On Jan. 17, National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II members and officials held their annual convention and approved a legislative proposal that will shorten the time allowed for preseason practices.
At last year’s convention, the “life in the balance” legislative initiative, which came from the Division II president and management council, was adopted.
They agreed on the first phase, the objective being to give more of an equal focus to academics, athletic competition, and personal lives for not only student athletes but for whoever whom is involved in the athletics.
VSU’s Athletic Director, Herb Reinhardt, was one of the members who attended the convention in San Antonio, Texas.
Reinhardt, who recently finished a six-year term on the management council, and 30 or so other members of the management council were highly involved in the drafting of the proposal.
This initiative has a set of newly voted on legislations that should indeed decrease the cost of running athletic programs.
The phase one of the enactment began this past fall since it was voted on last January at the convention a year ago – the new adjustments moved the football season back one week this past season for the first time.
Student athletes were told to report on a new date a week later from where they would normally return back to campus for preseason activity.
“It’s an across-the-board way for us to continue to still have very competitive athletics but also have a chance to come up for air sometimes,” Reinhardt said.
This will save the athletic department money, since they are not dealt with the expense of housing and feeding the athletes when classes aren’t in session yet.
Athletes this past fall season had the luxury of enjoying an extra week of summer vacation, which was a luxury that previous athletes didn’t have.
During winter, VSU executed their “dead period,” a seven-day span is when there cannot be any athletic activity at all.
The NCAA mandated the dead period to run from Dec. 20 to Dec. 26.
The closest vote at last year’s convention was on the dead period. The proposal only passed by 63 votes.
Basketball is the only sport really affected at VSU during this time.
“No basketball games, no basketball practices, no anything, absolutely nothing to do with our athletes so all of our kids went home,” Reinhardt said. “They couldn’t come back until the 27.”
Basketball players, coaches and trainers got a chance to spend more time than usual with their friends and families.
This completed legislation seems to be favored and beneficial to the entire athletic department.
In San Antonio, Division II officials voted on the second part of the “life in the balance.” Unlike the first phase that was voted on last year, this phase was regarding spring season sports and when they would start and finish.
Due to the new schedule restrictions, Division II baseball teams will lose six games from their normal 56 regular season to now having 50 games, not including the post season games.
Baseball isn’t the only sport that will be affected during the spring time because most of the spring sports will have some sort of game cuts or limitations.
Despite the less played games throughout the course of the season, Reinhardt sees a bright future in the legislation he helped create.
“It gives the student athletes three or four days where they would be off playing, and now they are in the classroom.”
This proposal is tied with another that was approved a couple weeks ago, which states student athletes cannot start individual out-of-season skill workouts until Sept. 7 or the fourth day of classes.
Members of Division II argue that this gives athletes more of a chance to become acclimated on campus with academic-related commitments before they begin their numerous athletic activities.
NCAA officials also discussed violation enforcement at the annual meeting. Julie Roe Lach, new vice president of enforcement of the NCAA, shared recent common violations and unethical conduct with Division I administrators.
Lach finds these issues even more profane because these kinds of violations are happening through the help of officials who knowingly break the rules.
Most of these major infringements don’t normally exist at the Division II level though. Nevertheless, reporting these incidents is highly stressed by the NCAA.
Regardless of Division I or II, secondary violations are inevitable. These infractions are minor and common across the nation, but they typically don’t harm an institution’s athletic programs.
“Any school that has never reported a secondary violation is basically lying,” Reinhardt said. “There is no way to run an athletic program and not have secondary violations.”
Over 4,000 secondary violations are reported yearly, Lach said.
Several Division II schools aren’t thrilled with the spring season scheduling restrictions; however, VSU’s coaches and players are pleased and ready to continue each season year around with a life in the balance.