The Division III Initial Publication of Proposed Legislation was released this week. This document lays out for the first time proposed changes to NCAA rules that could be voted on at the 2022 NCAA Convention in January. Two of the proposals are particularly relevant to DIII wrestling.
The first proposal is innocuously titled as follows:
No. 1-3 ELIGIBILITY — CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING SEASON OF ELIGIBILITY — MINIMUM AMOUNT OF
PARTICIPATION — ONLY COMPETITION TRIGGERING USE OF A SEASON
However, what the proposal does is bring redshirting to Division III. Currently, a DIII athlete uses a season of eligibility if he or she practices after the first competition of the season. This is how athletes are kept from redshirting. It does not matter if they compete or not. If they practice during the competition portion of the season, they use a season of eligibility. This proposal removes that part of the rule and specifies that only competition can trigger the use of a season. Athletes would be able to practice for an entire season without using eligibility. The ten semester rule and the requirement of full time status to practice would remain in effect.
The Empire 8 Conference is the sponsor of the legislation and there is still a long way to go before it makes its way to the floor for a vote by the membership. The proposal could still be modified or withdrawn, and the NCAA will publish both a Second Publication of Proposed Legislation in September and an Official Notice of the 2022 Convention in November.
The second proposal (No. 1-4, sponsored by the NCAC) changes the way practice opportunities are determined. Currently, wrestling is permitted to have a 19 week season where any practice or competition in a week uses the whole week. For example, if a team practices the Monday before Thanksgiving but takes the rest of the week off, that week still counts as one of the 19. Also, weeks must be consecutive unless the break happens during a school vacation period such as the break between semesters.
The new proposal converts the playing season from 19 weeks to 100 days that can be used at any point during the season. For wrestling, the season would still start on October 10th, so the first of the 100 days could not be used prior to that date. During the 2020-2021 school year, a version of this was in place where teams could use up to 114 days, though the restrictions on when they could be used were more lenient due to COVID-19.