Division II group recommends two football championships
May 05, 2006
The NCAA News:
HOUSTON — The Division II Football Task Force has forwarded a proposal to the Division II Management Council to enhance competitive equity in football by creating two championships — a 16-team bracket for higher-funded programs offering up to 36 financial aid equivalencies and an eight-team bracket for programs offering 18 equivalencies or less.
The task force, which met May 3-4, also proposed that a two-thirds majority be required to modify financial aid equivalencies in any Division II sport. Currently, such changes require only a simple majority.
Those proposals form the core of the task force’s response to the charge of the 2005 Convention to provide options to enhance competitive equity in Division II postseason football.
The creation of an additional football championship has been a topic of discussion since the 2005 Convention, when the Pennsylvania State and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conferences proposed legislation to lower Division II football equivalencies from 36 to 24.
After an early plan to “decouple” football from divisional classification was rebuffed by Division I-AA, the Division II Football Task Force focused on an alternate plan to create two playoff brackets within Division II.
“I know there’s a tendency for people look at this proposal and say that it’s Division II’s version of Division I-A and I-AA,” said Division II Vice President Mike Racy. “But everybody needs to understand that this proposal pertains only to the football championship. That’s very different from Division I, where the entire governance structure is hinged on football classification.”
Under the proposal, which would require Convention approval, the limit for the smaller bracket would be 50 percent of the equivalency limit for the higher-funded bracket. Institutions would be able to “play up” to the larger bracket even if they provided fewer than 18 equivalencies. If approved, the new approach would take effect for the 2009 season, with conferences required to declare their level of competition by September 1, 2008. Those commitments would be binding for three years.
Institutions that chose to compete at a different level than their conference would be able to compete as independents in football or to affiliate in football with another conference awarding a like number of equivalencies. The number of teams participating in the Division II football playoffs would remain at 24.
“The task force’s charge was to give the membership some options that would provide championship opportunities for schools that can’t afford to fund 36 equivalencies,” said task force Chair Jerry McGee, president of Wingate University. “But it’s important to understand that this is not a done deal. We know that many people believe that Division II football is fine as it is, and they will have an opportunity to vote to that effect in January.”
While the bracket proposal will be an interesting choice for the division, so also will the concept to require a two-thirds majority to modify equivalency allocations in any sport.
The NCAA constitution (5.02.1.1.1) provides for “division dominant” provisions that are sufficiently important to the division that they require a two-thirds majority.
Such an approach is unusual, however, and the prospect of the legislation was received coolly by PSAC Commissioner Steve Murray.
“That almost strikes me like the leadership of Division II using a nuclear weapon,” said Murray, who was otherwise complimentary of the task force’s work. “I’m really disappointed that’s been thrown out on the table. The only things I know of that require two-thirds votes are impeachment of the president and treaties with other countries....
“I’ve been in office for 12 or 13 years now, and there have been two votes on scholarships for football in that time. And now we’re worried about a two-thirds vote to put an end to it? Wow.”
But McGee said that the proposal is designed to achieve the will of the Division II Presidents Council — which is to resolve an ongoing membership issue once and for all.
“The Presidents Council directed this task force to make a recommendation for new aid limits in the event that the membership does not support the two-bracket proposal,” he said. “I know that one of our breakout groups tried hard to come up with an appropriate number to recommend, but the people in the room couldn’t reach a consensus.
“In my mind, this proposal to require a two-thirds majority serves the same purpose because it will probably force somebody to propose new aid limits now because of an understanding that the two-thirds requirement might pass.”
The PSAC may be willing to fill that role.
“We might do that (make a new aid limit proposal) for them just to give them an option,” Murray said. “That’s reasonable. I think that number will likely be somewhere above 30.”
Thursday, May 11, 2006
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