Division III

Publish date: Oct 7, 2013

Division III committee addresses preseason scouting

The committee also discussed upcoming health and safety legislation, among other topics


By Brian Burnsed

The Division III Interpretations and Legislation Committee recommended altering a proposed rule change regarding scouting limitations at its Sept. 26-27 meeting in Indianapolis.

Currently, institutions can scout opponents at exhibition games, but not at scrimmages. This has led to confusion, though, because neither exhibition nor scrimmage had been properly defined.

The proposed legislation, initially put forward by the committee and endorsed by the Division III Management Council, calls for scouting at all exhibitions and scrimmages to be banned altogether to address the issue. But after more discussion, the committee recommended that institutions should be able to scout opponents at one scrimmage or exhibition – with no distinction between the two necessary – against any non-Division III opponent each season. The Management Council will reconsider the tweaked proposal this fall.

“I think the one game is a good compromise,” committee chair and University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh director of athletics Darryl Sims said. “I think there are a number of institutions like ours that are engaged in those exhibition games. I’d say you might not be getting a true depiction of the program because, in many cases, we’re talking about a Division III versus Division I, but, again, I think it’s a fair compromise.”


Other Highlights

The committee also discussed upcoming legislation ranging from student-athlete health and safety initiatives to entertainment costs and ticket allowances.  

  • The committee debated the proposed amendment from the American Southwest Conference and the Southern Athletic Association that would allow football helmets to be used during conditioning, strength training and limited skill instruction periods. Though the committee did not recommend altering the proposal in any way, it offered guidance for an informational Q&A that will accompany the proposed legislation at the 2014 Convention. Some committee members worried that after adding hand shields last year and potentially adding helmets this season, these instructional periods are poised to morph into practices that rely on contact and expose student-athletes to greater risk of physical harm in what had previously been contact-free periods.

    “I think during that time of the year, again, it’s supposed to be more instructional than physical,” Sims, a former Division I and NFL football player, said. “I think it’s our responsibility to try and make sure that it doesn’t turn into a summer preseason practice where you’re going to end up in full gear. I think the committee feels very, very strongly about trying to minimize the chance that we ultimately end up in full pads again. Health and safety is our top concern.”
  • The committee recommended that some of the language in the three-part sport safety package proposal that is up for vote at the 2014 Convention be clarified. One portion of the legislation requires that any coach who is employed full-time by the institution must participate in sport-safety training, which includes certification in first aid, CPR and AED use.

    Committee members felt the proposal’s language needed to be tweaked to ensure that voters understand that the proposed rule would require that all full-time employees of the institution who serve in any coaching capacity – even if they’re only part-time coaches – take part in that training and become certified. If a full-time kinesiology professor, for instance, happens to serve as a part-time strength coach, he would have to carry the same certifications as the head football coach and other full-time coaches.
  • Currently, member institutions are only allowed to provide funding for their student-athletes to participate in two national team tryouts and/or practices a year. Divisions I and II have proposed that no limits be placed on the number of trips related to national team tryouts and competition and that schools should be able to cover all reasonable expenses associated with these events. The committee felt that Division III should create a similar proposal, which the Management Council will review this fall.
  • During a potential student-athlete’s visit to campus, he or she is granted complementary access to home athletics events along with any parent, guardian, spouse or partner. The committee reviewed that rule and decided that rather than being restrictive, institutions should be allowed to provide as many tickets as they want to a student-athlete on a visit and not limit those tickets to immediate family. Tickets should be able to be distributed at an institution’s discretion. The Management Council will debate the recommendation at its upcoming meeting.
  • The committee is recommending that the Management Council deregulate some of the restrictions regarding entertainment costs for student-athletes associated with athletics participation. The entertainment would still have to be reasonable, but the timing would not be as proscriptive. The recommendation would allow entertainment expenses to be provided anytime during the playing season rather than just the night before a game or in conjunction with away from home contests and vacation periods. This would allow coaches to take teams out to a movie any night during the season, for instance, rather than only before a game. The Management Council will debate the recommendation at its upcoming meeting.