Author Topic: NCAA proposal to allow a non-binding Division III 'signing day'  (Read 17257 times)

Offline Ron Boerger

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NCAA proposal to allow a non-binding Division III 'signing day'
« on: November 12, 2014, 10:53:54 am »
For those who may not have seen this elsewhere:

http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/champion/diii-student-athletes-want-sign-too

Picture a suburban high school. See swaths of white cinderblock painted black and gold or blue and yellow. See the students gather in the cafeteria, crowding around a long table where a handful of their peers sit and sign National Letters of Intent, officially declaring that they will soon be playing basketball or soccer or football at Division I or Division II schools. See the photographer from the local newspaper snapping photos. Hear the reporter asking them how excited they are to finally be a Buckeye or a Tiger or a Boilermaker.

Now picture the other athletes, the ones who will play those same sports in college, only at Division III schools. See them standing off to the side, lost in the crowd – watching. Or see them signing a blank piece of paper, not a document emblazoned with their school colors and punctuated by a dotted line. Under Division III rules, that is all they have ever been allowed to do.

Now ask them about those moments.

“I felt left out when the kids who had committed to participating in DI or DII athletics received the attention and publicity on signing day for their accomplishments while I stood in the crowd,” said Audrey Hester, who played four years of lacrosse at Randolph-Macon College before graduating this year. 

“I felt somehow less important or accomplished than my Division I and II classmates,” said Jaime Salcedo, a junior midfielder on Medaille College’s soccer team.

“I had nothing official to present to my friends and family,” said Jenna Ortega, a 2014 Ohio Wesleyan University graduate who played field hockey and lacrosse. “I was a little embarrassed at the time.”

Future Division III student-athletes may not be burdened by the same feelings. In January at the Convention, members will vote on a proposal that would permit prospective Division III student-athletes to sign a standard, nonbinding athletics celebratory signing form, which would be crafted by the NCAA and distributed to Division III schools so they can affix it to school letterhead and provide it to the student-athletes.

While there is strong support among student-athletes for the proposal, some coaches wish it went further. The proposal emerged from the Division III Recruiting Working Group, which was tasked, in part, with finding ways to improve coaches’ work-life balance. Marci Sanders, working group member and volleyball coach at the University of Texas at Dallas, said a binding document akin to the National Letter of Intent would save coaches valuable time. They wouldn’t be forced to continue recruiting athletes who have committed amid constant worries that other programs might poach them. 

But Steve Fritz, recruiting working group member and longtime director of athletics at the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota), noted that the nonbinding caveat must stay in place for the document to successfully serve its purpose. It ensures that academics, not athletics, govern Division III student-athletes’ college choices. For the same reason, the proposal includes a rule that students cannot use the form until they have been accepted to attend the institution.

Fritz said he was lukewarm on the proposal when it was first introduced, but he has changed his mind after realizing how important it is to student-athletes. And Sanders noted that many athletes who commit to her program immediately ask about signing a National Letter of Intent. She said she has frequently been embarrassed to tell them that their only option besides signing a blank piece of paper is to print and sign a document such as college admissions letters or academic scholarship offers, which are typically submitted by the student online.

The new form would change that. And, she said, student-athletes aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit.

“Not only is it great exposure for our division, but for the university as well as the sport program,” Sanders said. “Any positive exposure helps in future recruiting efforts.”

Offline Gregory Sager

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Re: NCAA proposal to allow a non-binding Division III 'signing day'
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2014, 03:40:48 pm »
I'm all for this. It makes D3 athletics more attractive to prospects; it will aid public relations and media exposure for D3 members; it doesn't violate the academics-first mission of the division; and, because it's non-binding, it doesn't lock D3 student-athletes into the indentured servitude of D1, D2, and NAIA (only without the scholarships).
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Offline smedindy

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Re: NCAA proposal to allow a non-binding Division III 'signing day'
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2014, 04:04:09 pm »
I think it's a win-win, maybe even an elusive win-win-win.

