NCAA DIVISION III
AL VAN WIE:
DIVISION III AND THE NCAA
(Tuesday, June 6, 2:30- 4:30 p.m.)
Let me take this opportunity to welcome you to the Division III Open Forum. I am surprised and very happy to see as many people as late as it is this afternoon. I've taken a lot of static about Division III meeting in the afternoon, while everyone else goes to Disneyland. It is my hope, this afternoon, that we have an informal give-and-take discussion. Your ticket to admissions today is your willingness to share your
ideas. I have a sincere belief that everyone in this room has something to contribute to this meeting and to Division III. One of the strengths in Division III is that we're willing to share ideas and we're also willing, in public, to agree as well as disagree. If you've been at the other sessions, several of them outstanding, you noticed that people haven't been willing to get up and communicate with each other. I think that is disappointing. I was happy with our session yesterday in that people were willing to get up and ask questions and express their opinions. That's what we're going to do today.
I've asked several people to come up front who have served the NCAA in the past and are serving today for Division III. We have Betty Kruczek, Judy Sweet, Royce Flippin, Jen Shillingford and Nancy Mitchell.
Nancy has been on the panel about three times so far and she just looks pretty up there. But, she's not going to get away with that with me. Nancy, would you come up and give some introductions.
As Al said, he doesn't want us to stand up here and lecture to you. I did want to explain my
involvement with Division III. I came to the NCAA national office in late 1965 and I've been working in the legislative services department, which is the department that is responsible for helping the membership develop legislation and once it gets proposed and voted on, we are responsible for interpreting the legislation. I was assigned as a staff liaison to the Division III Steering Committee as well as the Division III Sub-Committee of the Presidents Commission about a year ago. Over the past six months, I have
participated in two Division III compliance roundtables with John Levins who a lot of you know. He's the assistant executive director for the compliance services department at the national office. That's the department that is responsible for helping the membership understand how to apply the rules. Legislative Services is to help you understand what the rules are and I am working in that area. John's department is more systems oriented helping you to know how to comply with the rules.
The purpose of the roundtables was to bring in a variety of people from Division III institutions. In an effort to get the Division III perspective on issues of importance to you and to find out how you all try to comply with NCAA rules, both the successes of trying to comply and the difficulties on your campus. I
learned a great deal from the roundtables and I know they were a good resource for John, as well. We got a lot of good ideas that, hopefully, will be shared with the entire membership once John gets some things put together through the compliance department.
One thing that did come out of the roundtables was that the Division III Steering Committee recommended to the NCAA Council that a student-athlete statement be developed that is specific to Division III. There's a lot of concern that the student-athlete statement is Division I and II oriented. It has a lot of rules that apply to only Division I and II. The Council has directed us to accomplish this task.
From the roundtables we started Division III compliance seminars. We held the first one last week in Williamsburg, Virginia in conjunction with the Middle-Atlantic States Conference meetings. I thought they
went very well. The purpose of that was for John to share the information we learned at the roundtables. My involvement was simply from the legislative aspect. Anytime you talk about compliance with the rules, you get questions about what the rules really are and how they're supposed to be applied. I was basically a resource person at this Division III Compliance Seminar. There's going to be another one in the next few months. Unfortunately, the details on who the participants are going to be, when it's going to be, etc., have not been worked out. I'm sure John will get the information to all of you.
Through my experiences with Division III over the last year, I think I've come to appreciate Division III and its philosophy. I have been able to understand Division III better. One reason why I'm
here today is to try and learn from you and be able to understand and give you, I hope, some information to take back with you, as well.
AL VAN WIE:
Those of us on the Steering Committee were extremely happy when Dick Schultz notified us that Nancy was going to be our liaison. Nancy was also the liaison with the Manual Review Committee and does know the Manual which is a real asset.
With that, I thank you for allowing me to be here with you today
You get many phone calls and letters constantly. I am asked, "Al, will the Division III Steering Committee consider a Proposition 48 in Division III?" Or a phone call will come in, "are you going to consider it? What's your opinion? Do we need a Proposition 48?" We're the only Division without a Proposition 48. That doesn't mean we need one, but I'd like to hear from you. Do we have anyone who strongly believes that we should consider it? There doesn't seem to be much support.
