By Brian Hendrickson
The Division II Management Council decided not to issue a position for two pieces of membership-sponsored legislation during its October meeting in Indianapolis, determining it was best to let the Convention floor set the future of proposals that could affect several sports and the division’s nearly four-year-old Life in the Balance legislation.
The membership-sponsored legislation would allow football players to participate in conditioning drills during the summer under the supervision of a strength and conditioning coach. A second piece of legislation would allow for exempt, “conference challenge” men’s basketball tournaments. The proposals sparked discussion for and against each, but the Management Council never developed a consensus.
Bob Boerigter, commissioner of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and chair of the Management Council, said the group decided to take no position because its support or disapproval of the legislation could inappropriately influence the final vote.
“This is membership-sponsored legislation,” Boerigter said. “And the membership needs to decide that.”
The football legislation, which will be voted on only by schools that sponsor the sport, would allow strength and conditioning coaches to design and conduct workouts for student-athletes beginning on June 1. The committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport has supported the legislation because it also would require those coaches to obtain a national certification before conducting the workouts. Student-athletes currently participate in those workouts voluntarily without the ability to have the strength and conditioning coach conduct the workout.
But some Management Council members wondered if legislation that would be decided by football schools also would lead other sports to request the same privilege. Similar measures applying to all sports have failed previously and appeared to be losing support.
The exempt-tournament legislation would allow basketball programs to compete in up to two games each year as part of a conference-challenge event. But that would also reverse a change instituted by the Life in the Balance legislation the division adopted at the 2010 Convention, which reduced the number of basketball games from 27 to 26 as part of its focus on reducing missed class and study time.
Some conference members questioned whether the legislation was simply a back-door route toward increasing the length of the season. Boerigter said the legislation was proposed as a means to promote more in-region, non-conference competition. The current trend has seen basketball programs scheduling non-conference games against nearby Division III and NAIA schools rather than Division II programs in other conferences.
“We have so many large conferences, they’re electing to fill in those games with other games that are close by, have local interest,” Boerigter said.
Increasing inter-conference, in-region competition also would help the basketball committees evaluate teams for the postseason, some council members suggested.
The proposal already has been opposed by the Legislation Committee because of its conflicts with Life in the Balance legislation, but was supported by the Championships Committee because it promoted in-region, non-conference contests.
NEW CONFERENCES JOIN COMMITTEE
The council’s fall meeting was the first with representatives from two new Division II conferences: The Mountain East Conference and the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC). Both leagues were accepted into Division II by the Membership Committee earlier this year.
Scott Swain, the athletics director at Notre Dame College, joined the council as the Mountain East’s representative. Carrie Bodkins, head volleyball coach at Alderson Broaddus University as well as the school’s senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator, joined as the GMAC’s representative.