Of course it won't pass.  :D

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Re: NCAA proposal to allow a non-binding Division III 'signing day'
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2014, 04:21:01 pm »
Is there any regulation that prohibits a college from sending such a letter now?  I have seen a few photos of CWRU commits who have a CWRU shirt or hat at their hs's signing day.
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Offline Bishopleftiesdad

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Re: NCAA proposal to allow a non-binding Division III 'signing day'
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2014, 08:18:49 pm »
I like it as long as it is non-binding. Not sure I like the idea at the Early Signing period though. Still a lot of recruiting going on.

Offline Ryan Scott (Hoops Fan)

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Re: NCAA proposal to allow a non-binding Division III 'signing day'
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2014, 11:37:34 pm »


Maybe the signing ceremony should be signing the deposit check to remind everyone these kids are paying to go to school.
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Offline Tekken

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Re: NCAA proposal to allow a non-binding Division III 'signing day'
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2014, 09:31:35 am »
I don't have any problem with the proposal itself, per se.  However, I think all it is doing is feeding the "everybody gets a ribbon" and entitlement sentiments our society is embracing.  Personally, I do have a problem with that.

Offline jknezek

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Re: NCAA proposal to allow a non-binding Division III 'signing day'
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2014, 09:37:44 am »
I don't know. I think it is a bit of a right of passage these days. Kids get into college and the bumper sticker goes on the car, regardless of whether it is Monstrous Lecture Hall U or Extremely Expensive Private C. Announcing where you are going to continue your athletic passion is much the same thing. Does it really serve a point? No, but it doesn't hurt anything and makes a difference to the kid. Arguably it is the biggest decision of a teenager's life, celebrating it a bit more isn't a problem.

Offline Ron Boerger

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Re: NCAA proposal to allow a non-binding Division III 'signing day'
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2014, 10:42:11 am »
Not to mention there are D3 programs in many sports, including football, that punch above their weight and can take out some D2 and occasionally even D1 programs.    Someone going to, say, Messiah for soccer, UW-W for football, etc is at least as worthy of recognition as someone signing with a crummy D2 program that can't fight its way out of a paper bag and has poor academics to boot.   

Many high schools already have "signing ceremonies" for the D3 kids, so why not make it legit?

Offline smedindy

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Re: NCAA proposal to allow a non-binding Division III 'signing day'
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2014, 11:27:09 am »
I don't get how this is 'getting a ribbon' - it's a great accomplishment!

Offline Tekken

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Re: NCAA proposal to allow a non-binding Division III 'signing day'
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2014, 12:39:25 pm »
“I felt left out when the kids who had committed to participating in DI or DII athletics received the attention and publicity on signing day for their accomplishments while I stood in the crowd,” said Audrey Hester, who played four years of lacrosse at Randolph-Macon College before graduating this year.

“I felt somehow less important or accomplished than my Division I and II classmates,” said Jaime Salcedo, a junior midfielder on Medaille College’s soccer team.

“I had nothing official to present to my friends and family,” said Jenna Ortega, a 2014 Ohio Wesleyan University graduate who played field hockey and lacrosse. “I was a little embarrassed at the time.”



First off, I'm not taking anything away from Division III athletes.  I was borderline good enough to be a division III athlete (as in technically, a participant), but not actually good enough to be a "player".  They are indeed skilled.  However, every quote from the article helps elaborate on what I was describing.  Each one of them likens their accomplishment to being lesser than a D1 or D2 player, and feeling slighted.  That they deserved the same accolade.  They did accomplish something, but not to the same extent.  Very few players choose Division III.  Division III, as a general rule, chooses players based on their level of achievement being relatively lesser than that of D1 and D2 players.  So to me, it does sound like a "I'm entitled to a ribbon, too, even though I didn't accomplish the same feat."

Again, I have no problem with the proposal itself.  It doesn't actually harm anything.  But I don't like the underlying message it propagates.

