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Division II student-athletes and coaches will be able to enjoy a more defined winter break this year, thanks to one of the cornerstones of the 2010 Life in the Balance legislative package.
The new rule establishes Dec. 20-26 as a seven-day dead period during which no athletically related activities can be conducted in winter sports. The proposal also restricts voluntary activities for all sports during that time unless the facilities are open to all students.
Metro State president Stephen Jordan
“The biggest purpose of the Life in the Balance package was to help student-athletes re-establish a balance among the athletic, educational and social parts of their lives,” said Stephen Jordan, Metro State president and chair of the Division II Presidents Council when the legislation was approved. “But another important part was to help coaches and administrators reclaim some of their personal lives. This legislation ensures that both our student-athletes and athletics staff will be able to enjoy a legitimate holiday break with their families.”
In addition to establishing the winter-break dead period, the Life in the Balance package also reduced playing and practice seasons and cut the number of contests in most Division II sports.
The winter-break legislation will be the only Life in the Balance proposal to be reviewed at the 2011 Convention in San Antonio. The Pennsylvania State Athletic and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conferences have cosponsored a proposal that would require every Division II institution to establish a winter break of seven consecutive days between Dec. 20 and 30.
The rationale for the proposal is that it would provide increased flexibility for institutions to schedule around semester finals, graduations and conference scheduling mandates.
The governance response has been unusually mixed. The Division II Legislation Committee supported the proposal, the Management Council took no position and the Presidents Council opposed it.
The Presidents Council opposed the proposal in the belief that all of the Phase I legislation, including the winter-break rule, should be assessed and modified after legislation has been given an opportunity to work. Since the winter-break legislation will not be applied until the break period this December, the Council considered the proposal premature.