LEGISLATIVE BREAKOUT - DIVISION III
FROM THE PANEL:
(Monday, June 8, 10:00- 11:45 a.m.)
I asked the Divisicn III Steering Committee for input on this legislation and they very
gracefully and willingly provided the input. One of the strongest comments made was that they felt in Division III things needed to be a little bit tighter. Thus, the recommendation was made for Division III's length of practice and playing season to be reduced to a five-month or 2l-week period. Let me emphasize that is a maximum of five months, that does not mean that you have to have a five-month season. The second part of this package was to look at the number of contests currently being played by institutions, and that was done for all three divisions. We took the 9Oth percentile, based on the survey results that we received, and listed that as the maximum number of contests. That is what you see in the legislation that is being proposed. One other comment we heard that
we hope we have addressed is some relief for those sports that have to compete in the open champion- ships. Since there are no Division III championships in sports such as men's volleyball and men's
water polo, we hope there would be some relief so that the Division III could be as competitive as possible. We hope to make that an amendment prior to the June Convention, if possible, and the Steering Committee has suggested that it be an amendment. Hopefully, that will take care of some concerns that you might have. I would hope that you would give us your reaction at this point in time so that if there are any other amendments that would be appropriate that seem to reflect the will
of Division III, that is something the Steering Committee can address in its pre-convention meeting. At this time I would open the floor up to any questions or comments that you might have.
In regard to designating a single date for issuing equipment, that would not be a part of the segment. In other words, the segment descriptiops have to do with counting from the first meeting your number of weeks. That is saying that it would be possible to designate a single date for
issuing equipment, medical examinations and taking the squad pictures following the beginning of classes, even though you haven't officially started your designated season.
There is a concern because there is only one piece of legislation specifically for Division III that will discourage people from coming to the special convention. I am concerned about that, not because there is only one piece of legislation specifically for Division III, because there are other pieces of legislation that Division III will also be voting on. I'm concerned more from the
standpoint that Division III members not being in attendance will be making a statement that we
didn't think that the issues were important enough. That is what I heard from a couple of people who have said they are not going to be able to attend, that their presidents have determined that they don't feel that the issues are important enough. I would hope that the plea that you could make to your presidents would be that this is a special convention being called by the Presidents Commission and it is not just legislation that is going to be voted on that is important but also the discussions that will take place. There has been a move toward acclerated and exaggerated federation of the NCAA. If Division II or Division III is underrepresented, I'm concerned that will be interpreted as
Division II or Division III not really being committed to helping in the problem-solving that is, hopefully, going to take place as a result of the special convention. What's going to happen if there aren't enough people there? As soon as we find out who is registered, the Presidents Commission and the Steering Committee will make a decision as to whether it makes sense to continue with this legislation at the special convention or if the legislation should be postponed until the January convention. I feel very strongly that we are going to isolate ourselves from the rest of the association if we try to set up a different time frame. If Division I and Division II go forward and they are making decisions and Division III is making the statement it wasn't important enough for us to be there, we can wait until January I, I am not sure how that is going to be received.
AL VAN WIE:
How many of you plan to attend the convention? Twelve out of 40 here. How many are not going to be there, so we can prepare an institutional representative list? About half and half. We will accept that, since it is about 50/50 response anyway. If there is anything that we can do, if it
is financial problems and you need some support, I don't know if we carry a whole lot of clout, but the Division III Presidents Commission would like to help support the cases that you might need
to make on your campuses. I have b~en in touch with Jim Whelan, who is chairperson of the Division III Presidents Commission, and we are hoping that we can in some way send out some message to the Division III presidents to try and help you to be there, so that your institution is represented. Particularly, there will be a roll call vote and it would be nice to show that your representatives from Division III have tried to make the commitment to try and be a part of this process. I think that there is more than one issue that will be discussed that is important to Division III, although there is only one specific Division III legislative item.
In fairness to the institutions that have made that commitment it would be helpful for them to know that both Jim Whelan and Kenneth Weller, who serve on the Presidents Commission, suggested that we should go forward with the legislation at the Convention. Then if the people feel there is something that needs to be done to the legislation, January would be an opportunity to propose some amendment. What we have found in the past, and Division I and Division II felt strongly about
this as well, is if you start going after legislation on playing seasons and number of contests on
a sport by sport basi~ it is going to take forever to come to any kind of agreement. But, we could start someplace and see if it works. In January there was a specific comment that in football there was a lot of opposition originally to cutting out spring practice for Division III. Spring practice has been cut out and everybody survived, and are in fact, probably very supportive of that idea. We feel very strongly that same attitude might apply to the playing season and the number of contests. We need to start somewhere. All sports need to be consistent with what Division I and Division II are doing, as a starting point, and then we'd have lots of room to massage or make amendments as necessary in the future.
