ALL DIVISION III MEMBERS
CURRENT ISSUES: MEMBERSHIP/WAIVER PROCEDURES AND REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
(Monday, June 7 -11:45 a.m.- 12:45 p.m.)
On behalf of the Division III members of the NACDA Executive Board, I welcome you to our divisional breakout session. Today, we're most fortunate to have with us John Harvey from Carnegie Mellon and NCAA Division III vice president, and a member of the NCAA Executive Committee, Dan Bridges from California Institute of Technology, and Dennis Collins from the North Coast Athletic Conference and an NCAA council member.
To share Division III Steering Committee's thoughts on possible 1994 legislative proposals in regard to three issues --the criteria for Division III membership, waiver policies and procedures and regional championships. Each one of these topics do and will impact upon our present and future student-athletes at our respective institutions. John, Dan and Dennis have requested me to stress the importance of your input in these discussions.
Before we begin our topic discussions, I would like to detour from the agenda. First and foremost, we in Division III, as well as the entire NACDA and NCAA membership, have a very important person among us for she has brought much pride to Division III in her efforts and accomplishments to intercollegiate athletics, Judy Sweet. Judy, please stand and be recognized. To open our session, Betty Norrie, the coordinator for the NCAA Life Skills Program, which is sponsored by the NCAA Foundation will briefly inform us on the prospect of and the development plan for this exciting program.
Thank you, Betty. I'm delighted to be here today. It's a little dawning to follow the likes of Don Casselman. Some of you may have read in the NCAA News recently articles concerning the NCAA Foundation's proposal for the new Life Skills Program for student-athletes. This program will be made available to all member institutions and I want to make you a little aware of our plans.
We hope that the program will make student-athletes, not only bridge the gap from college life to professional life in the business world, but will enable them to learn how to make meaningful contributions to their communities in the process of doing this. The program is based on the premise that the same qualities and skills that have helped a student-athlete become valuable to his team and to his school but, also will understand and recognize that those same qualities will help him in life after college.
The Division I-A Athletics Directors Association have felt that this program is so important that they made it their chief focus for their existence and we are very excited to partner with them in this undertaking. However, as I mentioned earlier, the program will be made available to all member institutions in all
divisions. We are very excited and very encouraged about the response that we have already received from you, our members in these efforts. The phone calls have been extremely encouraging and we have already started receiving materials on the subject matter that we want to cover in our program.
While we are excited about the program, we are also feeling a little trepidation about it because of the enonnity of the project that we are undertaking. We know that we have our work cut out for us. We have identified approximately 45 topics that we want to cover in our program materials. These topics will cover almost every conceivable subject -time management, media relations, mentoring programs, drug and alcohol education, community service, fiscal responsibility, all the way to career development and helping your student-athlete actually find a job.
However, what I'm here today to do specifically is to enlist your help in this undertaking. We know that many of you have, on your campuses, components of this program already in place and working. These may
be in the form of classes, curriculum, outlines, videos, seminars, speakers that you think highly of, or other ways in presenting these materials. We want to ask your help by sharing your successes with us. Our plan i to combine and summarize your programs that you already have in place and put those into a package of materials to make available for all of you. We hope in many cases that we will have a dozen or so different methods of presentation of materials. We know that campus environments differ greatly across the country and we want our instructions and suggestions to be adaptable to all of our campuses.
While we would like to cover all of these 45 subject matters in the initial publication, I don't know if we can do that. What I'm suggesting to you is that that will depend upon you and the solicitations that I make to you today in this effort. We need all the help that you can give us. Our funds are limited, although we will
obviously be seeking some professional assistance in this where we have to pay, we want you to help us. We want to make this program as affordable to you as we can. The best way to do that is for you to tell us how you're making it work on your campus.
We plan to take the 93-94 season to develop the program. At the moment, the plan is to have two pilot years where the program will be implemented on select campuses across the country. However, because of the tremendous demand that we're hearing from you, we're going to try to make the availables ready for you by the fall of 1995. F or sure, we will have packets ready for distribution to those of you who have a commitment and make that commitment known to us in the fall of 1996, but perhaps, in the fall of 1995, we will have these ready.
