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D-II Moves to Nix Test Scores for Athlete Eligibility

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The Division II Management Council this week recommended the Presidents Council sponsor three 2023 NCAA Convention proposals, including one that would eliminate the standardized test score from the division's initial-eligibility requirements.

The Management Council, which met for two days in Indianapolis, also approved extending the COVID-19 alternative initial-eligibility standards for students who initially enroll full time at a Division II school during the 2023-24 academic year. It aligns the standardized test score requirements in the interim with the recommended Division II 2023 Convention proposal that, if adopted, would be effective Aug. 1, 2023. Division I had previously approved the extension of the waiver.

Both initial-eligibility recommendations stem from the NCAA Standardized Test Score Task Force — a specialized group charged with reviewing initial-eligibility requirements. After months of work, the group recommended that initial-eligibility standards for high school students preparing to play Division I or Division II sports no longer include a standardized test score requirement. The Division II Academic Requirements Committee unanimously supported the recommendation.

"These recommendations are driven by data and followed input from a variety of important stakeholders, including the Division II membership," said Jim Johnson, chair of the Management Council and director of athletics at Pittsburg State. "The council supports moving Division II's initial-eligibility standards in this direction to best serve future student-athletes and provide schools flexibility."  

Division II Softball Championship format

The Management Council is recommending an expansion to the finals format of the Division II Softball Championship from five to six days to improve the student-athlete experience through a less compressed format. The Presidents Council will consider the recommendation at its meeting April 27. If logistics can be accommodated, this change will be implemented at the 2022 championship in late May.

The Division II Championships Committee, which recommended the change, also asked the Division II Softball Committee to further discuss and study whether additional days should be added to the softball championship in future years. The Championships Committee asked for a formal recommendation for any additional changes to the format for the 2023 championship and beyond by its September meeting.

Implementation Committee recommendations

The Management Council supported several recommendations from the Division II Implementation Committee's Feb. 7-8 and March 29 meetings. These recommendations include one 2023 Convention proposal, as well as several noncontroversial proposals and policy changes. The Division II Presidents Council will review these recommendations at its April 27 meeting.

One recommendation would add two student-athletes to the Division II Presidents Council, effective Aug. 1. These student-athletes would be Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee members (one representing men's sports and one representing women's sports) and be elected by that committee. Each student-athlete elected would serve a one-year term (renewable for one year) and have a vote in the council's decision-making process.

Another proposal would give each of the two student-athlete representatives serving on the Division II Management Council their own votes, effective Aug. 1. Currently, the pair hold a combined single vote.

Additionally, the council supported a proposal that would change how the Division II representation on the NCAA Board of Governors is determined, effective Aug. 1. Currently, the chair and vice chair of the Division II Presidents Council are automatically appointed to the Board of Governors. The recommendation would specify that one member of the Presidents Council be appointed to the Board of Governors, which was reduced from 21 to nine members in the new NCAA constitution.

The council also recommended the Presidents Council sponsor a 2023 Convention proposal that would allow for the sale of alcoholic beverages at Division II championships in venues that meet certain NCAA requirements.

The Management Council discussed other concepts brought forward by the Implementation Committee, which will meet again in person May 16-17 to review feedback, refine any recommendations and concepts, and make additional recommendations. Another feedback opportunity with the membership will occur June 6-24 before the committee finalizes recommendations for the summer meetings of the Management Council and Presidents Council.

Other items

  • The Management Council recommended the Presidents Council sponsor 2023 Convention legislation to add stunt as an emerging sport for women.
  • The council adopted a recommendation to change the penalty structure for student-athletes who test positive for THC during NCAA drug testing. The Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports made the recommendation for all three divisions at its February meeting.
  • The council approved a recommendation to pause the completion of the Institutional Self-Study Guide for active Division II schools, effective immediately, for the 2021-22 reporting year and thereafter.
  • The council received an update from the Division II Degree Completion Award Committee that 61 Division II student-athletes received more than $420,000 through the program for the 2022-23 academic year.
  • The council is recommending the division hold an annual Division II Day on Feb. 22 after the inaugural celebration this year. The Presidents Council will review this recommendation at its April meeting.
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