NCAA DIVISION III: EXPLORING THE FUTURE FOR DIVISION III
(Monday, June 6, 2:30- 4:00 p.m.)
Our speakers today are good thinkers and they have given a lot of time and consideration to our topics which will be presented to you this afternoon. These three topics include; format of Division III championships, financial aid and playing and practice seasons. We have determined that we will take one topic at a time and then allow for some questions and answers on that specific topic. We hope we will be able to have a good exchange on your thoughts on whether what is being presented is worth pursuing as direction for Division III.
Before I introduce our first speaker, I would like to introduce a couple of very important people for Division III who are with us this afternoon. From the NCAA office and staff liaison with the Division III Championships Committee, director of women's championships, Tricia Bark. Sitting next to Tricia is someone who is providing very positive leadership for the division, Al Van Wie from the College of Wooster, your vice president.
Our first speaker will be John Harvey. John earned his bachelor's degree is philosophy and a masters in history from the College of William & Mary. He has a Ph.D. in college administration from Boston College. He coached basketball and football at William & Mary as well as teaching physical education. He has been involved with academic administration and coaching at Harvard University. He's been basketball coach and assistant athletic director at Grinnell College. For the past five years, he's been the director of athletic and recreation at St. Mary's College of Maryland, like Grinnell, a Division III institution. He recently had an article published in the NACDA magazine, Athletic Administration. His article was, Reform in Division III, the Future is Now. John, please share your views with us.
Thank you very much, Judy. As you see, our crowd control tactics worked real well here this afternoon. Most of the people haven't come. I feel a little inadequate speaking on national championships postseason
championships because teams I've had at colleges haven't been in that many national championships, but I do have some fairly strong opinions on national championships. I feel an obligation to be as objective as possible and to represent as many different views as possible because there are certainly some very strong advantages to the national championships system, even for Division III. There are just as many difficulties. Before I got into this topic, I did call Tricia Bork at the NCAA office to get her opinions and views since she's so closely tied in with the national championships and she was very helpful.
I also called a number of other athletic directors who are or have been involved with national championships to get some ideas on the affects that those national championships had on their schedules, budgets and so forth. I've attempted to look as deeply as I could and as broadly as I could into this topic. I think the main purpose for doing all of this is to arrive at whatever changes we think are necessary for th. good of the overall Division rather than simply representing some individuals or group of peoples ideas.
The most important single factor to remember in determining whether or not to have postseason national championships in Division III is the characteristic of diversity. This is the characteristic we all talk about in Division III a great deal. We hear Division I talking in the same way, but I challenge anyone to match the amount of diversity we find here in our membership in Division III. We have 320 colleges and universities represented. We have colleges with 700 students. We have universities with 15,000 students. We have some universities that have truly national student bodies, yet we have some colleges which are strictly regional and somewhat provincial, perhaps, in their thinking. There is more diversity in Division III than ~
any other Division.
This diversity itself creates a certain pressure which we've all felt too. This says to me that we need more flexibility within our procedures because we have so much diversity in the membership. The principle of flexibility comes from this acknowledgment that we have this great deal of diversity. By this mean, we need to be very flexible now and creative in our thinking on these problems that come to mind so WE can arrive at appropriate processes. If we can build in this flexibility and options into our system, we C! possibly stay within Division III. This intent of building in more flexibility is roughly equal to the intE of federation. We've talked about federation this morning and it seemed to me that we're trying to allow mc separate and autonomous function in our Divisions. We want to fill particular needs and interests in the NCAA, so we're through the principle of federation building more autonomy into the whole system. The idea c flexibility is very much synonymous with this idea of federation.
I'd like to add that I do agree with Judy Sweet's comments this morning. We can reform the NCAA's structure so that the NCAA remains an effective umbrella organization for us all. We're going to need a lot of innovative and creative thinking and some flexibility options built into the system. I do believe that we can, through this type of thinking, arrive at the point where our diverse interests can still be accommodated within the NCAA. It may mean more divisions, it may mean more breakdowns in various divisions, but still, within that umbrella organization, I believe it still can be done with some good intelligent thought.