The NCAA News articles on the Life Skills Programs have been put on the corners of your desks. Hopefully, you've all picked one of them up. In those articles are the topics that we want to cover in this program and where to send any materials that you might want to share with us. I promised to be brief with this. I'm so excited about this, I could talk all morning, but I won't do that. Please read the articles and decide what you have to share with us and please, let us hear from you. Thank you.
Thank you, Betty. If you look in the back of your Convention programs, you'll find that Betty does have a round table discussion scheduled. I highly suggest that many of your attend if you have some ideas to give her.
Now, we'll begin our divisional topics. Dennis Collins will lead off.
Thanks, Betty .This issue of the membership growth in Division III is a new one. At the January NCAA convention, the Council asked me to speak for them and present the various issues that the membership has posed as far as the growth of the membership. I heard the previous speaker in this room say, you only remember seven percent of what you hear. A lot of this will be brand new if you've forgotten it since January .It would be helpful to reprise some of it because it will bring back some of the issues we talked about and some of the concerns that the membership has been voicing about this particular problem. The Council has responded since January with some ideas about possible legislation to improve the application process and screening process, etc., about new members. John Harvey, representing the Council will be able to give you, at that time, some ideas that we've taken from you and developed into a proposal for legislation coming up this year .
This is a topic that is really on the ground floor at this point. Division III is the largest division in the NCAA. It has been growing, however, at a faster rate than any other division. Ten years ago, Division III had 287 members. Today, we have 347 members. That's approximately 20 percent, or an additional 61 new members in 10 years. In that same time, Division I has added 20 institutions and Division II has added approximately 30. They have found also, that they're growing faster than they want to. The growth of the membership and it's impact on Division III in the association have been a topic of discussion at the Steering
Committee's recent meetings.
We might be wondering where the applications for membership are coming. There are a couple of areas. Certainly, the number one area is from the current members of the NAIA, the other national association for collegiate sports. It's been referenced here that the association is probably losing memberships significantly. There was an article in USA Today last October that spoke to that. In the last two years, NAIA has gone from about 500 members to 350 members. We're seeing most of them applying to Division II or Division III. Our concern last year, on the Steering Committee, in Division III when we started about this issue, we found that Division II is concerned about this as well. Now, we have the two groups doing some brainstorming together.
What was pointed out in the USA Today article, was that from a monetary standpoint, Division III is in a good financial situation compared to being in the NAJA membership. The NAJA membership dues are
approximately $3,500 while NCAA dues at about $950 per year. NAJA members pay for their championships while we received, from the NCAA, expense-paid championships. Dick Schultz made an interesting comment at our orientation in January. An average NCAA membership is worth approximately $10,000. For the $950 you pay, the value is worth $10,000. That includes the catastrophic insurance that you get, the payment from championships and all sorts of other benefits. He also mentioned that we probably need a healthy NAJA in
the United States. It serves a specific purpose and that group has a good, long tradition serving their members their specific needs. That's an interesting point also. They need to be healthy.
There's going to be a drift in Division I and II memberships in the association and we need to keep an eye on this as we look to the future. As the requirements get tougher for being a member of Division I and Division II, legislatively and financially, there will be a migration downward within our own NCAA. Last January, Springfield College, an outstanding Division II member, announced they will go to Division III in the very near future. That's an example of what may happen. It's hard to predict the future, but we need to look around and see what is happening. The Steering Committee has come to no conclusions at this point, although we have some recommended legislation that John will tell you about.
We wanted to share some of the questions we are hearing and some we are asking. We still do not have any predisposed disposition because there are some benefits possibly to future growth. We should consider our growth now as to plan for it. The biggest impact that people are telling us is about championships if we have additional new members. The biggest question they are asking is, will the brackets continue to expand. We ask this question in light of television revenues for future NCAA basketball contracts. At this point, it's all general knowledge. We all read the papers. All TV sport contracts are being reduced dramatically. Both the NFL and Major League Baseball have been asked to take cuts in their current long-range contracts. When the NCAAICBS contract expires in 1997, will there be increases or will there be deductions? Of course, there's no way to know. But, I think we should think about the possibility of a reduction. If there are reductions, I believe that all division championships will be frozen or reduced. That's hard to tell, but we should think about that and plan for the possibility that it might happen.
