NCAA Division II Breakout Session
Division II ADA Business Session
(Tuesday, June 15, 9:30-10:15 a.m.)
We think it's time we have a marketing program. Every year at Final Four times, every year at the Kickoff Classic, we see a lot of print and electronic media coverage of the NCAA and the student-athlete at the NCAA. Of course, it's Division I. Somehow we need to get to that print and electronic media. We need to have a message about who we are and the good work we do servicing the many student-athletes on our campuses. We want to move forward with that. If you believe that, we'll discuss it a little bit later.
Deregulation as discussed. As you know, at the convention, we're going to be getting some legislation on Bylaws 11 and 13 because those were discussed a year ago. We need to be ready to understand the budget implications and the staff implications of some of the deregulations that are coming forward. For example, we know it will come forward that we should withdraw all recruiting schedules, timeframes, let the coaches go whenever they want to.
We should celebrate, understand and be prepared to apply for it if it's applicable to us, the gender and minority grant program that Division II is proposing, to help us financially get minorities into our athletics administration offices on our campuses.
There's a huge concern for initial eligibility for junior college transfers in that we're getting an image that is not what we want. Our standards are quite lower than Division I and that issue needs some discussion and study. In fact, the Management Council has asked the Research Committee to do a study of junior college non-graduates who are attending our institutions and their success rate to get more information on this issue.
Amateurism is not so much the amateur or the pro that's going on signing with agents, etc., but for us, the issue of the 25-year old competing against a 19-year old. That student-athlete who had six years of athletics exposure and experience coming to our campuses and competing against that athlete right out of high school. What can we do about that issue? Is it one for you?
The 20-hour rule. Particularly in baseball, we hear the student-athletes say they are getting too much. Coaches are requiring so much time of the student-athlete, taking away from the educational mission of the institution. Do you all think that's a problem? Is that an issue? We think so.
Lastly, one of our officers, Jim Battle, has spent some time putting together a proposal we'd like to share this morning. As we reach out to our student-athletes, and I think we ought to do and think about that more, how we can get funds to support them in their years after eligibility where they might graduate? At our level, Division II, at our institution, finding funds to help that athlete after his or her eligibility has been exhausted is a big issue and the ethical implications therein. We'll discuss that.
I hope we get issues from the floor this morning that are on your mind so that we can generate some strategy to move forward in Division II.
Before we begin discussion, I would like to make a plug, if I might, for the Division II Athletics Directors Association. I said some of these things on Sunday morning to the Board, but I know that as we started this association, much was done by faith because there was no history. It's become very clear that many of the officers of the NCAA and the various organizations are reaching to us and asking our opinion. I've been invited to go to California to sit in on the deregulation of Bylaw 15. We've been asked our opinion by Clint about some things at the Management Council level and I think that's important. We are the ones who have to bear the brunt of the decisions that are made. We implement the programs. It seems to me that we ought to have the strongest voice. I encourage all of you to join this association so that can together make our voice heard.
Let's get back to graduation rates. Bob Carlson spoke very passionately about this on Sunday morning. I wonder if any of you has some concerns about this particular issue personally. Not many share this, but I believe we should use graduation rates as a way to create an identity. There are many, many, many Division II institutions who are doing very well in graduating their student-athletes. That ought to be celebrated and it ought to be published. That's a way for us to let the public know that graduation rates are important to us, more important than the entertainment dollar. That's what we're about. It's the tracking of that student-athlete and how the NCAA counts student-athletes that we'd like to get a handle on. I wonder what you think about that. Do you agree with what the discussion was on yesterday?
In California, one of the missions of the California state system is to serve the State Junior College System. We get a lot of transfers. We have very few student-athletes because of limited budgets that fit the federal mandate role. Because our numbers were so bad, I asked some people on our staff to go back and research the past 10 years about how many student-athletes that actually participated at our university graduated. Our numbers went up dramatically. They didn't fit the federal guidelines, but kids coming to our school are graduating. We can't report those. That's not what's published.
We'll move to the next issue. We'll move to the marketing issue. We're all looking for ideas since all of us want to market our program. All of us think Division II is great and we want to get it before the public. We've talked about some kind of video exposure we can put into our local stations. We probably aren't going to get ESPN or Fox or some national network to do something, but if we have a message each of us could share, that's what we have so far. I open this for discussion.
I'd like to ask our board members from all of our conferences and independent reps to solicit their member institutions for the individual's touch. It is the individual touch that will strengthen the best as a way of developing marketing and promotions. If we do that over the next time the conferences gather, maybe we can have something in place by this time next year.
