NCAA Division II Athletics Update 2020

DII Presidents Council lowers maximum, minimum number of contests – MP

For the 2020-21 academic year only, the minimum number of contests required in the NCAA Division II for sport sponsorship and championships selection, as well as the maximum number of contests and dates of competition allowed, will be smaller than in years past as a result of financial impacts from COVID-19, it has been reported.

The Division II Presidents Council in a teleconference recently voted for reductions in all three areas strictly for the 2020-21 academic year.

The division’s highest governing body voted to reduce the minimum number of contests needed for sport sponsorship and championships selection by 33 percent, with rowing being the lone exception to the change for championships selection.

The council voted for a one-year reduction to the maximum number of contests and dates of competition, as well. These reductions varied by sport, based on results from a survey administered to presidents and chancellors, directors of athletics and conference commissioners.

All three reductions stemmed from financial struggles Division II institutions are facing due to the pandemic. Many institutions, per feedback from leadership throughout Division II, will not be able to afford the same level of travel or meet current standards for championships selections or sports sponsorship, even if sports begin as scheduled in the fall term.

In addition, concerns of competitive inequity also have been expressed from across the division if maximum numbers for playing and practice seasons were not adjusted along with reductions to the minimums.

“The financial challenges faced by institutions because of COVID-19 are considerable and, as we prepare for summer and fall, continue to increase,” said Sandra Jordan, chancellor of South Carolina Aiken and chair of the Division II Presidents Council. “The approved reductions strike an important balance of providing schools with scheduling flexibility, maintaining competitive equity within the one-year reductions to minimums and maximums, and continuing to prioritize opportunities for student-athletes to compete in NCAA championships. Periods of national crisis require carefully considered compromise.”

The Presidents Council made the final decision on all three issues after receiving recommendations from the Division II Management Council, which considered feedback from several leadership groups, Division II governance committees and two surveys of the division’s leadership.

In April, the Division II Conference Commissioners Association conducted a survey in which nearly 95 percent of the division’s athletics directors participated. From the survey, the Division II CCA put forward the initial proposal to reduce minimums and maximums.

The proposal was brought to the Division II Championships Committee, Membership Committee, Legislation Committee and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for their discussion and recommendations.

The Presidents Council also considered the results of a Division II membership survey, specific to reducing maximums, that 435 division leaders responded to earlier this week. The survey was taken by 258 athletics directors, 154 presidents and chancellors, and 23 conference commissioners. About 85 percent of the survey respondents said they supported some form of reduction to the maximum permissible contests for the 2020-21 academic year. The full survey results can be viewed here.


The Presidents Council adopted noncontroversial legislation to implement the various levels of reductions to the maximum number of permissible contests and dates of competition for the 2020-21 academic year only. For noncontroversial legislation to be adopted, a motion must receive at least three-fourths of the vote.

As part of this decision, men’s and women’s basketball teams will not be able to exempt contests as part of a conference challenge event or in the Tip-Off Classic for the 2020-21 academic year. Typically, teams can exempt these contests from their maximum contest total.

The Presidents Council voted not to change how discretionary exemptions, such as scrimmages and exhibitions against non-Division II four-year schools, are counted. They will remain exempt against maximum contest totals. The council also decided that no reductions be implemented for maximums for National Collegiate Championship sports, emerging sports and Division II men’s ice hockey for the 2020-21 academic year.

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