I want to give you an example that will illustrate what I'm talking about. Imagine in men's basketball where now we have 40 brackets for 347 teams. If our membership would expand each year through 1997 to 420 members, and there would be no expansion of the brackets, that would be an additional 70 teams with no additional brackets. I don't know how you would feel about that. In my region alone, we have a number of teams that have recently entered the picture in the championships and it's created a little difference in our regIon.
Also, related to the championship issue, is the philosophy of new members as they present their applications to Division III for membership. Do these members embrace the Division III philosophy ofa broad-based program? Or, are they focused on a few sports satisfied to meet minimum requirements of the four men's and four women's sports? With the minimum of sports, specialization may be inevitable for some members. This will have an impact on a few of our sports. The records we saw from the Championship Committee in January showed us that our highest participation sports are men's basketball, women's basketball, women's volleyball and men's soccer. I believe that these would be the sports that may be
impacted the greatest if people have minimum sports and not broad-based programs with many sports.
Competitively, many of our institutions that sponsor 15 to 21 sports will find it harder to compete again specializing member-institutions in Division III that are only sponsoring the minimum sports compared to tt other broad-based programs. This will create another diversity, a great diversity, in Division III especially with
the difficult economic times to try to excel on the field and offer your college a broad-based program. On 1 other hand, new membership can make our division even stronger. The key area of this issue is geography. In areas where we have few Division III members, it would be helpful to have new members there for scheduling and for additional Division III conferences. From what I've been told, in the west and in the SOl is where this would be of benefit. The second thing that is flattering to know is that people want to be part us. They must think we are operating our college athletic programs with the right attitude and philosophy.
In conclusion, as we take a look at this new topic, the possible expansion and growing membership in Division III, there may be at least three alternatives to the way we may approach this. Number one, accept a of those that apply; number two, enforce, without waiver, the current requirements for membership; number three, increase requirements for new members. Now, there may be other alternatives also.
The Steering Committee wanted members to be aware of these issues and be involved in the planning of our growth. We've asked the NCAA Review and Planning Committee to study the impact of the new members on Division III and they have accepted this project. At that point, we asked for a lot of ideas and we asked you to send them to the Council and the Steering Committee and you did. We appreciate that. With that input, we were able to take some of those ideas. John Harvey, with the help of Shirley Whittaker, who's the NCAA staff person responsible for membership, put all of your ideas into an interesting legislative proposal that the Council got to see at our April meeting. In doing so, we worked with the Division II leadership who were also having a number of meetings on this same issue. We met together at our April meeting and we both signed off on the guts of the proposal. We're on the same page with them.
I'd like to give you some insight into the proposal that will be coming up in January. John Harvey, the athletic director at Carnegie Mellon University will do that at this time.
Thank you, Dennis. Dennis have given you the broad picture of our membership status in Division III and some of the concerns. Some of those are philosophical concerns. My part in this program is not to
address the philosophical concerns in the broad membership program, but simply to go into the waiver procedure that we have had in the past for entering potential members to talk about some of the difficulties and also to give you the elements for an alternative procedure for entering members which the NCAA SteeJ Committee, Division III and Division II are going to flush out and complete and propose as legislation for 1 next convention. This is getting down to the more particular case of our current situation as to how memb( enter and how we can better accomplish that procedure.
There are many answers to the question of how exclusive Division III should be. We have wrestled w that question. This isn't a response to the question of whether we should be more exclusive and try to kee out more people or whether we should be more open minded and let everyone in. This isn't an answer to that. This is mainly to work out the awkwardness that we felt this last year and in previous years in the
waiver procedures and trying to improve that whole process. I'd like to emphasize that we are cooperativ~ doing so with Division II. Ninety five percent of the proposal is a combination proposal that the Division II
vice president and the STeering Committee of Division II and ourselves came up with so that we would be on
the same page. We felt that it was a broader base and stronger approach if we could agree on an
improvement of this waiver procedure. As Dennis said, we met with Division II and I felt good about this meeting. We always feel that cooperation opportunities are ignored. In meeting with the Steering Commit of Division II and talking about this issue, I think we got together and perhaps, in other things of mutual
interest to us, we can continue to do the same thing. I'm going to try to cooperate with Division II in morc
these issues. On the federation by sport issue, Division II and Division III are somewhat allied in our feelings about this issue. We will keep in close contact with them on this.
