This year, the NCAA is proposing 10 new policies and regulations for Division III athletic programs. Three of these proposals are government-sponsored while the other seven are ideas brought forth to be discussed and voted on.
Taryn Stromback is Ohio Northern’s SAAC representative for the Ohio Athletic Conference and represents ONU in the National DIII SAAC. The SAAC is the Student Athletic Advisory Council and Taryn will be discussing all 10 proposals at the next National DIII SAAC meeting.
1.) An increase in membership dues
Dues have been increased to $1000 resulting in a $2000 annual fee for institutions, and an annual fee for a conference is now a total of $5000. The reasoning behind this proposal is because of the short fall in budgets which sponsors championships. This increase is only in affect for Division III institutions. Students support this proposal because it allows championships to remain the same and it helps allow more students to go to championships. This proposal overall has no negatives and in fact it helps give more money for student athletes.
2.) Qualification for provisional and reclassifying institutions
This proposal is for institutions who want to join a Division III conference. Instead of going through the four year process, they want to waive the third and fourth year as long as all the steps are done so institutions can compete in a conference tournament and championships instead of sitting out for two years. This proposal in also a positive and students support because it gives them the ability to compete in championships.
3.) A banned drug reinstatement for football
This proposal limits administrative responsibilities. As of now if a football player is caught with drugs they must sit out a year, must pass a drug test with a negative and turn in a form for administrators. By taking out administrative responsibilities it allows the process to go faster.
4.) Reduction in minimum amount participation for golf
This proposal allows the minimum of players to be four instead of five. This allows schools with few golf ath- letes to participate even if they don’t have enough students to make up a full team.
5.) Deregulation of electronic transmission
As of now coaches are allowed to text, call, email, and privately message potential recruits on social media. With this new proposal, it allows coaches to publicly write to athletes on social media. Students dislike this proposal because they want their privacy, unlike the president who views it as a positive. This proposal has a lot of debate and is one of the major proposals to be discussed and voted on.
Junior Daniel Kwiat said, “I think that it’s unnecessary for a coach to be contacting an athlete on social media. I feel that it is unprofessional and there are many other means of communicating to a recruit.”
6.) The ability to reserve an athletic building for strength and conditioning
This proposal can allow athletes to reserve an athletic building and it limits the public’s access to the gym during that time if an institution does not have separate athletic facilities. This could potentially hurt the general student body because they wouldn’t have the flexibility to workout whenever they wanted. The student’s opinion on this proposal is neutral.
7.) Day-of-competition contact on campus
This proposal allows coaches to talk to recruits on a day of competition as long as the recruit is visiting campus that same day. This proposal makes it easier for athletes and coaches to communicate and both athletes and coaches have a lot of support towards this proposal.
8.) Ice hockey off-ice training
This proposal gives athletes the ability to train before the official start date.
9.) Non-traditional football season
This proposal is on its third year of being approved. This proposal allows football athletes to have a 14-day practice period during the off-season to wear pads, helmets, and have contact. As of now, football players are limited to just skill training during the offseason, but with this proposal, they would be able to have three days in which they can have full contact and wear helmets and pads. The positives about this proposal is that it gives football players the same opportunities to practice and compete in the offseason along with other sports. The negatives about this proposal is the concern about health and safety. Since football is a contact sport, there must be athletic trainers present, but this is an issue because it takes trainers away from in-season sports who should have priority. Students are torn about this proposal.
Kwiat also said “I would say that full contact for 14 days isn’t completely unreasonable with the new mindset the NCAA has had as far as too much contact damaging the athletes. I think that you can still get plenty done as far as coaching players up and learning the play book without having to go full pads for the entire off-season.”
Last year, this proposal caused a lot of debate and it was close to being approved.
10.) Fundraisers involving athletic ability
As of right now athletes are not allowed to participate in a fundraiser that uses their athletic ability, because it is considered an advantage and also they have the opportunity to practice beforehand. This proposal allows athletes to participate because it is considered volunteering. The positives of this proposal is that it is for a fundraiser. The negatives of this proposal is that it can be easily abused, coaches could end up using it as a practice and make it mandatory to go. There is a lot of support for this proposal, but also some worry about the potential abuse it could have.
Chelsea Clinger, a freshman, said “I think as long as you are raising money for a good cause then the fundraiser should be open to anyone who wants to participate.”
With these new proposals, ONU could potentially benefit and expand their athletic program.