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Publish date: Jun 30, 2011

DIII Membership Committee recommends four new active members

By Gary Brown
NCAA.org

The Division III Membership Committee is recommending active status for four schools that successfully completed all four years of the Division III provisional/reclassifying membership process.

If approved by the Division III Management Council in July, the following will begin active status in Division III on Sept. 1:

With other anticipated membership changes in the next few months, there will be about 435 member institutions in 2011-12. 

Meeting June 22-23 in Indianapolis, the Membership Committee also agreed to move the following schools to the final year of provisional membership:

If those institutions successfully complete year four of the provisional/reclassifying process, they could be accepted as active Division III members for the 2012-13 academic year. The Membership Committee also approved Penn State Abington (Abington, Pa.) moving from Year 2 to Year 3 of provisional membership and endorsed a waiver request from the school to combine Years 3 and 4 of the provisional process, meaning the school could achieve active status by 2012-13. That recommendation must be approved by the Management Council.

Committee members also approved the following schools to move from Year 2 to Year 3 of provisional membership (meaning they are on track to achieve active membership in 2013-14):

In other action regarding the provisional/reclassifying track, the committee voted to retain Centenary College (Shreveport, La.) in Year 1 of reclassifying membership (on track to achieve active membership in 2015-16).

The committee also approved the following seven schools to conduct an exploratory year in 2011-12 before possibly seeking provisional/reclassifying membership the following year:

The Division III Management Council will consider these actions at its July 25-26 meeting in Indianapolis.

‘Core’ conference issue

The Division III Membership Committee also reviewed concepts for legislation at the 2012 Convention that would revise Constitution 3.3 (member conference) in the Division III Manual to clarify what it means for institutions to be “core” members of a single conference.

The review is in light of another proposal already in the 2012 Convention cycle that amends Bylaw 31.3.2.1.4 (core institution) to limit an institution to being a core member in only one conference.

That proposal, which already has support from the Presidents Council, Management Council, Championships Committee and Membership Committee, is an attempt to encourage greater stability in conference membership and require institutions to be more strategic about conference alignments for reasons other than access to championships automatic qualification.

The proposal would eliminate the possibility of the “umbrella” conference model since it would not be possible for an institution to be considered core in a subconference and a larger “umbrella” conference (though the one existing umbrella conference, the Middle Atlantic Conference, would be grandfathered).

As a result, the Membership Committee was charged with reviewing conference membership legislation to ensure consistency not only in policy but also with the broader concept of what it means to be a member conference (for example, how that affects requirements and benefits).

Committee members supported a legislative proposal that would either modify existing legislation or add new legislation that clarifies member conference regulations.

Among the changes to be included in the proposal are:

  • Add a section in Constitution 3.3 that clearly distinguishes requirements and benefits for multisport conferences and for single-sport conferences.
  • Add “core” to the composition requirements in Constitution 3.3.1.2 and 3.3.4.3. (Legislation that becomes effective Sept. 1 will require at least seven active members in a conference. Those members should be both active and core to the conference to ensure it is not composed of affiliate members that are members of numerous conferences. This would not eliminate the potential for affiliate relationships in specific sports.)
  • Include a two-year grace period in the conference composition bylaw (3.3.4.3) to provide similar accommodations as the two-year grace period in the AQ legislation (Bylaw 31.3.2.1.3) to conferences that fall below seven members before losing conference status (such as voting privileges and committee representation).
  • Modify the penalty process for failure to satisfy conference requirements to include probation, followed by restricted membership. (Under current legislation, a conference’s failure to satisfy requirements is subject to Membership Committee review and consideration for membership termination or suspension, which is more severe than the penalty process for institutions.)

Other highlights

In other action at the Division III Membership Committee’s June 22-23 meeting, members:

  • Discussed using technology (for example, web-based modules) in delivering educational resources in the future to accompany the in-person Regional Rules Seminars and allow all institutions to access materials more conveniently and efficiently. Further use of technology would also broaden the division’s reach and focus by targeting coaches and athletics administrators.
  • Agreed to recommend that any changes in the fee structure for provisional membership be a matter of policy rather than a legislative change. Based on preliminary research evaluating the value of being a Division III member and the expenses relating to the provisional/reclassifying membership process, the Membership Committee considered increasing the current one-time $19,500 application fee to about $40,000. Adjustments along those lines are subject to Management Council review and, ultimately, Executive Committee approval.
  • Evaluated the sports-sponsorship contest and participant minimums and discussed whether the current standards are appropriate. The committee did not move to change any of the numbers but will continue to monitor them every three years based on participant and contest data.