If we did go to a Division IV for example, some of the schools could retain their national championships and the rest of us, presumably the smaller colleges, could divert to a Division IV and we perhaps only have regional championships. I'm sure you've all heard of that alternative. Perhaps regional championships are all we need. But if we're trying to build in flexibility and possible options, we may be able to arrive at the possibility of either a Division III and IV or within Division III, the alternative of either going to a regional championship or qualifying and being interested in the national level competition such as we now have.
Another optional arrangement might be that every three or four years each Division III member would declare if it prefers to be eligible for national championships to go onto that level. Or, if in fact they elect simply to remain and shoot for a regional championship. The alternative regional championship, that perhaps would just be a single week postseason in football or basketball. That could be done in one week.
So the people who are suggesting regional championships think of a one-week postseason terminus, rather than a three or four weeks that we now have in some of the sports.
If we were to go to some sort of regional championship, you could have eight or even 16 regions,
four teams per region. I'm thinking of basketball and that would accommodate as many as 32 teams .If you had eight regions, four teams going to one-week postseason tournament in their region only, that would
accommodate 32 different institutions. This would serve to separate, hopefully, the larger Division III programs. For example, the larger state universities or those whose programs seem to require the possibility of national championships from those of us, and I include my own college within this group, which probably would prefer a more limited plan -a one-week postseason arrangement.
Again, philosophically and in size, we have so much diversity in Division III that we need more flexibility, more options, more thinking of this type. I'm simply throwing out a couple of possibilities in this line of diversity and options that I think could be entertained as ways of accommodating the diversity.
On the other hand, I do think we need to be careful of producing too much fragmentation. Even though we're trying to accommodate diversity, I worry about breaking down into too fine a number of groups so that
the whole process is fragmented. So, we see that in the new ways of handling championships for Division III institutions seems to very closely tied into me with the idea of how far we go down the road to federation as AI and Judy mentioned this morning .How far we go down toward increased federation will very much determine
what we decide to do in the way of championships as it will with many other of the functions of the NCAA.
Some of the facts of our national championships right now seem to govern our thinking or can govern our thinking. Most of you know that we now sponsor 24 national championships in Division III; thirteen national championships for men, II national championships for women and this is more than Division I or Division II. That was surprising when I realized that. This does not seem to fit in completely with the philosophy of Division III as we see it. Did you also know that we spend seven days in the men's tennis tournament? We spend six days in the women's postseason tournament. We spend four consecutive postseason weeks arriving at a national champion in football in Division III and we spend three postseason weeks in arriving at national championships in basketball. I realize that when you get down to the final week, it's only two teams left. Nevertheless, that's quite a bit of postseason competition in my mind.
These facts seem to imply to me a number of things about our national championship system that I don't think are quite right. I think that a number of reforms are needed, but again, I feel that these reforms through some good creative thinking can be made without breaking up your organization and without going too far up field from the Division III system that we now have. It may mean a Division IV, as I said. It may mean a Division III-A or III-B or whatever you want to call it, but with some creative thinking, I think we can still stay within umbrella organization we now have. Thank you.
Thank you, John. Are there any questions or reactions to John's views on possible alternatives for the future in championships?
FROM THE FLOOR:
We are limited in funds right now in terms of a block grant. My question is, do you intend for the NCAA to sponsor these regional championships in addition to a national championship and, therefore, the block grant would get spread out even more greatly? People are concerned right now about the costs of going to national championships. Are you expecting the funds for these regions we have to come out of the block grant'
JOHN HARVEY :
I had hoped, yes, that some of that money could come from the NCAA. The regional championships, of course, wouldn't cost very much. Nevertheless, there would be an increase in the amount of money. If we k the same number of national championships and if we kept the same number of teams eligible for them, addi~ regional championships would add to the financial burden. That's a question of whether or not we did keep same number of championships. To me, 24 national championships is quite a few, yet you wouldn't want to dE some championships to some sports. I don't have any financial solutions on this.
As a member of the Championships Committee for the past two and one-half years, my response would be that one of the benefits of the block grant has been that it has given us the flexibility to determine what think makes sense for Division III championships. But, I can tell you that there's not going to be more mor added to our block grant if we decide that a concept should be added to what currently exists. If we want 1 make some adjustments to the championships structure, are there things that we should be doing differently that we're doing right now7 If there are, should we start exploring in making those changes and investigatj whether or not it can happen within the financial limitations that are afforded us by the NCAA currently.