AL VAN WIE:
Remember, this legislation suggests that maximum number of weeks; it does not preclude an institution from determining a shorter season. You might be interested that the Steering Committee, about a year and a half ago or two years ago, gathered information from all conferences in the country and that was before we really had any limitations at all. We found out that most conference it not all, do have limitations and those limitations are probably less than what is being proposed here. On the other hand, we have also been told that Division III members don't want any limitations, that they want total autonomy and that they want the freedom to determine if they are going to emphasize one sport, that they can have that sport go all year long. Something that I learned and I am sure the rest of you learned in athletics administration is that you can't please everyone all the time and we have to be responsive to the majority will of the memberhsip. What we are trying to do is put something out there that the membership can express a sentiment for. If it makes sense, vote for it; if it doesn't make sense, vote it down and if it needs to be amended, let' propose the proper amendments. We are not going to be able to take care of individual concerns of
a particular institution or conference. We have 320 member institutions and basically we are trying to reflect what we think and what we are hearing from the majority of the institutions.
FROM THE PANEL:
Student surveys were done at the same time that the institutional surveys were done. It was a phone survey, so obviously, there couldn't be as many surveys done by phone as were done in the original mailing. The student-athletes that would be surveyed were determined based on selecting sports that the committee determined were open to abuse as a result of their involvement in their sport. Student-athletes, as you might expect, don't have enough of their sport; they would like to have no limits at all. I don't think that surprises anyone. There were a few students who indicate, that they felt they were being negatively impacted as a result of what is expected of them. I don't think there were any surprises that came out of that survey. As we went through this process, we were also in touch with the sports committees, and we always looked at what the sports committees' recommendations were, or what they felt might work or what things we needed to be cautious about in their particular sport. It doesn't mean that we accepted everything that they were saying, but we certainly took that into consideration. Our goal was to survey as much of the constituency as possible so that we were reflecting what the express needs of the membership might be.
AL VAN WIE:
Why did we come up with 26 weeks in Divisions I and II and 21 in Division III? Let me try and clarify that. The 26-week limit resulted from looking at all the survey information that we had. al I was not exaggerating when I said we had volumes of information. We went through. sport by sport. what seemed to be the trend currently. The only two sports that really had limits as far as number of weeks for starting and ending dates were basketball and football. Basketball season falls
within the 26-week period; in fact. it falls within less than 26 weeks. We found from the informaL we received all the other sports. with the exception of a few institutions. fell within a 26-week period. We felt that having consistency in all of the sports would avoid the nit-picking that had taken place in the past when we'd put a certain number of games before the membership and then therl comparisons made. For example. tennis has 40 days and fencing only has 20; they are both individua: sports. why don't we have the same number of days? So. our intent was to have some consistency to : as we brought the propsoal forward. How it got from 26 to 21 resulted from what we were hearing fr(
the Division III membership, that 26 was too excessive for Division III. The sentiment was toward reducing it to 21 and, in fact, that was a recommendation that took place at the April Council
meeting. The Division III Steering Committee responded to what they had heard from their constituents and decided to reduce the limit from 26 to 21, because they felt that all sports could live within that framework and that it would be more reflective of what was appropriate for Division III.
The Steering Committee has discussed it from that standpoint also. But, we have also heard
from Division III institutions who feel that there shouldn't be any restrictions, that they should be allowed to participate the entire year. What we are trying to do is reflect all these different comments we are hearing in some legislation that we can start with, and then evaluate and determine if there needs to be adjustments to that legislation.
FROM THE PANEL:
My understanding of this legislation is that at this point in time it does not impact on the summers, what currently is happening. Basically, the same rules that apply to basketball right
now would apply to the other sports as far as conditioning programs, where you cannot have a special conditioning program just for your team. If there is a conditioning program on campus that is an instructional program instead of a recreational program and that is open to all students on campus, student-athletes can participate in that the same as they would in any other class. If you set the program up specifically for that sport, it was run by the coach of that sport and no one else could be in the program, it would have to fall within your 2l-week segments.
