65: No Easy Answers
of Division I hockey at Clarkson, Colorado College, Rensselaer
and St. Lawrence could be at stake at the NCAA Convention Monday
in Nashville. Here’s a quick question-and-answer primer
on the issue:
heard about this over the summer, but figured that it sounded
so ridiculous, it would just blow over. Can you give me the 60-second
explanation of what’s going on?
III schools in the NCAA are voting on a large reform package at
the NCAA Convention in Nashville. Most of the reforms have broad,
if not unanimous, support, but one – Proposal 65 –
calls for the elimination of athletic scholarships at Division
III schools that “play up” in Division I in one or
two sports. This affects eight schools nationwide, four of which
play college hockey – Clarkson, Colorado College, Rensselaer
and St. Lawrence.
schools have offered an amendment, Proposal 65-1, that would essentially
act as a grandfather clause, allowing them to retain athletic
scholarships. The 424 Division III schools will vote on both Proposal
65 and Proposal 65-1 on Monday in Nashville. So if you support
the eight schools, you want either Proposal 65 to be defeated
or Proposal 65-1 pass. Both require a majority vote.
question is one element of a broad reform package proposed
for Division III: a provision that would prevent any Division
III schools from awarding athletic scholarships, even in
sports in which they participate at the Division I level.
There are eight schools (12 teams) that would be affected
by that proposal.
(men’s and women’s hockey)
Colorado College (men’s hockey and women’s soccer)
Hartwick (women’s water polo)
Johns Hopkins (men’s and women’s lacrosse)
Oneonta State (men’s soccer)
Rensselaer (men’s hockey)
Rutgers-Newark (men’s volleyball)
St. Lawrence (men’s and women’s hockey)
The 15-member Division III President’s Council
endorsed the reform package
Division III President’s Council affirmed
its support for the proposal.
NCAA Convention, Nashville, Tenn. The vote will
take place on Monday the 12th, most likely in the morning.
Reform package, if passed, would take effect
65-1 Brochure (.pdf)
INCH: Five Steps to Defeat Reform
Find news stories about the proposal on the INCH
what are the odds?
very hard to say, and could be close enough to bring out Tim Russert
and his dry erase board. The athletic directors and presidents
who have been making personal pleas to their colleagues at other
schools, so they would know best, but they seem reluctant to make
always optimistic," Rensselaer Athletic Director Ken Ralph
told the Albany Times Union. "I feel good about
the associations I've made with the other seven schools. We feel
good about what we've done. I think we're going in optimistic,
that we'll be successful.”
who have plenty of other things on their minds this time of year
– say that they haven’t thought much about Monday’s
be honest, I haven't really thought about it that much because
it's out of our hands now," Clarkson head coach George Roll
told INCH. "I'm optimistic about it because the schools have
done a very good job of getting the information out there and
spreading some truths about the proposal."
have the eight schools done to get the word out?
have done an impressive job of making a coordinated appeal to
the rest of Division III. They have created an attractive printed
brochure, set up a spotprop65.com
web site, and made personal contact with other voters. They’ve
even gathered the support of New York Senator Charles Schumer,
who appeared at a Thursday press conference at Rensselaer’s
Houston Field House. Five of the eight schools affected are in
talked to almost every (athletic director) in the country in Division
III," Ralph said to the Times Union. "One of
our priorities was to get to everybody individually and talk to
them about this particular issue. It has gone very well, but I
don't think any one of us can relax until after the vote on Monday."
has been a leader among hockey schools in getting the word out,
with strong efforts from Ralph, President Shirley Ann Jackson,
and sports information director Kevin Beattie.
has had an impact on other A.D.s.
one of the strongest lobbying efforts I've seen in my 15 years
here," Salisbury athletic director Michael Vienna told the
Baltimore Sun. "When you consider a proposal that
just affects eight institutions, they're doing a great job of
getting their point across."
the big deal for the other schools? Why was this even proposed?
In other words,
why so much venom for Middlebury right now?
that part, Middlebury President John McCardell is the Chair of
the Division III Presidents’ Council, and is leading the
charge for this reform package.
package is meant to keep athletics within the Division III philosophy,
and supporters feel that granting athletic scholarships runs against
of the eight schools note that they are hardly the villains when
people discuss what’s wrong with college sports. Nothing’s
broke, they claim, so why fix it? That question hasn’t persuaded
the Division III members who have led the charge for reform.
issue is athletic scholarships. Let's debate that issue,"
McCardell told the Sun. "The evidence is the 
waiver [that allowed these schools to provide athletic scholarships
in the first place]. It's a general acknowledgement that what
they're doing is at variance from what is the Division III philosophy."
stands to lose the most?
In all honesty,
the one institution with the most at stake in Monday’s vote
is probably Johns Hopkins, which has a lacrosse program that is
beyond compare in college hockey circles, despite Princeton and
Syracuse's dominance in the sport lately (think of North Dakota
and Boston University’s hockey teams, combined). But each
of these eight schools has a tremendous amount of history, tradition
and identity invested in these particular sports.
As a sport,
college hockey clearly stands to be the biggest loser if the Proposal
65-1 is defeated. There are four men’s hockey teams that
would be affected – women’s hockey, with two programs,
is the only other sport with more than one team in this fight.
the proposal had any impact yet?
nothing has been passed, the possibility of it happening has been
a cloud over these programs all year. It has especially plagued
recruiting, since next year's incoming freshmen will be seniors
in 2008-09, when the change would go into effect.
put a lot of guys on hold and a lot of guys weren't patient to
see what was going to happen," Clarkson's Roll said. "Things
are speeding up so much these days in the recruiting process and
kids are making decisions earlier and earlier every year. Not
being able to offer these kids (a guarantee) presented a bit of
a problem and we lost some kids that we might have had a chance
there anything left to be done?
this situation first came to light, Inside College Hockey outlined
the five steps the schools needed to follow to
defeat the proposal. They’ve followed steps one through
four to a T, and if that hasn’t worked, they have one more
shot to sway the voters.
schools will have a final chance to present their case during
a business session on Sunday (the vote takes place Monday morning).
Understandably, they wanted to get their message out in person
beforehand, and they’ve done an admirable job of that. But
an impassioned plea from the convention floor can make a difference.
Several observers recall the case of Peter Vidmar, a former UCLA
and Olympic gymnast, who convinced the membership to vote against
eliminating the men’s gymnastics championship a few years
President Shirley Ann Jackson will speak at the NCAA Convention,
and others voting delegates – usually a school’s president
or athletic director – are likely to join her.
If the vote
goes well from a college hockey standpoint, it’s business
each school will have to make a decision. To continue playing
Division I hockey, Clarkson, Colorado College, Rensselaer and
St. Lawrence would have two choices:
playing these sports at the Division I level but not offer scholarships
(most have dismissed that as not an option).
• Elevate their entire athletic programs to the Division
I or II levels (a costly proposition).
Some of the
eight schools – probably all, at least privately –
have considered their alternatives should they not get the votes
Monday. But in essence, “what’s next?” is a
question for another day.
teams, and the rest of college hockey, hope that day never comes.