Representatives from the three divisions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association met at the annual NCAA Convention in Nashville, Tenn. in January to consider legislative reforms at all levels of competition. The biggest event was the Division III meeting to vote on a set of legislative reforms sponsored by the Division III Presidents Council.The representatives met to vote on nine proposed legislative reforms as part of the “Future of Division III” legislative package designed to align practices of member institutions more closely with the philosophy of Division III philosophy. The proposals were part of a two-year effort of extensive dialogue and input by member institutions. The Convention saw a sharp spike in the number of institution CEOs participating in this year’s event. Because of the importance of the reform package, more CEOs attended this year than in any previous Convention. There were 764 delegates on hand from the over 350 member institutions, which is approximately 25 percent more than last year. Division III is the NCAA’s largest division. The delegates attended a “legislative issues forum” which featured presentations and discussions of elements of the Future of Division III package. Of concern in the forum were long-standing issues of financial aid for athletes, membership eligibility, recruiting, playing and practice sessions and obligations of membership. The delegates were successful in voting for many changes. The approved changes were – Legislation reducing the playing season for fall sports from 21 to 18 weeks, and reducing the season for winter and spring sports from 19 to 18 weeks.Legislation limiting practice and competition during the nontraditional segment for fall and spring sports.An annual financial aid review requirement that member institutions compare financial assistance packages between freshman and first-year transfer student athletes with other freshman and first-year transfer students. Prohibition on using income from endowment funds specifically for financial aid for student-athletes. Annual certification requirement from each institution that participating student-athletes have presented proof-of-insurance up to the amount of the deductible of the NCAA Catastrophic Injury Insurance Program. Permitting Division III members Clarkson University, Colorado College, Hartwick College, John Hopkins University, SUNY- Oneonta, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey at Newark and St. Lawrence University to continue compete and offer athletic-related aid in Division I sports programs, particularly soccer, ice hockey and lacrosseDivision-wide ban on athletic “redshirting,” a practice of granting five years of eligibility, one of which – typically in the first year – may be used for practice only, by limiting student-athletes to four years of competition and practice.Permitting student-athletes to “self-release” in order to contact other institutions about a potential transfer. Discontinuing the exception that currently permits out-of-season instruction between coaches and student-athletes in fencing, gymnastics, rifle, rowing, skiing and swimming and diving. The rejected proposals still have a chance to be instituted next year, when they can be deliberated and voted on again.UR will be represented by Athletic Director George VanderZwaag.Tipton can be reached at

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