After lengthy debates before and throughout the 2017 NCAA Convention, a proposal to permit graduate students to participate in athletics at the Division III institution of their choice was defeated in a membership vote Saturday.

Delegates at the 2017 Division III business session voted 291-175 against the proposal that would have enabled students who graduated with remaining eligibility to participate in athletics at any Division III institution.

Student-athletes can compete as graduate students at the college or university where they received their undergraduate degree. They are also eligible to receive a waiver to compete as a graduate student at another school if they completed their degree in less than four years and graduated with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Through the week, Division III Presidents Council members discussed reevaluating the waiver criteria to make them more permissive. Though the proposal was defeated, those discussions could continue throughout the year.

Division III also adopted a proposal that ensures unchallengeable autonomous authority for athletics health care providers regarding return-to-play decisions and another proposal that standardizes annual contest and date-of-competition exemptions in all sports except wrestling. Both will be effective Aug. 1.

Ironically, a proposal to eliminate the window of reconsideration during the business session was adopted but was later subjected to a motion to be reconsidered. The motion, however, was defeated, and the results of the initial vote stood.

A full list of voting results at the 2017 Division III business session follows:

Division III 2017 Convention legislation voting results

Read here for more details on the proposals.

  • Establish independent medical care: Adopted 454-22; effective Aug. 1, 2017.
  • Permit graduate transfers: Defeated (175-291).
  • Amend the existing criteria for outside financial aid awards that consider athletics to allow prospective student-athletes to accept awards that restrict their institutional choice as long as they are not effectively limited to a single institution.  Adopted 453-25; effective Aug. 1, 2017.
  • Standardize annual contest and date of competition exemptions: Adopted (428-35);effective Aug. 1, 2017.
  • Exemption from preseason contest and date of competition limitations for field hockey and lacrosse: Rendered moot by proposal No. 4; no vote necessary.
  • Eliminate requirement that mandatory day off for track and field, swimming and diving be held on the same day for all student-athletes: Adopted (313-133); effective immediately.
  • Deregulate camps and clinics: Adopted (453-23); effective immediately.
  • Limit size of provisional membership program: Adopted (440-27); effective Aug. 1, 2017.
  • Eliminate window of reconsideration: Adopted (369-105); effective Aug. 1, 2017.


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