Daily Compliance Item- 2/17/12- Current Event

Division I opens override voting on multiyear scholarships

NCAA .org

Voting is now open for the Division I override on Proposal No 2011-97.

The vote will determine whether schools can award multiyear scholarships to student-athletes and whether aid can be awarded to a former student-athlete for any term in which they are enrolled. The voting period ends at 5 p.m. Eastern time Friday, Feb. 17.

The multiyear scholarship legislation was one of several measures the Division I Board of Directors adopted as emergency legislation after NCAA President Mark Emmert called a presidential retreat in August to address concerns about the operation of Division I athletics.

The multiyear scholarship rule and the miscellaneous expense allowance were two recommendations aimed at prioritizing student-athlete well-being. Allowing schools to award scholarships for more than a single year addresses concerns some student-athletes have about losing their aid after an injury because their athletics performance did not live up to expectations or because of coaching staff changes. If aid was guaranteed for more than a single year, student-athletes would have greater assurance their education could continue.

Schools requesting an override cite several reasons for disagreeing with the legislation, including a desire to award athletics aid in the same way other aid throughout the university is awarded. Most academic and other scholarships must be renewed annually. Others believe the legislation could create a bidding war over certain recruits, and the additional monitoring required to make sure that teams don’t over-promise aid, especially in equivalency sports, could be burdensome.

The Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee acknowledged both sides of the argument after collecting feedback from its constituents nationally.

“While student-athletes providing comment recognized the security a multiyear athletics aid agreement would provide, a majority of those student-athletes expressed concerns with possible complacency amongst their teammates and believe that an annual renewal of athletics aid is warranted to ensure individuals are putting forth every effort to maintain their athletics aid while allowing others to earn athletics aid based on their athletics performance,” the SAAC wrote in the online comments. “Additionally, student-athletes support the concept of former student-athletes receiving athletics aid beyond the current six-year limit.”

The miscellaneous expense allowance legislation allows schools to provide some student-athletes with an additional $2,000 to cover the cost of attendance. This measure was suspended in January, and the Board will consider a new version of it in April, which will then be subject to a new 60-day override vote request period.

Regarding this week’s vote, members should note that a “Yes” vote favors the override and thus does not support multiyear grants or the awarding of athletics aid beyond the current five years within a six-year limit. A “No” vote opposes the override and means supporting the opportunity for institutions to award multiyear grants and athletics aid beyond the current six-year period.

Only active Division I member institutions and multisport conferences are permitted to vote. Institutions and conferences may modify their votes during the voting period when the polls are open; however, the most recent vote cast as of 5 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, Feb. 17, will be considered the final vote. The time of the last vote will be recorded, as well as the name and position of the person who cast the vote on behalf of the institution or conference.

For the override to be successful, a five-eighths majority of those voting must vote in favor of it. For example, if only 150 institutions and conferences cast votes, at least 94 (five-eighths of 150 is 94) must vote yes on the override for the rule to be rescinded. Abstentions are the equivalent of an institution or conference not casting a vote.

The LSDBi system will support the override voting process. LSDBi provides the opportunity to efficiently maintain all aspects of the process for historical purposes, such as the vote counts, roll-call record and any discussion. The system also provides the infrastructure to protect the integrity and privacy of the process. The “designation of delegate” form will no longer be required, but presidents and chancellors are expected to designate the person who will cast the official vote for their campus.

Individuals selected to cast an institution’s or conference’s vote should take steps to confirm their access to the proposal section of LSDBi. Individuals who do not have access to the “Proposal” tab in LSDBshould contact the single-source sign-on administrator on their campus for access and privileges. 

The results of the override vote will be communicated to the membership via LSDBi and an announcement on NCAA.org. The results will be reported immediately after the close of the voting period.

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