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
NCAA Staff Update
Furloughs. The NCAA national office announced it will implement mandatory furloughs to further address budget challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting Sept. 21 through the end of January 2021, all NCAA national office employees will be subject to mandatory three or eight-week furloughs. To help reduce expenses over the long-term, the NCAA is also offering voluntary separation and early retirement packages for qualified employees. The Division III staff will communicate anticipated furlough weeks and related information as soon as possible, and make every effort to maintain our customer service standards.
Playing and Practice Seasons Subcommittee, August 24
Alternative playing seasons model. The committee endorsed a request to amend the alternative playing seasons model to allow fall sports to participate during the spring in a manner similar to finals policies applicable to the traditional season, and clarified that all competition (including practice associated with competition) will be completed by May 15. The Subcommittee for Legislative Relief approved this action.
The committee did not approve a waiver request to allow institutions to choose to count the 114/144 days allotted in the alternative model on a per student-athlete basis.
Championships Committee, August 25
Winter championship dates. The committee discussed moving winter championship dates later in response to many in the Division III membership stating they will not conduct athletics until the start of the calendar year. The committee will use data from a recent membership survey conducted by the Division III Commissioners Association to assist this discussion. Much like the discussions pertaining to fall championships, the committee will consider all possibilities, including a compressed regular season and the financial impact and feasibility of delayed championships, while continuing to prioritize a meaningful student-athlete experience.
Winter and spring championships financial impacts. The committee continues to receive budget updates for both winter and spring championships, including the cost associated with standard championships operating expenses, the budget impact associated with COVID testing and the need for predetermined sites. The committee will consider cost saving models during its Sept. meeting, including the possibility of reduced field/bracket sizes.
Administrative Committee, August 27
Minimum Contest and Participant Requirements for Sports Sponsorship. The committee provided a blanket waiver to eliminate the minimum number of contests and participants required for fall and winter sports to meet sports sponsorship requirements during the 2020-21 academic year. The waiver is intended to provide the following:
Help Division III institutions remain in compliance with NCAA Bylaw 20 membership legislation.
Guide institutions and provide flexibility to determine how to best conduct competition.
Provide a safe student-athlete experience in the best way possible without the obligations of minimum sponsorship for those sports.
Reduce the administrative burden for institutions seeking relief.
It is important to note that this action does not impact the current contest and participant minimums for NCAA championship eligibility.
COVID-19 Playing and Practice Season Internal Working Group
COVID Advisory Panel. Chief Medical Officer, Brian Hainline, noted that the COVID Advisory Panel is evaluating plans to expand to include additional outside medical experts. It is anticipated that the panel will increase to approximately 12-15 individuals and will continue to meet weekly to monitor the impact of the coronavirus.
COVID Testing. The working group, in coordination with the COVID-19 Action Team and COVID Advisory Panel, will continue to monitor the evolving situation with COVID testing.
UPCOMING MEETINGS AND ANTICIPATED DISCUSSIONS
Championships Committee, September 8 and 14-15
Winter championship dates. The committee will continue its discussions on the feasibility of delaying winter championship dates.
Winter and spring championships financial impacts. The committee will review cost saving models, including the possibility of reduced field/bracket sizes.
Division III Compliance page. (COVID-19 Q&A - last updated July 7, Alternative Playing and Practice Seasons Model Q&A - last updated July 31 and 2020-21 Division III COVID-19 Question and Answer Guide - created August 17)
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