By Gary Brown
Eighteen Football Championship Subdivision schools have submitted requests to override Proposal No. 2010-83, which would not allow institutions to provide lodging (for example, a hotel or motel) to student-athletes before a regular-season home football game.
The 18 override requests are three more than the 15 necessary to require the FCS Governance Committee to revisit the legislation that was adopted in April. A call to review the matter is scheduled for July 14.
If the FCS Governance Committee reverses its position, the legislation will be defeated and not be sent for further membership comment. If the committee maintains its position, though, the Presidential Advisory Group would review the proposal in August. If the PAG maintains legislation as adopted, the membership will cast override votes later this year.
Because of the adoption of Proposal No. 2010-12 in April, override voting this year does not have to be conducted in person at the Convention. Instead, Division I members can cast override votes electronically at a selected time (which could in fact be at the Convention if desired). Details of that process are still being considered.
Currently, institutions may provide off-campus housing for their football teams at local hotels the evening before a home game similar to what is allowed in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Supporters of the proposal to disallow it cite substantial cost savings as the primary reason.
It went through the comment period quietly and was adopted without fanfare in April.
Since then, though, override advocates say they need to keep their teams free of distractions before home games.
“While this practice may not occur regularly, the ability to do so provides a certain level of flexibility when issues on campus arise, such as dorm renovations, or on-campus events such as homecoming that may be distracting for student-athletes,” one school wrote. “Furthermore, it is not uncommon for institutions to have reciprocal agreements with hotels in their locale, which mitigates any associated costs.”
Another school noted that “the amount of expenses reported associated with this activity” were “out of proportion to the actual expenditures by FCS member institution who engage in this activity.”
“Additionally,” the school said, “we believe that the financial implications are not a significant impact on each school’s budget, as a lot of these funds are probably fund-raised dollars or in-kind benefits. We believe that a more in-depth review should be conducted and that the implementation of this legislation should be postponed until completed and reported out to the membership.”
If an override vote occurs this year, it will be the sixth time in seven years that Division I will have gone through that process. The last was at the 2010 Convention when delegates upheld legislation that allowed sand volleyball as an emerging sport for women and preserved legislation that added a week to the front end of the baseball season.
The override request in the FCS accompanies two others involving legislation affecting all of Division I, one regarding phone contact with recruits and the other involving nonscholastic events on campus. The Division I Legislative Council will revisit those proposals on a July 14 conference call.