In support of it, the arguments I hear is that some people in our division are bringing in young men or women to participate in their program who cannot get into a Division I or II school because they do not
qualify under 48, hence; we are taking some athletes in Division III that I and II are not taking. That's the argument that I hear.
FROM THE FLOOR:
Why is that a problem?
AL VAN WIE:
Those people feel it's a problem in that those athletes can only play in this division. That seems to be the rationale.
FROM THE FLOOR:
I think that this is one of the things, again, I like about Division III. Just because I and II have something doesn't mean Division III has to have it. I really applaud the committee for separating us as much as you have been trying to get us away from some of the Division I rules we've been under. I really don't think it's a problem. If it's a problem for one to two schools, why should the whole division come under it?
I'm Max Servies from Wabash College. I feel we should have a Proposition 48 for a couple of reasons. NUmber one; Division III is such a heterogenous crew and number two; we do put a lot of pressure on our athletes in Division III. I think we have too many contests. We do a lot more extra-curricularly in sports than we do in the jazz band and other things on our campus. These kids should spend a year to become bona fide students before they are allowed to compete.
I'm Al Ackerman from Elmhurst College. I think the conflict is in the range of schools and what
is acceptable in admittance levels. Some are very high and some come closer to the average level. You end up with those conflicts and coaches come back to the athletic director and say, "we said no to our athlete and our next door neighbor just admitted him and we're going to have to play him on the playing field." That's where the conflict comes in. You're never going to come up with that even playing field.
I'm Steve Kurch from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire. I thought an interesting thing that came out of the discussion this morning on 42 and 48 was the student should represent the student population of the institution. I think that's a better way to approach the problem. It would be better for our institutions to see whether or not the athletes are typical students or within some range of a typical student to avoid the possibility that there are student-athletes on the campus who are there strictly for athletics.
AL VAN WIE:
In May, we discussed the selection process for Division III NCAA championships. Is the selection process working? Do you think it's working? Express yourself if you don't think it's working. The championships are the cornerstone to the NCAA. I think the selection process of who's in the championships and who's not is an important factor.
We need to create a selection process that encourages Division III institutions to go far beyond their normal scheduling practice to schedule institutions that would, somehow, justifya final selection decision. How do you position yourself to be sure if you're as good as you think you are to be accepted? We tried to include in a mailing that you all received a broad set of criteria that truly allowed a balanced approach to qualify for national championships. We did attempt to balance scheduling and scheduling success, wins and losses, with a various level of competition and the success in past championships to somehow reduce the necessity to expend funds on a more expensive schedule.
AL VAN WIE:
You need to get your statistics to your regional sports committee. It is your responsibility to see that they get your statistics.
My name is Al Ackerman from Elmhurst College. To say that people have not been excluded would be a lie. They have. There are teams that belong in there. I belong to a committee who has a lot of discussions in women's volleyball. The problem I see is not that some teams go and some teams shouldn't be going, but when you have regions not nearly as strong, should you guarantee them x amount of spots and exclude other people? Also, when you have the unbalance in number of teams in areas, that is a problem. When you're dealing with expenses looking for competition, they are the same year-in and year-out because you're playing the same areas trying to keep expenses to a minimum.
AL VAN WIE:
The stance of the Championships Committee for the last two years is to pick teams from the region. This means that a number-five team in your region may be a better team than the number-two team from another region, but it's going to be the best teams from the region and those teams will meet in a national championship. There's no way in Division III that you can evaluate people from different regions.
FROM THE FLOOR:
We eliminated the problem in the Division III Selection Committee in football by eliminating national standings. We were the first committee to do this and it worked out very well. There's no way you can compare East Coast teams with West Coast teams unless there's inter-regional competition. We picked the best four teams in each of the regions. It is something that the committee should look into in all sports and not just football. It was done as an experiment and we found it to be very successful.