BILL MC HENRY:
Some of you may not be aware that Division III Football Committee has taken a compromising situation c this. We have recommended to the counsel that we eliminate the national pole this year. We will not pick tl top 20 teams in the nation. We will pick the top 10 teams in each of four regions. And the top four teams will be selected for regional championships, so you'll still play two games in the region. Then the four remaining teams will go on. It's not going to change anything as far as the number of games are concerned, but the emphasis we're placing is on the regional championship and on regional poles rather than on national poles.
Our next topic is one that is fresh in the minds of everyone after the NCAA Convention in Nashville al that's financial aid. When I was putting together the panel, Mary Jean very graciously agreed to be a part , the panel and identified her topic as wanting to take the legislation that was passed in January one step further. Her purpose in presenting her ideas to you today is to get some feedback on whether or not there's interest in pursuing what her views are as they pertain to financial aid. Mary Jean Mulvaney is professor al chairman of the department of physical education in athletics at the University of Chicago since 1976. She has been a member of the NACDA Executive Committee, a member of the NCAA Counsel, the NCAA Legislation and Interpretations Committee, NCAA Division III Championships Committee, NCAA Special Sub-Committee on Eligibility Appeals, NCAA Nominating Committee and a member of the NCAA Long-Range Planning Committee, so sh, brings a variety of experiences to her presentation. Please welcome Mary Jean Mulvaney.
MARY JEAN MULVANEY:
I'm going to preface my remarks today and state that I'm not speaking on behalf of the University of Chicago. The University of Chicago feels very strongly that there should be institutional autonomy in both the areas of admission and financial aid. I also have to say that I believe in trust. I'm presenting a middle-of-the road approach in terms of financial aid.
I think in some ways we've tended to overreact to those institutions within our membership we feel have not administered financial aid as some of us think it should be administered. I think we've gone almof 180 degrees the other way, and I hope that perhaps we can arrive at some middle-of-the road. I've tried to come up with a proposal that might be considered.
One of our problems is that there has been some question about how financial aid has been administered at various institutions. We're all so different that what would appear to be no financial aid in some institutions, it is financial aid based on athletic ability and in other institutions, it's not considered financial aid based on athletic ability.
I want to give you an example. My basketball coach arrived in my office and said, "We have this recruit and he's being recruited by three other members of our association, and he listed another
institution not in our association, but a fourth institution other than the University of Chicago." He also said, "The other institution is giving far and away the best package." That particular package happened to be from an institution that spoke loudest and longest on the floor in Nashville in favor of Proposition 93. I thought it was very interesting that those of us who were opposed to 93 were not giving the same kind of packages as the person who was in favor of 93. I'm not accusing that institution of doing anything wrong .It merely is the way that institution happens to award financial aid. We all happen to be different.
I'm sure that perhaps they gave this particular basketball player an academic honor award and the other four institutions did not. It's a matter of how the institution does it.
As a means of looking at this from a different perspective, I am proposing a formula that we might use for financial aid that we could all work on on the same basis so that it is equal to all. If an institution has 1,000 students and the number of athletes in your program is 250, which is 25 percent, and you look at the total number of students receiving academic honor awards or preferential packaging, or whatever you may call it, and that happens to be loo or one-tenth at that institution, then one-tenth of the 250 would be permitted to receive academic honor awards or preferential packaging. In other words, the number of athletes would be in relationship to the total number that you have at your institution. If you give none, than you certainly would be in compliance. But, you could give up to 25. You might only give six and that would be fine.
But, then it means that all institutions are at least starting from the same point. At this point, we're all deciding how we do it as an institution. The problem that we have run into is when do we award an academic honor award. I'm proposing that the director of financial aid submit these figures to the NCAA. We report this the same as Division I reports academic progress. The financial report may show that you
only give seven, and that's fine. The point is that you cannot exceed 25. In this particular formula, that all institutions are treated equally, and we know exactly the point of departure. It can be any way that you recognize an athlete. You must count them if they are different.
