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
Administrative Committee, July 8
Approved a blanket waiver permitting 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 -- participation while eligible. Student-athletes whose teams complete more than 50% of the sport’s maximum contests/dates of competition during the 2020-21 season would not be eligible for the blanket waiver regardless of whether the student-athlete competed in 50% or less of the season. The current waiver criteria for individual cases would remain unchanged.
Eligibility extension. Approved a blanket waiver permitting student-athletes to receive a two-semester/three-quarter extension of eligibility if the following conditions are met:
The student-athlete was unable to participate in their sport during the 2020-21 academic year due to COVID-19, or the student-athlete’s teams completed 50% or less of the sport’s maximum contests/dates of competition during the 2020-21 season due to the ongoing impact from COVID-19; and
The student-athlete was otherwise eligible for competition during the 2020-21 academic year.
Institutions would no longer need to file an additional extension of eligibility waiver if a student-athlete seeks to maintain full-time enrollment.
Alternate playing and practice seasons. The committee discussed but deferred action on a blanket waiver recommendation from the Playing and Practice Seasons Subcommittee (PPSS) that would allow institutions that cancel the fall traditional segment to declare alternate spring playing and practice seasons for fall sports (including football) – Bylaws 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124. The committee also charged PPSS with developing an alternative playing season model or models for institutions that are unable to complete the fall traditional segment. The Management Council will consider these models during its July 20-21 meeting.
Playing and Practice Seasons Subcommittee, July 1
Alternate playing and practice seasons. See Administrative Committee.
Playing season regulations. The subcommittee discussed Bylaw 17 playing season regulations for the 2020-21 academic year and reviewed various potential approaches to address concerns in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. The subcommittee confirmed it should continue to utilize a flexible approach to NCAA regulations, and noted the health and safety of student-athletes, the student-athlete experience, minimizing interference with the academic program of student-athletes and institutional viability should serve as guiding principles when determining the appropriate amount of flexibility.
Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, July 1
Season-of-participation waivers. See Administrative Committee.
Eligibility extension. See Administrative Committee.
Student-athlete reinstatement waivers. The committee discussed season-of-participation waivers -- participation while eligible and extension of eligibility waivers for student-athletes participating during the 2020-21 academic year. The committee noted it should utilize a flexible approach to NCAA regulations.
Subcommittee for Legislative Relief, June 25
Virtual team meetings.Approved the involvement of prospective student-athletes, who have deposited, in virtual team meetings.
Membership Committee, June 24-25
Return to sports. The Division III Membership Committee issued a statement encouraging schools “to make the best decisions for their campus community” as it relates to fall competitions and COVID-19.
Championships Committee, June 22-23
Championships access.The committee discussed sponsorship levels by sport (focus on fall), and the related need and method to adjust championship access (i.e., determining how many schools are sponsoring the sport and then applying the access ratio) including the minimum sponsorship threshold that must be maintained in order to conduct championships.
Fall sports championship administration.The committee heard a report from NCAA championships staff addressing the administration of fall sport championships, specifying the need to develop contingency plans to manage fall championship sites and travel to ensure the delivery of health and safety protocols, including plans to predetermine fall preliminary round sites and reduce the overall total number of sites. The committee will continue to discuss contingencies and finalize plans during the next several weeks.
COVID-19 Playing and Practice Season Internal Working Group
Transition and acclimatization period.As member institutions begin to plan for a return to organized activity for fall sports, questions have emerged about the structure of activity during identified transition and acclimatization periods. COVID-19 has undoubtedly increased the complexities related to return to athletics and preseason activities and will continue to impact health and safety considerations. Traditional transition and acclimatization considerations (e.g., cardiovascular conditioning, heat, altitude) are still very relevant and, when coupled with the prior loss of spring and summer activities and other physical and non-physical COVID-related
impacts, they can create complex re-entry challenges for student-athletes.
Recommendation 3 of the NCAA’s Interassociation Recommendations: Preventing Catastrophic Injury and Death in Collegiate Athletes(Catastrophic Materials) speaks to the vulnerability of student-athletes during the first week of activity of a transition period in training and the importance of establishing a 7-10 day initial transition period during which student-athletes are afforded the time to properly progress through the physiologic and environmental stresses placed upon them as they return to required activities.
In addition to the NCAA guidance that can be found on the NCAA Coronavirus Resource Page, various evidence-based resources have been published by professional organizations in the sports medicine and strength and conditioning space. These resources may help inform member schools as they design and implement assessment and evaluation activities, and physical conditioning and practice sessions during these COVID-impacted transitions periods. A July 7 electronic mailing encouraged institutions and conferences to leverage all available
resources and information as they plan for return to campus and athletics activities. A non-exhaustive list of these materials includes:
Championships access. The committee will continue to review sponsorship levels by sport (focus on fall), and the related need and method to adjust championship access (e.g. determining how many schools are sponsoring the sport and then applying the access ratio), as well as using more predetermined sites. Staff believes that ultimately the committee will establish related guiding principles.
Playing and Practice Seasons Subcommittee, July 15
Alternate playing and practice seasons. The subcommittee will propose to the Management Council a model or models that address institutions that prematurely end their fall traditional season and the flexibility to conduct and/or continue practice and competition in the spring. Parameters will include alternate playing seasons not exceeding the total scope of the current allowable practice and competition opportunities set forth in Bylaw 17.
Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, July 18-19
Student-athlete eligibility. The committee will discuss proposed models from PPSS regarding student-athlete eligibility and needed flexibility.
Management Council, July 20-21
Alternate playing and practice seasons. The Council will discuss and act on models that address institutions that cancel or prematurely end their fall traditional season and the flexibility to conduct and/or continue practice and competition in the spring.
2020-21 and future budgets. The Council will act on a Strategic Planning and Finance Committee recommendation to reduce annual championship ($1.5M) and nonchampionship ($600K) supplemental budgets, effective 2020-21 through 2023-24.
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