At the 2015 NCAA Convention held over the past weekend, the NCAA Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) proposed and approved four different rules that affect the playing and practice season rules at all Division II institutions.
Though the initial meeting of the NCAA Division II SAAC was back in November of 2014, the NCAA Convention was an opportunity for the proposals to be approved by all institutions.
The first playing and practice season rule change involves allowing coaches in sports other than football a maximum of two hours of team activities per week throughout the academic year. This would be part of the eight permissible hours of countable athletically-related activities that can occur outside of the playing season.
This is particularly important in the swimming and diving world as it is considered an individual sport by the NCAA. During the off-season student-athletes are allowed six hours of strength and conditioning work and two hours of skill instruction/team activities.
Because of the individual sport designation from the NCAA, during those two hours only four student-athletes from the same sport are allowed at one time. So technically any group practice done during the out-of-season time period is an NCAA violation. With this new rule change the entire team will be able to practice together during that time in other sports as well.
The second rule change allows student athletes that compete in NCAA designated fall sports that also complete their championship segment in the fall will be allowed to return to campuses on June 1 to begin working with strength and conditioning staff members.
The committee supported this proposal because it would give student-athletes who compete in fall championship sports similar preseason workout opportunities to those in winter and spring championship sports, such as swimming and diving.
Previously the rule was that there could not be any practices that were paid for by the institution (i.e. paid strength and conditioning staff) prior to 17 days before the Thursday before September 6 or, 5 days before the institutions first day of classes for fall sports.
The third rule change regarding playing and practice seasons centers on the start date for spring sports. When Feb. 1 falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday, the regular season in baseball, golf, lacrosse, rowing, sand volleyball, softball and tennis can begin on the Friday preceding Feb. 1.
The fourth proposal by the SAAC was to allow two events in baseball, softball, soccer and women’s volleyball to be allowed to be exempt if part of a conference challenge event. This was squashed as many thought it went against the Division II ideal of “Life in Balance” by allowing these sports to compete in more events and in turn miss more classes.
For a complete look at all the legislation passed on the Division II level, you can find it here.