NCAA Division III Passes Legislation to Improve Football Safety

Division III delegates adopted a proposal that addresses concerns regarding head impact exposure in football by reducing contact overall in both the preseason and traditional season while increasing opportunities to teach appropriate blocking and tackling techniques during the spring.

The delegates met over the weekend during the Division III business session, part of the 2022 NCAA Convention.

division iiiThe football decision changes the preseason practice period in the following three ways:

  • Increases the acclimatization period from five to six days.
  • Establishes a maximum of eight practices in full pads.
  • Establishes contact limitations of no more than 75 minutes of contact per day and no more than two consecutive days of full-contact.

The newly adopted legislation limits football teams to two fully-padded practices per week during the regular season. If a school has a bye week, it is permitted up to three practices in full pads that week.

This legislation allows student-athletes to wear helmets during all 16 days of the spring period. On four of the 16 days, student-athletes would be permitted to also wear shoulder pads and engage in drills focused on teaching appropriate tackling and blocking. For the 12 days of helmets only, there is no change in what constitutes a permissible activity. Adopted (295-68-87); effective immediately.

International Student-Athlete Amateurism Certification

Division III will use the NCAA Eligibility Center to certify the amateur status of international student-athletes to provide more consistency and efficiency in the amateurism certification process. Adopted (430-23); effective for international prospective student-athletes enrolling in a Division III school on or after Aug. 1, 2023.

Presidents Council Authority to Adopt Emergency Legislation

This permits the Division III Presidents Council to sponsor and adopt emergency legislation under defined circumstances to help ensure the division can address critical events and circumstances in a timely manner. Adopted (452-1-1); effective immediately.

Applying Division I Legislation

This permits Division III member schools that sponsor one or more sports classified in Division I to apply Division I legislation to those sports in all areas, including financial aid. Adopted (388-18-39); effective immediately.

Championships Automatic Qualification

The minimum number of multisport conference members required for automatic qualification for Division III championships is reduced from seven to six. Adopted (281-167-2); effective Aug. 1.

Single-Sport Conference Minimum Requirement

The minimum number of member schools required to form a single-sport conference is reduced from seven to six. A single-sport conference is an NCAA Division III member conference that sponsors only one sport. Adopted (327-123-3); effective Aug. 1.