Let's move on to deregulation. This summer, we're going to talk about Bylaw 15 and, of course, that's financial aid. What came out of your board meeting on Sunday was that we should remove from countable aid, loans that are administered by the institution. Since the family or the individual has to pay that back, it doesn't seem to be financial assistance. It's a loan. We'd like to know what you think about that. If there's anything else in Bylaw 15 you want us to bring before the deregulation group, let us know. How many people in the room are interested in removing the countable aid loans administered by the institution? Let's see a show of hands. Opposed. Thank you.
I've asked Jim Battle to come up here.
We were looking at the tremendous amount of programs available to Division I institutions that are sponsored by the NCAA. It's no wonder that many institutions see Division I as the pie in the sky. That's where everyone wants to be. When you look at all of the programs available to Division I and not available to Division II, you think that's where we ought to go. We want to focus on programs that benefit student-athletes. One of the things we looked at when looking at the grant programs in Division I, was a program called a Degree Completion Grant. This is available to Division I student-athletes. It states, "The NCAA established this program to assist student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility for institutional financial aid. Nominees must have completed their athletics eligibility at a Division I member institution five years since enrollment and be within 30 hours of their degree. They may be funded for a maximum of five semesters on a part-time basis or two semesters on a full-time basis."
It seems to me that a program of that sort is more needed at Division II institutions than at Division I institutions. Many Division I institutions have the capability to supply aid to student-athletes beyond their eligibility within that time period window. We looked at a proposal of that sort that would aid student-athletes at Division II institutions. We put together a proposal that is based on that same concept.
I'll read it as it is written. "The intent of the proposal is to establish in Division II a degree completion grant program sponsored by the NCAA for fifth-year student-athletes that have exhausted their eligibility. The grant would be limited to the cost of tuition and books. Student-athletes must apply and qualify for the grant as follows: one, must be recommended by the director of athletics or faculty athletics representative; two, must have completed eight semesters of academic study; three, must have made satisfactory progress toward a degree; four, must have exhausted eligibility for intercollegiate athletics competition; five, must have a 2.5 or better grade-point average; six, must be within 30 hours of graduation; and seven, must apply within two years of the eighth semester."
The rationale that we wrote is that the demands of participation in intercollegiate athletics programs make it difficult for student-athletes to carry a normal load of 15 credit hours. As such, many student-athletes, during their season of competition, carry a minimum load of 12 hours. Carrying less than a normal load of 15 hours results in many student-athletes not completing requirements of graduation at the end of eight semesters. Most Division II athletics programs do not have available to them the maximum allowable grants in any sport. Most Division II athletics programs do not have the ability to award athletics grants to fifth-year student-athletes that do not have eligibility. As a result, many Division II student-athletes needing a fifth year do not graduate simply because they never return to school for that fifth year. They can't afford the cost of attendance. We just felt that a degree completion grant in Division II would increase the graduation rate for student-athletes. The graduation rate issue is one of the issues in Division II we have addressed today. This is one of the strategies we could use to help increase the rate of graduation for Division II student-athletes.
Thank you Jim. The thought for us is, are we interested in looking at this and asking the Management Council about this? Of course, it's a financial issue. The money might come from some other programs we think are important.
Does anybody here know if Division I money comes from Division I money for division-wide money? It comes from Division I money. I thought so. We need to recognize that would be the case for us. Are we interested in this proposal enough to ask the Management Council to look at it or is this an issue on your campus?
We are studying the junior college transfers and you'll see something at the convention on that issue. There will also be discussion at the convention on the 20-hour student-athlete rule. Please be aware that deregulation will have personnel and budget implications on your campus and be ready to be thoughtful as we bring those proposals forward at the convention to vote on.
It's been a great year for me personally and I want to thank the Board for their efforts, particularly the officers and you for allowing me to lead this group this year. I think the Division II Athletics Directors Association is critical. It's important and I want to encourage you to become a member if you're not and get others to join, because with a common voice, we can make good things happen. Thank you very much for a great year. It's been a good session for us.
First of all, I will be assuming the presidency of this organization in the year 1999-2000. I'm excited about the representation we've been guaranteed through some of the various committees. Our organization is going to be more visible as time goes on. I'm looking forward to a great year.
I'd like to have Jim Fallis come forward please. I'd like to present Jim Fallis with a token of our appreciation. Jim was our first president of the Association. This organization really was a vision of Jim Fallis' and we thank you for bringing this vision to a reality.
I'd like to thank Phil Roach. Phil, we've accomplished a lot. The quarterly newsletter, the listserv under your leadership. Thank you, Phil, for a great year.