Let me give you the basic elements that the Division II and III Steering Committees arrived at for replacing the current waiver procedure. This would then become a proposed legislative item at the January convention. I would emphasize that the current procedures be in place for anybody that wants to enter this time around. The policies and procedures we've had are still in place until legislation is proposed and voted on in January .
There will be a three-year provisional membership period. We are dropping the idea of coming in asking for waivers. Instead, there will simply be a three-year provisional period during which we would ask several things of the potential members. One is that they bring their program into full compliance with Division III requirements during that three-year period so that when they come in, they come in with no baggage. Secondly, during that period, we ask each of these potential members to carry out the institutional self-study guide procedure that we feel has been improved in the last year. We think that's a very good exercise for any potential Division III member to go through. It's good for all of us who are already members. As you see, the idea is not necessarily to make things more difficult to come in, but to have members coming in really understand what Division III is all about. We feel in the institutional self-study guide, which starts off with a copy of the Division III statement, is designed to educate potential members and present members in what Division III is all about. The institutional self-study guide requirement is another element of this proposal.
At the end of the first year and at the end of the second year, the potential members would be asked to provide the Steering Committee with a progress report as to how they're doing in bringing themselves into compliance with our requirements. Rather than simply waiting until the end of the three years, we felt that a progressive check along the way would be useful for us. If we find they're having difficulty in any areas,
such as scheduling, we would find that out early enough to help them along. These are the main elements, as you can see. I'll leave it at that. One benefit to us on the Steering Committee as we consider the proposal for legislation which will be finalized at our meeting this summer, is to get your impressions and your feelings about this to see if you think we're on the right track or not. We would like any suggestions from you. It's important for us to get some feedback.
What does the provisional membership entitle that member to? Are they entitled to championships?
No, they are not entitled to championships. That would be the main thing in which they cannot participate. We also haven't decided on what the fee would be. I'm sure it will be less than what present members will pay. Nevertheless, we haven't really decided what the fee base will be, but not championships.
There will be no catastrophic insurance during that period. Is that right?
It wasn't in the original agreement. That, as I remember, is still under consideration.
From the Floor:
Will provisional membership be automatic, or will it have to go through a process?
That's our feeling. Initially, we had talked about a package of materials that these provisional members get immediately. They would be well aware before the first year is up what the Division III philosophy statement is. We haven't actually gotten into the deep mechanics of that, but I don't recall talking about an) reservations on the initial step into the first year provisional membership.
From the Floor:
In the past, when we've had discussions about member application, quite often, the amount of data institution has submitted has been somewhat lacking. It's been difficult to get certain pieces of inform~ from schools. What you're describing will help that to a certain extent. It might also be appropriate tc over a period of time reactions from member institutions.
There were several suggestions from the membership that a sponsorship procedure might be required. have discussed it, but it hasn't yet become part of the program. I don't know if it will. Some people fel1 if you ask a potential member to have the sponsorship of a number of institutions who would verify certal things, then you could use those sponsors. Especially, those in the same geographic area who would play them. They would know if these potential members are doing things in the way that Division III wants aJ are they complying in some ways and what their program is all about. How do you feel about getting SOl input from other members about these institutions? We are trying to make this a more thorough process. want to increase the certainty of a potential member.
I'm curious about provisional membership when they go into the financial aid in Division III. Would be protected or grandfathered in any awards they may have? If we take them in, I would say, take them clean. I don't want to see any of these new awards coming out.
So, during the three year period, you're worried about the continuing scholarship money they That would get into the question about the scheduling. Would our people be willing to help them their schedule, if they knew they had scholarship people?