You have 21 weeks for your soccer season and you may break that up into two segments. Part of the reason we came up with breaking the season up into segments was to allow for geographical differences. If your team playing in the fall takes up 18 weeks you have three more consecutive weeks over the course of the rest of the academic year. If you choose to use those three weeks for your soccer team inside, that's fine, but you wouldn't gain an extra three weeks by moving the sports inside.
My understanding of the proposed legislation is that if there are any court-related skills or sport-related skills involved. the team is involved and the coach is involved. that would count
toward the 21 weeks. We did not specifically delineate indoor soccer versus outdoor soccer. I would assume that if that remains an area of grayness there will have to be an interpretation or clarification and I think that is a good configuration and we need to address that with legislative services.
AL VAN WIE:
There are certain idiosyncracies in some sports, where if you participate in a tournament it only counts as one date of competition. In some sports the number of days you compete count as specific dates of competition, so we do need to look at that very carefully. For example, in tennis if somebody is eliminated on the first day, it doesn't make sense that you had planned that it was going to be a three-day event and now you are going to have two fewer days of competition. We have tried to think those things through, but we would appeal to you, in all of your wiscom, to look at each of the sports thoroughly and make sure that we have done justice to the sport and we accurately reflect what potentially could happen in that particular sport.
If any of you do have strong feelings, I would suggest that you consider future legislation and remember that the charge for the June convention in Dallas is cost containment. You know everything that is supposed to be determined at that convention has to deal with the concept of containment and not expansion. The January convention would be the appropriate time for expansion, if necessary.
FROM THE PANEL:
There have been other cases that have been made for the students who participate over an entire year or a longer period and may not be negatively impacted at all academically. There is still research being done on that. In fact, if you received the position paper from the Presidents Commission, that is one of the questions that is being asked in there: what is the impact of sports participation and length of season on the performance of the athlete in the classroom? From our own perspective, I think we have found that student-athletes are much better organized. That is what they are telling us that they are much better organized during their sports season than when they are not participating in their sports.
The feeling of the committee when they discussed this was that any contract in place would be honored. But they felt very strongly that there was a need to get this legislation on the books and operable immediately. However, if there is a strong feeling for postponing it in here, that would be an appropriate amendment that could come forward at Dallas. I believe it would be appropriate to ameI the starting date, but it would have to be between where we are right now and what's being proposed. I certainly think there is strong sentiment for delaying. That should be proposed and they won't be hesitant to tell us if it is out of order, I am sure.
JUDY SWEET :
I would like to emphasize a response from the Division III Steering Committee; actually, it is more of a request. That is, please keep those calls and letters coming to us, we really need to hear from you. We see our role as facilitating what is important for the Division III membership and unless we hear from you, it is very difficult to do that. So, please don't hesitate to contact us on any thoughts or ideas or anyway that we can be of service to you.
AL VAN WIE:
It would really be nice, in my opinion, if we had the time that we could really discuss in an open forum all of our issues, because I think so many times we read the book, there is an issue in there for Division III to be voted on and we don't have time to really discuss it. I think this
has been really worthwhile. As part of our format, I am to ask for a vote so that I can report back to the whole convention how our group feels.
FROM THE PANEL:
How does the Executive Committee feel about the block grant, once they deal with the financial issues? Block grant is a more tolerable situation than what was in place a year ago, which was funding only of the team sports and not individual sports. Block grant has allowed us an opportunit: to use some flexibility and try to treat all sports the same. The numbers are not all yet in on
how we did in estimating how we could stretch the block grant to cover the sports in championships
in the fairest way possible. Those numbers won't be until maybe August at the earliest or sometime after that. We have come into a little bit more money to add to the block grant, besides what has happened with the basketball television picture which we will talk about also. The block grant started at $1.1 million and it is now up to $1.45 million dollars and we are hoping that will cover all the championship costs. We are hoping we have enough money and there is enough cost saving that we won't have to go back to you next year.