My major concern has been that under the present system when you must de-couple from your admissions policy what you pass on to financial aid means that this is one small segment of student body that's being treated differently. That is not what our philosophy says. All students are treated equally. You might give $100 extra grant in your preferential package and yet, that athlete cannot get that extra $100 when he or she may be most deserving. Not because he or she is an athlete, but because they showed a special
extracurricular ability in high school. They may not even come out for one of your teams, but they're penalized because they were a high school athlete. I think that's unfortunate to treat that small segment of students differently.
On that basis, I've tried to work out some formula that me might be able to use that would treat all students equally and we all would consider academic honor awards on the same basis.
We are under some tight time restrictions. We've identified some topics that obviously are of interest and concern to you. I'd like to emphasize that the discussions that are taking place right now should not end here and that it's really important as you have concerns that you communicate those to other members of Division III. Share those thoughts with your Division III Steering Committee for future review. I apologize for having to stop the discussion, but we do need to move on.
Thank you very much .
As we move on to our third topic which is entitled "playing seasons", I would like to clarify what the intent of this topic is for today. You're all aware that starting this academic year we will be implementing playing and practice season legislation for Division III. I don't believe that the presentation this
afternoon is going to try to interpret playing and practice season legislation, but rather to throw out some other ideas that may suggest that playing and practice seasons may need to be looked at again or other ideas considered for future development of legislation. I would like to appeal to all of you as you are preparing to implement the legislation for this academic year, to look at the legislation that's in the book very carefully. The Division III Steering Committee at its August meeting will be trying to respond to questions that we have heard as far as the actual implementation of this legislation. There are a couple of thoughts that have come to us that I would like to share with you.
Number one; does the 2l-week season exclude any out-of-season training for conditioning or must the conditioning be a part of the 2l-week limit? That one has particularly been tied in with the basketball season since there are already provisions that allow for out-of-season conditioning in basketball.
Another concern is the situation in softball where in Division I and II there is an allowance for tournaments where you don't know the number of games that you're going to play, but the Division III legislation currently does not allow for that latitude. Those are just a couple of things that have come to us already. If you have any questions or thoughts on the interpretations, please either let Al know by let tel or in person or let me know or Pat Rogers who is at SUNY-Albany. The three of us are working on identifying all of the areas of concern for the implementation of playing and practice seasons.
With all of that information, I get to introduce our third speaker, Bill McHenry. Bill has a bachelor's degree from Washington & Lee University, a major in business administration, Master of Science Degree with a major in guidance and counseling from the University of Pennsylvania. From 1971 to the present he has been the director of athletics and chairman of the department of physical education. Prior to that, hi was director of athletics and chairman of the department of physical education, head football coach, head lacrosse coach at Lebanon Valley College. He also served as assistant professor of health and physical education at Williams College. He has extensive professional activities which includes, currently, the chair of the Division III Football Committee. He has been a member of the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards in medical aspects of sport. He has been president and vice president and member of the board of directors o the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. He has been president and vice president of the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association. I'd like to introduce to you Mr. Bill McHenry.
BILL MC HENRY:
Thank you, Judy. One of the things we haven't talked about is the out-of-season practice. I grew up, unfortunately, in the era in college football when there were no limitations on spring practice. We had spring practice that began in January and went to May. I think this was very, very bad for intercollegiate athletics and particularly for football. We saw a change in the late 5Os, early 6Os to a 20-day limitation ~ spring practice. Then in 1973 or 1974, the elimination of spring practice in Division III. Everyone, including myself, said this was probably the worst thing that could ever happen. I now contend that it was probably the best thing that ever happened. We have more kids on our football squad today participating in other sports because of it.
I question why do we have out of season in any of our sports. I feel very strongly about that. I think that's something to look at. There are many reasons why we could argue against out-of-season practice. The cost containment is one argument. Longer seasons and more games are another. Coaches can't participate in more than one sport if they're involved in out of season practices. We've eliminated the two and three-sport athletes in many cases. The burden on facilities is a tremendous problem. As far as we're concerned it puts a burden on financing and staffing. We need to look at it. I see no justification for out of season practice in our team sports. I don't see any justification in the individual sports as well, but I think we should attack it on two different planes.