But mainly when we take them in after that third year .Will they be protected?
Now, at that point, they have to be totally devoid of any scholarship aid at the end of that three years which might mean to say that the four year might be more applicable. We felt that three years was enou~ and asked them to clean the decks of any scholarships or aid they may have during the three years. At thl end of that time, they're totally acceptable so that no waivers or exceptions would be necessary at the end that three-year period. This is a no-waiver system.
From the Floor:
Is this three years without competition at the national level?
They would not be eligible for our championships during that three year period.
A number of Division III members have come to us with proposals and ideas with the idea that, at this stage, we should again look at the idea of some regional championships in some sports, particularly the emphasis has been on football. That means regional championships that would terminate at the regional level. I was reluctant to get into this issue again, because as many of you did, I sat through the discussion some years ago when we had open discussion sessions at the NCAA convention. At that time, I felt that there was relatively little support for the idea of regional championships as terminal championships in Division III.
There is some great experiences that go on in national championships, individual sports as well as team sports. However, it's our obligation to our members if these topics come up for us to respond and investigate what change in interest there may be there.
The topic came up at the Presidents' Commission, two or three times in the last year, and the Division III portion of the Presidents' Commission finally decided that they felt a strong interest in the possibility of football regional championships in Division III. But, to find out what the total group of presidents felt, they commissioned a very brief survey which should now be in the hands of all of the presidents of Division III. Essentially, it asked three quick questions. Number one, are you in favor at all of any regional championships? Secondly, if so, are you more interested in regional championships among team sports or among individual sports and thirdly, if you're interested in any of these championships, how do you feel about football in particular, as one candidate to have regional championships only? The specific proposal that's been circulated to us is, we now have 16 teams which qualify in four regions which is in a way under representation. Instead, have 32 possible teams in eight different regions. There would be four teams in each of eight regions so that you would play two weeks to a regional champion, thus, you would end up with eight regional champions in Division III. This would double the number of opportunities for Division III football teams. They would be going into their own region among four teams playing two weeks to a championship. That would end it all by Thanksgiving and we'd proceed on with the other sports. That proposal does satisfy some of the criticisms we have presently, but of course, it does eliminate the opportunity for someone to go on to a national championship.
The Championships Committee and the Steering Committee have not taken any position on this proposal, specifically, or on the whole concept. We are entertaining the subject again and the presidents in Division III are clearly interested in the way of looking at that proposal. There are strong opinions on both sides and we need to discuss this and decide what to do about it.
My first reaction would be that it would go against the grain of our philosophy that we try to treat all of our Division III student-athletes alike in every aspect.
That is a danger, picking and choosing at the championship level so that you would have one sport or team sports, or whatever the proposal would be, on a different arrangement from other sports.
On the topic of membership and the topic of regionalized championships are really coming to an apex as more and more members that Division III has, the more difficult it becomes to get a national championship. Right now, it's one out of 348. The more and more members we have, the more we might be headed for some type of inevitability in order to satisfy the numbers.
You're right that the increasing membership accentuates the problem and doesn't necessarily necessitate regional championships, but asks for some remedy and it's not going to be easy to get additional money as you might expect to increase the bracket size in a sport such as football to get more teams around to the national championship level.
On your own campus, if you have opinions, talk to your president at some time soon. The Presidents , Commission meeting is at the end of this month. Supposedly, this little survey is due back in before that meeting. If you haven't talked to your president already about it or if he hasn't sent the form in, get him to do so.
The Executive Committee very recently approved the increase in the championships brackets on the women's side that had been proposed. We got an allocation of $256,000, which as you know, isn't easy to come up with these days, in order to increase the championships brackets in some team sports and individual sports such as women's basketball in the interest in gender equity. All of those increases will go into effect 1993-94. We felt that was a significant achievement for us and will do a lot in the championships category not related to this other question. Thank you.
As we all know in Division III, we're never afraid to express our opinions. Sometimes, when we co a session like this, we sit back and listen to others speak. I certainly know, having been there where Joh that throughout the year, it's important that you let your Steering Committee know what you would like to do. Thank you all for attending this session.