The NCAA Division III staff has created this bi-weekly communication for the Division III Commissioners Association in an effort 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, May 22 and June 3
Discussed virtual summer workouts and concluded it would not recommend any changes to current legislation.
Recommended that the Administrative Committee establish the following for the 2020 preseason practice period for fall sports.
The first permissible practice date for all fall sports shall be August 10 or the first day of class whichever is earlier; and
Institutions shall have unlimited Administrative Days to conduct nonathletically related activities (i.e., those days in which the institution may provide housing and meals expenses to student-athletes prior to the start of practice).
Recommended that the first permissible legislative contest dates remain the same.
Membership Committee, May 27
Recommended a one-year waiver, for all sports, to reduce the minimum number of contests required for sports sponsorship by 33 percent.
The minimum number of participants required will remain unchanged.
The committee considered reducing the minimum number of varsity intercollegiate sports an institution must sponsor per NCAA Bylaws 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 but decided to revisit the topic at a later date. The committee noted that additional information concerning the number of member institutions intending to discontinue sports, as a result of COVID-19, is needed to make a decision in that area.
The committee is committed to reviewing waiver requests on a case-by-case basis and providing appropriate flexibility.
Administrative Committee, May 28
Approved a waiver to reduce the minimum number of contests required for sports sponsorship and championship selections by 33 percent for all sports for 2020-21.
The minimum number of participants required for sports sponsorship will remain unchanged.
Championships Committee, June 2
AdCom approved the 33% reduction to the minimum contests required for championships selection and approved 2020-21 cost saving measures, including eliminating championships banquets and conducting all sport committee meetings virtually. The Strategic Planning and Finance Committee will consider additional recommendations next week, including suspending the pilot program that separates conference opponents in the first round of a championship and reimbursement for local ground transportation for teams and individuals that travel by air.
The committee supported the preservation of student-athlete postseason as its top priority.
Minimum number of sponsoring institutions required to conduct a championship: The committee began to explore what minimum number or percentage of sponsoring institutions would be necessary to conduct a championship (the number/percentage could vary by total sponsorship level). Once the championship conduct is confirmed, the currently legislated Division III access ratio could determine the bracket/field size based on the number of eligible institutions per sport.
Automatic qualification. The committee discussed the impact of sponsorship fluctuation and bracket modification on automatic qualification and determined the following:
Conferences that fall below four core members.The committee supported the concept that if a conference in good AQ standing falls below the required minimum of four core members due to the effects of COVID-19, the conference would lose its AQ for the 2020-21; however, that conference could regain the AQ in 2021-22 if it is able to return to the minimum of four core members.
Conferences already in grace-period status.The committee agreed that conferences already in grace-period status will need to apply for a waiver to request an extension of the grace period.
COVID-19 Playing and Practice Seasons Internal Working Group
Is the Core Principles document intended to represent formalized best practices or Association-wide policy? In other words, are member schools obligated to follow these guidelines? Unlike many of the other health and safety materials disseminated by the NCAA, this document is not formally endorsed by any third-party organization and does not represent Association-wide policy. Rather, its purpose is to provide broad guidance to the membership based on currently available evidence regarding COVID-19 and resocialization at both the society and sport level. As our understanding of COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, it is likely that these Core Principles may be updated.
Importantly, a decision to follow the Core Principles is to be made at the individual school level, with the approval of institutional leadership, and in concert with applicable guidance from local and state public officials with regard to return to campus, return to practice, and return to competition. In the end, institutional and governmental leadership will determine who can participate in, assist with and watch student-athlete practices and competition.
UPCOMING MEETINGS AND ANTICIPATED DISCUSSIONS
Administrative Committee, June 10
Consider recommendations regarding the fall preseason start date.
Strategic Planning and Finance Committee, June 11
Potential championship (local ground transportation for teams and individuals and year two of the pilot to avoid conference opponents in the first round) and nonchampionship supplemental budget reductions (FY21 to FY24).
Discuss providing additional flexibility with the Conference Strategic Grant within Tier 1 (SWA) and Tier 2 (student-athlete health and safety).
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