I'm concerned with split seasons. We have split seasons in tennis with numbers of games that count w the fall as well as in the spring. This is a step in the wrong direction. I really am concerned about the student-athlete. If a golfer wants to go out and play golf all year round, that's fine. He should have that opportunity, but because his coach tells him he has to be out there in the fall, he has to practice six-days a week, put in so many rounds of golf, I think, is absolutely incorrect. Let the students be involved in other areas of activities. Let them participate in other sports if they are so inclined. Don't handicapp them by tying them up the year-round.
With the 2l-weeks, we're talking about two-thirds of the school year. Most of us have a 30-week schoc year. We're now allowing them to practice and play for two-thirds of the school year in one particular area, I contend that this is too much. I have said that if you can't get it changed on the national level, let's try to make changes in regional areas or within the conference level. We've tried to do this within our own conference and we've run into some difficulty.
Most of the problems that go with the longer and better philosophy started when we had national championships. Coaches feel that they can get an edge by starting earlier, practicing a little bit longer, and playing more games. A team with an 11-0 record, obviously, is better than a team with a 9-0 record. r makes mo sense to me whatsoever.
Let's look at the number of games based on the time that is missed academically. I agree with the coach that in football we miss a few Friday classes. But when you talk about the number of days and alas: that are .missed by our baseball team, it's really a critical situation. I contend that we should look at numbers as well as the length of season.
We have tried to attack this from our conference standpoint. We looked at this and asked, "What should we do?" The conference couldn't decide on anything, but we came up with a recommendation. We were allowed four weeks of out-of-season practice maximum. This was met with a great deal of opposition by some of the members of the conference. The only argument given was that in order to gain national recognition, we must have longer seasons and play more games. We have fought this fight for two years and it's a very, very serious problem.
Let's establish starting dates for all sports. Let's not just say 2l-weeks is fine. Again, it's
not an enforceable regulation. Unless I go around and visit every single college that we play to find out when they will start practice, it's unenforceable. If you had a starting date of November 1 in the winter sports, I feel that is early enough. Frankly, I would rather see us take all of our sports and divide them into two semesters and say, "these sports will be played in the fall term, and these in the spring term." We still can have the 2l-week rule. February 1 seems to be a reasonable starting date for spring sports.
Judy, I've heard the arguments come from different parts of the country. I realize that the problems coming from California are far different from those in New England, etc. Maybe, we need to look at these things on a regional basis. That follows up with going to regional championships rather than going to national championships. Many of our problems we are being faced with are because of the national championship. The emphasis on the national championship, doing away with the emphasis on the conference championships.
The three areas I would talk about, in summary, are- the number of contests. Let's go sport by sport and decide what is best based upon the amount of time that these students are missing classes. The second point is the starting dates. Play your games up to the NCAA championship. Let's look at a November 1 starting date at the earliest and a February 1 starting date. Let's go back to three-sport seasons and give the kids a chance to play in more than one sport.
Finally, the elimination of out-of-season practice. I don't mean pre-season practice. I'm talking about if you have a spring sport, forget about playing that sport in the fall. If you have a fall sport, forget about playing it in the spring. If we had men's tennis in the spring, why not have women's tennis in the fall. That way, you could utilize the same coach and you can have the same set of courts. That's an example. We actually tried this and it worked out well.
These are just ideas to be looked at by the Council and the Steering Committee to save us all a lot of moneyand a lot of headaches as far as facilities, sports staff and financial concerns.
I would like to read a statement from some or our conference meetings on out or season practice. "In order to enhance opportunities for athletes to play more than one sport, to allow students to participate more fully in the lire or the college, to meet campus needs for recreation and intramural activity, and to maximize the use or facilities, sport support staff, coaching staff and athletic trainers, the group recommends; one,
an elimination or organized out-or-season practices; two, a further elimination on the numbers or contests in weeks or competition. The group further recommends that November 1 be the official date for the opening or practice for winter sport teams and that February 1 be the official date for the opening or practice for the spring sport teams."
I would like to thank all or you for being with us this afternoon. I'd like to thank our panelists for doing what we hoped they would do in presenting thought provoking ideas. Hopefully, these discussions are not going to end here, but that they will continue. It's not a perfect situation. It's not a perfect world, but we're trying to make it better and the only way we can do it is if we have the kinds or discussions that are taking place today. As AI has suggested, those or you who have ideas for Division III bring them to the floor or the convention and keep doing this.