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Publish date: Oct 28, 2011

DII presidents endorse 2013 summit to discuss academic requirements

By David Pickle

Division II will conduct a Presidents and Chancellors Summit in 2013, primarily to discuss the future of Division II academic requirements.

The summit will be conducted during the 2013 NCAA Convention in Dallas. The event, which was endorsed at Thursday’s Division II Presidents Council meeting, would occur Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013.

Discussions from the summit would direct Division II’s future course on academic policy. Any legislation deriving from the examination would be considered at the 2014 Convention.

Between now and then, the Division II Academic Requirements Committee will consider academic research data and how it relates to initial-eligibility, progress-toward-degree and transfer regulations.

Presidents attending the Council’s meeting Thursday enthusiastically welcomed the opportunity to gather as one to discuss academic policy and legislation. But if the discussion is any indication, the presidents will move carefully.

While the presidents want student-athletes to be as academically prepared as possible, they want to make sure that any changes to the requirements are in line with their missions.

“There should be an acknowledgement that different missions and admissions policies will yield different outcomes,” said one president.

Another discussed the need to ensure that any changes would be sufficiently beneficial to counterbalance diminished access that more restrictive standards might bring. 

The presidents also considered the possibility that the January 2013 summit could address diversity issues. They expressed particular interest in gender and racial demographics for administrative and coaching personnel.

This will be the fourth presidential summit for Division II. The first, conducted in Orlando in 2005, focused on the identity of Division II. The second, in 2007 in San Diego, addressed the value of Division II. Last year’s summit in Indianapolis addressed strategic growth of the division’s membership.

More details on the summit will be available at the 2012 Convention in Indianapolis.

At Thursday’s meeting, the presidents also discussed the Ease of Burden legislative package that will be considered at the 2012 Convention. 

On Friday, all Division II presidents will receive a letter from Council chair Drew Bogner endorsing the package, which would amend recruiting legislation by moving the first permissible date for contacts, telephone calls and electronic communications to June 15 before a prospect’s junior year.

“The proposals would amend the timing of the recruitment of prospective student-athletes to a timing that is consistent with the recruiting of students in general at most institutions and colleges,” wrote Bogner, who is the president at Molloy. “I encourage you to discuss the Ease of Burden package with your admissions office and identify ways in which athletics could partner to recruit young men and women to your campus if these proposals are adopted.”

Bogner also noted that approval of the legislation will not set aside the need for rigorous rules compliance.

“The proposals amend the frequency of contacts, telephone calls and electronic communication,” he wrote. “However, they do not change the recruiting calendars that some sports (for example, football and basketball) have that limit when a coach may contact a prospective student-athlete. While some of the current monitoring practices by athletics personnel are time-consuming, there is an understanding by the Presidents Council that continuous monitoring of the essential recruiting rules is necessary for an institution to have a strong and successful athletics compliance system.”

He also noted that the proposals are consistent with legislation that eliminated restrictions on recruiting materials and that liberalized contact rules as part of the community-engagement legislation. He cited concerns of the time, similar to those expressed about the current proposals, that focused on possible rampant abuses. “However,” he said, “the Council has not heard negativity or a call to change those rules.”

The legislation will be considered at the Division II business session Jan. 14.

In other action, the Presidents Council:

  • Elected new members to replace outgoing members Bogner, Albert Walker, David Rankin and Nancy Moody. It also ratified the election of six new Management Council members. The results of those elections will be announced next week.
  • Approved three overarching strategies for 2012: (1) Promote the success of our student-athletes − in the classroom, on the playing field and in the community − by striking a balance among athletics competition, academic excellence and social growth as we prepare student-athletes for lifelong success; (2) emphasize Division II not only as a membership destination but also as a division that offers exceptional value to its members − a division where schools, in a fiscally responsible way, can offer highly skilled student-athletes a place to compete for championships and enjoy a balanced collegiate experience; (3) continue to live the “collegiate model” philosophy in Division II − those who participate in college sports are students and intercollegiate athletics is embedded in the values and mission of higher education.

Note: The 2013 Summit will take place on January 17 rather than January 10 as was published in an earlier version of this story.