Thursday, October 20, 2016 will go down as the day that the Jayhawk Conference changed forever.
In two landmark decisions, presidents from all 19 colleges within the Jayhawk Conference, unanimously voted to remove the out-of-state roster limits and play under NJCAA rules beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. It also cleared the way for scholarship changes that fall in line with NJCAA guidelines, which allow schools to offer full rides starting in 2018-2019.
"It's a great opportunity for students," Garden City Community College President Dr. Herbert Swender said. "It gives them even more chances to play, and it allows the 19 colleges to grow their schools."
The ruling comes after several schools had threatened to leave the conference if roster limitations were not lifted.
The decision puts an end to a rule that was put in place nearly 60 years ago.
"It was a collective effort," Swender said. "Several presidents believed it was time to revisit the roster limits; especially with football."
Under the old rule, Jayhawk schools could only certify 63 players for football. Under the new guidelines, teams will be allowed to suit up 85.
"The new rules allow 85 letters of intent," Swender explained. "But this now allows athletes to walk onto a program that would not have had the chance to do so before."
In soccer, limitations allow coaches to roster only 25. But, by playing under NJCAA rules, coaches can still only offer 25 scholarships, but now they can have additional players walk on and pay their own way.
"We are very happy with the outcome," Swender said. "We should never deny a student-athlete the opportunity to compete. With the old rules, that's what we were doing."
During the summer, two proposals-both dealing with out-of-state limits on scholarships, were voted down by the league. The first, would have eliminated limits altogether. The second was an idea to increase the out-of-state limit from 20 to 30 for football, with the additional 10 scholarships only coming from the Border States: Nebraska, Oklahoma, Colorado and Missouri.
"The meeting consisted of positive dialogue that resulted in unanimous support," KJCCC president Dr. Mike Calvert said in a statement. "This proves that the conference is united and moving forward together."
The only stipulation is that if a new bylaw is not passed related to scholarship limitations at the April, 2017 conference meeting, then beginning with the 2020 academic year, the bylaw will revert back to the current KJCCC scholarship limitations.