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Publish date: Jul 5, 2011

FCS schools ask to override pregame lodging proposal

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.

Legislative Council asked to redial on phone call proposal

Legislation adopted in April regarding earlier phone contact with recruits in sports other than football and men’s basketball has been suspended because more than 100 institutions submitted override requests. Read More

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.

Previous override votes:

  • 2006 Convention: The first override since restructuring in 1997 involved expanding financial aid limits in women’s gymnastics, soccer, volleyball and track. All but soccer were overturned.
  • 2007 Convention: Two overrides, one seeking to overturn legislation allowing graduate students to compete immediately upon transfer and another looking to add a 12th regular-season game for the Football Championship Subdivision. The graduate-student proposal was successful; the 12th game failed.
  • 2008 Convention: Three more overrides, including one to allow text-messaging of prospects, which failed overwhelmingly. Another sought to delete scholarship minimums for baseball (which also failed), and the third successfully repealed an adjustment in the golf playing and practice season.
  • 2009 Convention: One override, seeking to restore men’s basketball coaches’ ability to observe nonscholastic events in April, failed.
  • 2010 Convention: Two override attempts were defeated. Delegates staved off an effort to block sand volleyball as an emerging sport for women and also preserved legislation that added a week to the front end of the baseball season.

“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.