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 on the Division III membership. Please share this communication with your conference members.
RECENT GOVERNANCE MEETINGS AND KEY COVID-19 DISCUSSIONS AND OUTCOMES
Playing and Practice Seasons Subcommittee, July 28
Alternative playing and practice seasons. The subcommittee reviewed the newly created FAQ and provided feedback regarding the approved alternative 114 day playing season model. Click here for the model and FAQ.
Championships Committee, July 30
Fall championships. The committee discussed the recent Management Council recommendation that the Board of Governors cancel fall Division III championships. The committee reviewed the financial and logistical ramifications if fall sport championships were to be conducted in either the fall or spring semesters. The committee concluded that conducting championships in either scenario is logistically untenable and financially prohibitive. Accordingly, the committee supported the Division III Management Council’s recommendation that Division III fall sport championships for 2020 be canceled (not postponed).
Winter and spring championships. The
committee discussed winter and spring championships (e.g., possible date formula or bracket/field size adjustments) and agreed to discuss possible date change considerations during a future meeting. The committee also discussed the minimum level of sport sponsorship to merit a championship and continued an analysis based on varying sponsorship percentages by sport to determine how best to provide a quality championship experience. It suggested the following guideline (to be finalized during a future meeting): sports with fewer than 50 sponsors require 90% participation; sports with between 51 and 200 sponsors require 70% participation, and sports with more than 200
sponsors require 60% participation. Impacted sport committees will have the opportunity to provide feedback on any bracket/field size, format, or date formula adjustments before any changes are finalized.
Board of Governors, August 4
Fall championships.The Board of Governors directedeach division to make a decision on their fall sport championships. It also agreed to require all member institutions to apply the resocialization principles to fall sports and set a 50% sponsorship threshold for a fall sport championship to be conducted.
Presidents Council, August 5
Fall championships.With the health and safety of the division’s student-athletes, coaches, athletics administrators and communities as its priority, the Presidents Council voted to cancel Division III championships in fall sports for 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related administrative and financial challenges.
50% student-athlete eligibility waiver. The Council ratified the recent Administrative Committee action regarding a proactive blanket waiver to permit student-athletes whose teams complete 50% or less of the sport’s maximum contests/dates of competition during the 2020-21 season, due to the impact of COVID-19, to receive a season-of-participation waiver The Council agreed that the waiver allows student-athletes to make informed enrollment decisions prior to the 2020-21 academic year and allows appropriate flexibility beyond the current rule (a season of eligibility is used if a SA practices the day after the team’s first competition). It also noted that exempting a
conference championship and the NCAA championships was counter to the Division III philosophy.
COVID-19 Playing and Practice Season Internal Working Group
A Checklist has been established to provide guidance to athletics administrators and other responsible parties regarding resocialization of collegiate sport, specifically related to developing standards for practice and competition.
Both the Checklist and FAQ have been created to reflect the resocialization documents released to date. Neither the Checklist nor the FAQ is intended as a clinical practice guideline or legal standard of care and should not be interpreted as such. They serve as a guide and, as such, are of a general nature, consistent with the reasonable practice of the athletics administrator professional.
UPCOMING MEETINGS AND ANTICIPATED DISCUSSIONS
Playing and Practice Seasons Subcommittee, August 11 and 24
Alternative playing seasons model. The committee will review membership questions regarding the 2020-21 alternative playing season model.
Championships Committee, August 13
Winter and spring championships. The committee will continue its discussions regarding winter and spring championships (e.g., possible date formula or bracket/field size adjustments and minimum level of sport sponsorship to merit a championship).
Membership Committee, August 20
Sports-Sponsorship Waiver Relief. The committee will continue its discussion concerning the most appropriate way to provide sports-sponsorship waiver relief for members institutions. Staff will share the latest institution and conference return-to-play information.
Division III Compliance page. (COVID-19 Q&A - last updated July 7 and Alternative Playing and Practice Seasons Model Q&A - last updated July 31)
With every communication, we also anticipate additional questions. Please send all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay healthy and safe and thank you for your continued collaboration and leadership.
This email was sent to the NCAA Division III Commissioners Association