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The NCAA Division III staff has created this bi-weekly communication for the Division III Commissioners Association to provide up-to-date communications on the constantly evolving impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the Division III membership.  Please share this communication with your conference members.
Recent Governance Meetings and Key COVID-19 Discussions and Outcomes.

Subcommittee for Legislative Relief, Sept. 25
  • Enrollment for student-athletes that graduate before the Spring term.   The subcommittee reviewed the requests for student-athletes that graduate at the end of the fall term and who didn’t compete this fall due to the impact of the coronavirus, to participate in the spring term while not enrolled. The subcommittee confirmed that a student-athlete must enroll in the spring to compete in this semester.  The subcommittee noted that participation while not being enrolled in any classes is contrary to the principles that intercollegiate athletics is about students participating with students. 

Championships Committee, Sept. 29
  • Winter and spring championships bracket reduction recommendations.   After receiving feedback from the sport committees, the Championships Committee finalized its recommendation to have the 2021 winter and spring championship brackets and field sizes, team and individual, not exceed 75% of existing brackets and field sizes.  The only exception is if a sport’s maximum number of allocated automatic qualifiers is greater than 75%. The committee’s priority is the automatic qualification (AQ) access followed by consideration for institutions unaffiliated with an AQ conference. Ultimately, the committee acknowledges that determining how to fill the brackets may change depending upon membership participation decisions in the coming weeks and months. For the individual/team winter sports of swimming and diving, indoor track and field, and wrestling, the committee acknowledges that the 75-percent threshold does not always produce a conveniently manageable field size but remained committed to the necessary reductions to contain costs and maintain consistency across sports.

  • Winter championship selection date adjustments.  The committee recommends the following:
    • Basketball: conference automatic qualification deadline is Sat., March 6 and selections will occur on Sun., March 7. 
    • Ice hockey: conference automatic qualification deadline and selections announcement is on Sun., March 14. 
    • Swimming and diving selections: will move two weeks later to Wed., March 10.  There will be no in-person zone diving meets to qualify for the championships (an alternate selections method will be determined).
    • Indoor track and field selections: no change in selection announcement date (Sun., March 7).
    • Wrestling selections: no change in selection announcement date (Mon., March 1).

COVID-19 Playing and Practice Season Internal Working Group
  • Resocialization of Collegiate Basketball.  The NCAA Sport Science Institute (SSI), in partnership with the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group, has released the Core Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Basketball , its latest set of health and safety guidelines focused on COVID-19 and the first set of guidelines concentrated on basketball. The guidelines include updates on testing, travel considerations, and access to the court and bench areas. The guidelines suggest testing three times per week on non-consecutive days throughout the competition season, including officials, as well as the logistics of appropriately distancing Tier 1 individuals (student-athletes and essential personnel who are in regular proximity to them) from other essential personnel during games.  Staff anticipates SSI releasing an FAQ next week. 

Strategic Conference Grant Updates

The following additional items to increase flexibility for the Conference Grant funding were proposed by the D3CA Conference Grant Committee and approved for 2020-21 grant cycle as one-time requests.

Tier One
  • Conferences may use Tier One funds on any preapproved grant expense. Per conference grant policies and procedures, conferences must still:
    • Meet the requirement that at least $200 per institution is spent on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
    • Spend no more than 25% of Tier One funds on conference office personnel.
  • In order to allow conferences to conduct programming for constituent groups (e.g., FARs, SWAs), the policy of conducting conference-based events/programming once every three years, has been waived for the 2020-21 grant cycle.


  • In 2020-21, it will be permissible for conferences to use either Tier Three (Officiating) or Tier Two (Student-Athlete Well-Being) funds to help cover COVID testing for basketball and football officials as recommended by the COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group.
  • In 2020-21, Tier Three officiating funds may be used to offset additional assignor fees.

Grant flexibility provided last year (i.e. rollover policy, flexibility spend between Tier Two and Three) will be provided again in the 2020-21 grant cycle.  Click here for all 2020-21 conference grant flexibility actions.

Upcoming Meetings and Anticipated Discussions

Management Council, October 19-20
  • Championship Recommendations.  The Council will review and act on the winter and spring championship recommendations. 


With every communication, we also anticipate additional questions.  Please send all questions to d3identity@ncaa.org.  Stay healthy and safe and thank you for your continued collaboration and leadership.

Louise McCleary (she, her, hers)
Managing Director of Division III
This email was sent to NCAA Division III Commissioners Association based on contact information in the NCAA Directory.
National Collegiate Athletic Association, 700 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204 US

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