We are working diligently, and hopefully, very strategically, to try to impress upon the Division III membership of the Executive Committee, and Division II is joining us in this effort, to try to get back to where we were prior to the change. We feel that the argument was originally made that they had to give us the block grant or reduce the amount of money going toward transportation because of the loss of the money from football television. Well, now we have another source and
we are hopeful there will be some recognition of the philosophy to make a commitment to all three divisions. Hopefully, that will allow for them to fund us the way we were funded three years ago. One recommendation I have already seen which will be going to the budget subcommittee is to add,
I believe, $350,000 to both Division II and Division III block grants. Rather than getting into a nickel and dime situation, which I think we have been forced into with the block grant concept, we are going to try to urge support for treating all the divisions the same, at least as far as transportation. Ultimately, we would like to see per diem charted in there also, but I think it wou: be a little bit presumptuous or overoptimistic for us to expect that is going to happen within the next year or two. But, I think we are moving in a direction that there is sympathy for the positions that Division II and Division III have been put in, and that there is a willingness to try to bring those divisions back under the fold in a fair way.
The position of the Division III Championship Committee for this year has been to not expand
any bracket at this point in time. After this year when we evaluate the block grant and get a bettel feel of what is going to happen in the future, the committee will be most interested in looking at sports ratios and the concept of appropriate expansion in sports where the numbers are there and the competitive level is there. Something I heard very strongly from the Executive Committee is that just because the numbers are there, tournaments shouldn't automatically be expanded. There needs to be close competition to warrant expansion in that particular sport. I think it is certainly something that will be reviewed and given the careful consideration that it deserves.
AL VAN WIE:
Another issue is multi-divisional classification. After the convention in January, our conference had a nice ceremony; we buried the issue. We had a Presbyterian minister there from Wooster who did the ceremony. We sort of got clobbered; I still think we were right philisophically. Judy disagrees; she doesn't think the issue is dead.
I also think there was some progress that was made in January. I think there are some people who are reconsidering their classification and I think in the next couple of years you are going to see some people move out of Division III. I think you've already seen some people moving out of III and into II. A couple of New York schools, etc. I guess the hope of many of us way down the road
is a pure division, but I think it is way down the road, from the vote we had, anyhow. It definitely is an issue that won't go away. I think that is the stinging part of the issue; it will not go away. It must be an irritation to some people. I hope if you bring it forward, you'll be a little bit more politically astute than we were.
Discussing policy, I was interested in what Peter Ueberroth had to say this morning about the
drug policy. One of the things we have been wrestling with at our institution this spring, and it has been a very difficult issue and one of the most difficult issues we have had at Wooster in a long
time, is a policy about drug use and abuse on our campus. I would be interested in how many people in this room have written policies that state the athletic department or the physical education and athletic department's position on drug use.
I think we all have a problem and I think many of us are really struggling in how to deal with
the problem. I would be interested in hearing some remarks from some other people who have a policy, what your policy states and how you developed it, because I think this is really a key issue today. I know it is probably the number one issue with our department, how we are going to deal with this. Surveys we have taken on our campus show that drug use is rather prevalent. I know our administration does not like to hear us talk that way, that alcohol abuse is prevalent across the body. And we are talking about Division III, not talking about our athletes. At a few institutions like my institution when we get together as a staff, we have everybody at both ends of the spectrum, and to try to come together with one statement is rather difficult, believe me. That is a question we are trying to address at Wooster. Are we going to have a policy that is meaningful, or are we going to have one on paper to submit to the federal government so we get our federal money? I think if we are really concerned about our kids, our employees, we better have a policy that has some teeth in it.
Another question is, should we end our season with regional tournaments? I think that is discussion we have heard our presidents and our conference talk about. We really get caught up in a national tournament syndrome and we gear everything to a national tournament once we end our season, when we start our conference championship. Some of us remember back a few years, when the conference tournament, conference championship, was the thing you shot for and it was very meaningful. Today it is sort of diluted, it's just one step down the road. If you don't win it all, then you've ended up with a loss.
I would also like, sometime during the next couple of days, to get your reaction about a meeting of this kind and whether you would like to see a meeting of this kind continued during the NACDA Convention. I think it is an opportunity to really get a chance to express ourselves in an open forum. Some of us on the Executive Committee felt very strongly that we should have another
breakout session, and that will be tomorrow morning between 11:30 and 12:30. I think we've got four excellent speakers and four excellent topics. They are going to be brief, but, again, I think they are going to open up some discussion around the pool or around the bar. or someplace else, so I would encourage you all to be at those sessions tomorrow morning.
Thank you all very much.