We would favor seeing an open tournament where everyone who wants to participate can participate. It would mean two more rounds. The costs would be minimal. If it means cutting out one or two regular season games, we would support that. If you would have an open tournament, it would eliminate the selection process altogether.
There are different regions for every sport. The states within the region are not necessarily continuous with each other. That is a problem in itself. I support the regional concept. I think it's important that the states be continuous that are in the region. It's hardly a regional concept if you live in Massachusetts but you have to jump over New York, which is in another region, in order to compete with Pennsylvania.
AL VAN WIE:
This is a very good issue to address and we want to continue to address on the Championships Committee. Another concern is on the selection of the Championships Committee itself when a member of the Championships Committee's own team is being considered. We have an agreement that when your team is being considered, you will put the phone down. Personally, if your team is being considered, you should get off that committee at least two weeks before the selection process takes place and another person selected.
I would like to expand and be given an explanation as to how those committees are developed. There's a conception that they are continued from year-to-year. Some people perceive an "in" for their conference. I'm sure that's not true. Some people have a definite advantage because of their institution holding a seat on a committee for an extremely long time. I would hate to lose the expertise of those people, but there is
another side to that issue. I know there's a selection process, but that process is sometimes very indirect.
AL VAN WIE:
We have asked the staff to study that whole process and to come back with some information for us.
The comments you have made today have been very helpful to the Championships Committee in trying to be of service to you. The suggestion I have for you is that when you do have concerns, please communicate those concerns in writing, both to the respective sports committee and send a copy to the Championships Committee.
I served on the Division III Championships Committee for three years and I can assure you that the individuals that have been on that committee, both recognize the difficult position that the sports committees are in and it's not an easy task to try to make everyone happy, but they also have a global perspective. They can look
at the big picture in a very objective way. In order for them to be most effective, they really need to hear from you what's happening and what your suggestions are.
When we talk about selection and championship, how does the committee or how does our division feel about more automatics, less automatics or abolish automatics altogether. It seems in some regions, there are more automatics in a sport and, therefore, it alleviates some of the other people. As a division, how do you feel about the present automatics?
AL VAN WIE:
All of your comments have been very helpful. The Championships Committee has started to wrestle with this and, as you can see, there are a lot of aspects. In a lot of ways, our regional and national committees have done excellent jobs, but certainly, we've got a lot of work to do.
BILL MC HENRY:
No one answered the question on whether or not there should be automatic qualifiers. I personally don't think you should have automatic qualifiers in any sport. You should have the best teams selected regardless of what conference they come from. The conference automatic qualifier makes no sense at all for Division III.
AL VAN WIE:
Let's have a showing by raising our hands. We seem to be three to two in favor of automatic qualifier. The present Championships Committee feels very strongly about this point. A championship event should
be exactly that. It should not be an all-comers event. We addressed this issue in May and the Championships Committee came down strong on this point. An NCAA championship event ought to be a championship event. There's a continuing movement within the membership to expand the number of participants. We are looking to find out what the level of quality is in an event. We want to try to fund those events on a championship level.
BILL MC HENRY:
I'd like the Steering Committee to look into the possibility of either separating or dropping diving from the Division III swimming championships. We don't have a leg to stand on as far as risk management is concerned. Most pools in Division III are not sufficient to handle one and three-meter boards. Most Division III schools do not have a qualified diving instructor. I see all kinds of potential for danger there. The Division III Swimming Rules Committee favors the dropping of it, but they are overruled by the people on the committee from Division I and II. This should be looked into.
What you just expressed is new information to me. I'd like to suggest, or reinforce, what I offered earlier. Submit a letter to us and the swimming committee to make them aware of your feelings. When some of the sports committees were combined, our hope was that it wouldn't usurp the independence of the divisional sports committees from making decisions that make sense for that division. It sounds like this one needs to go through that process.
AL VAN WIE:
We've extended our hour. Your attendance sends a real message. If you would like to continue an open forum each year at NACDA, I'm sure the Executive Committee will be more than willing to go along with that request. I thank you for being here. If you're going to the game tonight, let's root for the Indians.