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Publish date: Sep 28, 2011

DIII Championships Committee defines budget priorities

By Gary Brown

In its review of budget priorities for the upcoming cycle, the Division III Championships Committee is throwing its support behind initiatives that fully fund an enhanced experience for postseason participants.

DIII panel supports requests in golf, track and swimming

The Division III Championships Committee at its Sept. 12-14 meeting approved several requests from sport committees that do not have a budgetary impact or can be accommodated by reallocating existing funds. Read More

Meeting Sept. 12-14 in Indianapolis, committee members agreed that any new allocations in the next budget cycle should focus on things like per diem increases and squad-size adjustments that give student-athletes an enhanced championships experience and relieves financial burdens on participating schools.

They reached that consensus after meeting with chairs of Division III sport committees and taking a straw poll on the priorities. Members ranked the following initiatives, the first three of which would be evaluated collectively:

  • Per diem rate: The current rate for 2011-12 is $85 for the travel party. For the past few budget cycles, the committee has recommended a $5 increase, which has resulted in a $3 increase the first year of the biennium and a $2 increase the second. While the committee did not recommend a dollar amount for the next increase, they did determine this as a top priority.
  • Per diem days: Discussion regarded whether reimbursement policies fully cover the expenses for the official travel party of institutions participating in championships. The committee discussed adding a half day of per diem two days before the day of competition (for teams to travel for the practice day) for all sports or only selected sports.  The additional half day of per diem would be in addition to any increase in the per diem rate. The current reimbursement policy for team sports is:
    • One day for the day before the competition, if travel occurred on that day.
    • One day for each day a team competes.
    • One day for each day between competitions (only when multiple rounds are held at the same site).
    • One half day for the day after competition, if travel occurred on that day.
    • For individual sports, per diem would be provided for all qualifying student-athletes and the allowable number of non-athletes as outlined in the travel policies.
  • Squad size: The Division III Championships Committee earlier had suggested that growth in the number of student-athletes taking part in the championships experience come through increasing the squad size and travel party for participating teams. Funding the previously approved extra bench spots is at the institution’s expense for the 2011-12 championship year, since additional personnel above and beyond the squad size and travel party are not reimbursed by the NCAA. If championship policy were to be approved that increases the squad size per the committee’s recommendation, though, those increases in subsequent years would be fully funded. The proposed increases from the committee are in the following sports:
    • Baseball (squad size from 24 to 25 for the 2013 championship; bench area from 34 to 35 for the 2012 championship).
    • Field hockey (squad size from 22 to 24 for the 2012 championship; bench area from 32 to 34 for the 2011 championship).
    • Football (squad size from 52 to 58 for the 2012 championship; bench area from 72 to 78 for the 2011 championship).
    • Men’s and women’s ice hockey (squad size from 21 to 23 for the 2013 championships; bench area remains at 27 for the 2012 championships due to current playing rules).
    • Men’s lacrosse (squad size from 28 to 32 for the 2013 championship; bench area from 38 to 42 for the 2012 championship).
    • Men’s and women’s soccer (squad size from 22 to 25 for the 2012 championships; bench area from 32 to 35 for the 2011 championships).
    • Men’s and women’s tennis (squad size from eight to nine for the 2013 championships; bench area not applicable, but nine participants are eligible for practice and pre-match warm-up for the 2012 championships).
  • Officials fees: For the past few budget cycles, the committee has recommended a 4 percent increase across the board for officials fees, effective the first year of the budget cycle. Officials fees continue to be a priority for the committee.
  • Administrator at championships: The Championships Committee had proposed funding the “required administrator” spot as a member of the travel party for the next budget cycle. However, because of its low ranking as a priority, the committee determined that the administrator’s attendance at championships would still be strongly encouraged but no longer required, and that the current $300 fine for the administrator’s failure to attend the coaches and administrators meeting would not be applied.

While those are the priorities, not all are likely to be immediately addressed since the Championships Committee will have to weigh individual budget requests from sport committees, which they will begin to do in a series of conference calls later this fall and winter. The committee will make final budget recommendations at its February meeting, after also considering input from the Division III Strategic Planning and Finance Committee and the Division III Management Council. Ultimately, the championships budget is subject to review by the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee and Management Council, with final approval by the Presidents Council.

The committee will benefit from inflationary adjustments in the next budget that help address travel expenses for championship participants, but new initiatives would likely have to come from previous savings the division has accrued, or from reserves. The committee may also consider reallocation within existing budgets to accommodate changing priorities.

Also a factor is a new budget cycle that will be implemented this year, expanding from a two-year to a three-year period. That means the recommendations from the Division III governance structure will apply to the 2012-15 triennium.