse, rowing, sand volleyball, softball and tennis, to specify that in years when February 1 falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday, a member institution shall not engage in its first contest or date of competition with outside competition in the championship segment before the Friday preceding February 1.”

Analysis: Currently the sports listed above may not start their championship segment prior to February 1. If February 1 will fall during a weekend or on a Monday, this proposal would allow competition to start the preceding Friday, since no or little additional class time will be missed. This is designed to give schools increased scheduling flexibility.

No. 1–4: Conference Challenge Events in Baseball, Softball, Soccer, and Women’s Volleyball

Intent: “In baseball, soccer, softball and women’s volleyball, to permit a maximum of two contests played as part of a conference challenge event to be exempted annually from the maximum number of contest limitations, as specified.”

Analysis: In Division II basketball now has an annual exemption for two games in a conference challenge event. This is essentially the closest thing Division II has to the qualifying regular season multiple-team event exemption in Division I basketball. This proposal would expand that exemption to the sports listed above. A conference challenge event must involve two conferences from the same region and both games must be played during the first full weekend after competition can start.

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