WELLESLEY, Mass. – On Tuesday, June 12, coaches and administrators from the eight New England Division III conferences, as well as conference office and NCAA staff members gathered in Babson College’s Knight Auditorium for regional rules compliance pilot program.
The seminar was orchestrated by the New England Division III Commissioners Association (NEDIIICA), which is comprised of the commissioners of the Commonwealth Coast Conference, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC), the Little East Conference, the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC), the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC), the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) and the North Atlantic Conference (NAC), with the support of the NCAA membership and student-athlete affairs staff.
Azure Davey, Associate Director of Academic and Membership Affairs at the NCAA, applauded the NEDIIICA for its work putting together the seminar: “The eight New England conferences organized an outstanding, well organized compliance education opportunity for their members. It was exciting to spend time with and educate nearly 400 New England compliance administrators and coaches,” said Davey.
Over 350 coaches and administrators representing 79 of the 82 Division III institutions in New England attended this unique event, allowing the NCAA to reach an unprecedented audience with presentations on a wide range of topics, including amateurism, financial aid, playing and practice season regulations and recruiting regulations. Director of Division III Governance, Louise McCleary, also provided the group with an update on some of the key issues currently facing the membership.
Wheaton College Assistant Director of Athletics and Compliance Officer, Rebecca Begley, was also impressed, saying “bravo to the New England conference commissioners for initiating a local NCAA Regional Rules Seminar.”
“This format allowed many institutions, including Wheaton, to send staff beyond their compliance officers to be educated on NCAA rules,” Begley continued.
The NCAA typically puts on two rules seminars per year in different parts of the country. However, given the limited budgets in Division III, many coaches and administrators are often precluded from attending. To help bring this critical information to a broader audience, the NEDIIICA requested that the NCAA use New England as a pilot study to determine if a more regionalize model would be appropriate for the seminars.
“The NCAA Compliance Pilot initiated and coordinated by the New England Division III Commissioners was hugely successful,” remarked Babson College Athletic Director, Josh MacArthur. “I applaud the NCAA for supporting this endeavor and understanding the financial challenges that Division III institutions face.”
The seminar was also supported by a number of corporate sponsors, which helped offset the costs associated with running such a large-scale event. All Worldwide Travel, Championship Award Guys, Front Rush, PrestoSports and Strategic Marketing Affiliates served as corporate event sponsors.
NESCAC Executive Director, Andrea Savage, was very encouraged by the success of the event: “It was great to see so many individuals participate in the New England Regional Rules Pilot at Babson. The location and one-day format afforded our institutions the opportunity to send multiple staff members to take advantage of this educational opportunity.”
“I would like to thank the Membership Committee for supporting this initiative,” Savage continued. “More than 350 people - including Athletic Directors, Senior Woman Administrators, compliance coordinators, coaches and Faculty Athletic Representatives - from nearly every institution in the region were able to benefit from this programming.”
It will now be left up to the NCAA Division III membership committee to explore the feedback from the pilot program and determine if this model can be implemented on a more permanent basis across the country.
“It seems this regionalized model merits further exploration and consideration,” Davey concluded after the event.