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Publish date: Jan 14, 2011

New idea for winter-break rule

Saturday’s Convention vote on whether to modify the rule requiring a break for winter sports will feature a new wrinkle, based on a Division II Presidents Council action Thursday.

Division II SAAC member Nathan Kafer of Regis (Colorado) offers his perspective at a joint meeting of the SAAC, Management Council and Presidents Council.

The proposal in question, No. 2011-9, would allow member institutions to take the mandated break for winter sports on any seven consecutive days between Dec. 20-30. The current legislation, approved last year as a key part of the Life in the Balance package, requires seven consecutive days off each year beginning Dec. 20.

On Thursday, the Presidents Council, acting on a recommendation from the Management Council, voted to charge the Legislation Council with studying the creation a 10-year rolling calendar that would continue to provide a seven-day winter break consistent for all Division II schools, taking into consideration where Dec. 20 falls on the calendar in certain years.

“This would take into account the years on which Dec. 20 fell on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday,” said Management Council chair Kathleen Brasfield, athletics director at Angelo State. “Those are good days to play.”

Presidents Council chair Drew Bogner of Molloy said the approach is sound.

“This would seem to take away a significant number of the concerns with the current application,” said Bogner, who acknowledged that the action would not necessarily address all of the factors that led the Pennsylvania State and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conferences to sponsor the proposal.

The endorsement of the new approach does not affect the Presidents Council opposition to 2011-9.

The directive to the Legislation Committee suggests a year-by-year review in the development of the 10-year calendar. The presidents agreed that the break should continue to fall around the Christmas holiday.

In a related matter, the presidents noted an interpretation relating to the PSAC/RMAC proposal. The Management Council determined that if the proposal were to be approved, each Division II institution would be required to apply the break concurrently for all of its winter sports. Concerns had been expressed that institutions would be able to break at different times for different sports, thus eliminating the benefit of the break for administrative personnel such as communicators and athletic trainers.

Although 2011 legislation will not be voted upon until Saturday, the Presidents Council on Thursday approved the legislative form of its first proposal for 2012. The proposal would alter the Division II Philosophy Statement by requiring “that institutional staff members, including presidents and athletics personnel, shall hold current and prospective student-athletes and themselves to the highest standards of personal conduct at all times, including exemplary behavior that reflects respect for the rights and dignity of opponents, teammates, officials, other students and the community at-large.”