This year’s recently concluded NCAA Convention “was probably the fastest voting convention” in recent memory, states Augsburg College Assistant Athletic Director Jennifer Jacobs.
Jacobs, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s (MIAC) only Black female athletic administrator, just returned from this year’s annual convention in Nashville (Jan. 18-21). “A lot of discussion on the floor, she said last week in an MSR phone interview, “[but] people came in with their votes decided, and things passed or failed at higher numbers versus it being close.”
Augsburg is a Division III school in Minneapolis, and Division III colleges and universities don’t award athletic scholarships unlike Division II and the big-time Division I. “Of course we don’t bring in the millions and billions of dollars that the ‘Power Five’ conferences do,” noted Jacobs. “There are a whole different set of needs at Division III that [we] require to operate competitively.
“We are the largest division with 430-some odd institutions,” continued Jacobs.
Six of nine Division III proposals were passed by large margins, including the elimination of “window of reconsideration” and deregulating camps and clinics.
“We saw in previous years people abusing that time, [using it like] a bathroom break to politicize or get more votes,” explained Jacobs of the now-eliminated window of reconsideration. She added that Division III schools now “can run [camps and clinics] as tryouts, and it’s open to everybody as long as there are no discounts.”
Jacobs, who also is an assistant volleyball coach, said this year’s convention focused on several “hot” issues such as players’ health — “unchallengeable autonomous authority” for team doctors and trainers on return-to-play decisions was passed and will take effect August 1. She also saw how the convention members are starting to hear the ‘new’ student-athlete: “They want a voice,” she observed.
“They are more active and wanting to have a say in and around social justice issues as it refers to diversity and inclusion, and they want to be heard.” They also want more “pipelines” created for Blacks and other people of color “to get into the coaching ranks, the training ranks, refereeing ranks” across all three divisions, added Jacobs.
Hiring decisions in college athletics across all three divisions was discussed as well, said Jacobs. “We are still underrepresented [as] staff of color and various backgrounds and women. I think the NCAA institutions and the NCAA is being very selective and critical in their thinking of how we do our business,” she surmised.
Jacobs, who’s attended NCAA conventions since 2012, said this year’s session accomplished a lot in such a short time. “There were no close vote[s].”
Globe-tracking the Lynx
In recent action, Sylvia Fowles (Beijing) scored 16 points in the North’s 116-110 victory over the South in the WCBA All Star Game. Renee Montgomery (Gdynia, Poland) had 19 points in a close win and 20 points in a .500 week.
Keisha Hampton (Israel) hit for 37 points and grabbed 16 boards for Bnot Hertzeliya. Natasha Howard (Samsung, South Korea) recorded 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, and had 10 points in a 1-1 week. Janel McCarville recently signed to play with AIK in Sweden, reuniting with former Gopher teammate and Swedish native Kadidja Andersson.
WNBA free agency began January 14, and teams can negotiate with their own restricted and unrestricted free agents, but deals can’t be officially announced until Wednesday, Feb. 1. Minnesota’s Hampton and Anna Cruz are among the 21 designated “reserved” players, and McCarville is among 15 unrestricted free agents.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.