Offline FCGrizzliesGrad

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Re: NCAA proposal to allow a non-binding Division III 'signing day'
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2014, 02:15:40 pm »
“I felt left out when the kids who had committed to participating in DI or DII athletics received the attention and publicity on signing day for their accomplishments while I stood in the crowd,” said Audrey Hester, who played four years of lacrosse at Randolph-Macon College before graduating this year.

“I felt somehow less important or accomplished than my Division I and II classmates,” said Jaime Salcedo, a junior midfielder on Medaille College’s soccer team.

“I had nothing official to present to my friends and family,” said Jenna Ortega, a 2014 Ohio Wesleyan University graduate who played field hockey and lacrosse. “I was a little embarrassed at the time.”



First off, I'm not taking anything away from Division III athletes.  I was borderline good enough to be a division III athlete (as in technically, a participant), but not actually good enough to be a "player".  They are indeed skilled.  However, every quote from the article helps elaborate on what I was describing.  Each one of them likens their accomplishment to being lesser than a D1 or D2 player, and feeling slighted.  That they deserved the same accolade.  They did accomplish something, but not to the same extent.  Very few players choose Division III.  Division III, as a general rule, chooses players based on their level of achievement being relatively lesser than that of D1 and D2 players.  So to me, it does sound like a "I'm entitled to a ribbon, too, even though I didn't accomplish the same feat."

Again, I have no problem with the proposal itself.  It doesn't actually harm anything.  But I don't like the underlying message it propagates.
D3 has a problem with perception... that of being just a bit better than HS. The truth is that there's any number of reasons an athlete might choose to go to a D3 school over maybe a D2 or even D1. Location, family legacy, education (who wouldn't want to go to a prestigious school like MIT or Amherst or Chicago). There are far more athletes in high school who won't get to play in college at any level because there's simply not enough teams for everyone. So an individual who is talented enough to play for a team (whether a 6'9" basketball player who could make the NBA or a wide receiver with great hands but stopped growing at 5'9" and didn't get a look from the big schools) is certainly worthy of a little recognition and accolades. It's one of the biggest moments in that kid's life, I'd argue even more so for someone going to D3 than one of the power conferences in D1.
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Offline smedindy

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Re: NCAA proposal to allow a non-binding Division III 'signing day'
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2014, 02:32:46 pm »
Very few players choose Division III.  Division III, as a general rule, chooses players based on their level of achievement being relatively lesser than that of D1 and D2 players.

incorrect in so many ways...

Offline Bishopleftiesdad

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Re: NCAA proposal to allow a non-binding Division III 'signing day'
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2014, 02:50:19 pm »
The more I think about it I am not sure it is a good idea. Yes it is great to celebrate the accomplishment of getting into a college and also playing a sport. One of the big difference (for Baseball anyway) between D1, D2 and D3 is the recruiting timeline.
Many D3's do not start seriously start recruiting some kids till after the NLI signing. While they may have watched the kid play and made some contact, now is when they start in earnest. Kids start visiting campus and having overnights. Now is the time kids truly start comparing options. I would hate to change that sort of timetable so kids can sign at the same time as the other divisions.
With an NLI, you know what you are going to be paying for college at least for 1 year. A D3 athlete in most cases will not know for sure until Marc/April of next year, I have seen too many commit to a school too early and find out that the financial package is not quite as expected. Since the Athlete has no leverage because they only applied and were accepted to the one school during the early action period. Now where is there leverage. For some they ended opting for no sport and Big State U, because they were not aware of the costs of the school they committed to.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2014, 02:57:00 pm by Bishopleftiesdad »

Offline jknezek

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Re: NCAA proposal to allow a non-binding Division III 'signing day'
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2014, 02:55:48 pm »
The D3 legislation specifies non-binding, celebratory piece of paper. In other words, it means nothing. Kids can still be recruited other places, apply other places, or change their minds once financial aid information appears. It's just a piece of paper celebrating where they think they are going at the same time other athletes are signing something about where they are actually going.

Any kid could do something similar with a blank sheet of paper these days, this just gives them some "official letterhead" paper from the school.