Regents adopt DI policy

Justin R. Lessman

Justin R. Lessman

The South Dakota Board of Regents has adopted a new athletic policy that establishes specific financial and procedural requirements for any of the six state universities that may choose to reclassify to the NCAA Division I level.

The policy was set at the Dec. 12, 2002, BOR meeting in Rapid City.

Although the policy was created as a result of SDSU’s request to move its athletic program to DI, it will apply to any other state university that may desire to switch in the future.

BOR President Harvey Jewett said the Board believed it was important to establish a detailed athletic policy for the state so that when issues such as funding, student fees and scholarships arise, a procedure will already exist.

The policy specifies that financial support for athletics from the student general activity fee may only increase at the fee’s BOR-determined annual rate of inflation.

Also, general fund support for benefits, salary and other operational expenses may only increase at rates equal to what is otherwise appropriated for the base budget.

“This provision seeks to limit increases in student fees and state funding to the regular, ongoing costs of operating the institutions, irregardless of athletic classifications,” Jewett said.

The policy also regulates scholarships.

The code restricts a university from reducing the number and/or amounts of academic scholarships in order to fund athletic scholarships. It also keeps students not meeting standard admission requirements from receiving athletic scholarships

As for athletic budgets of schools wishing to reclassify, the policy states that should a deficit occur, it must be addressed by a reduction of coaches’ salaries, travel, equipment, scholarships or by the discontinuation of a sport.

Finally, the policy limits the sources of revenue for athletic budgets to just four: the student general activity fee, state general fund resources, funds generated directly by the athletic program and funds transferred from the foundation to support athletics.

Additionally, all six state universities are required to provide yearly reports on their athletic budgets as well as the academic standing of their student athletes to the BOR.