Division III units will have a membership of no less than 30 and no more than 70 performing members, according to rules approved by the DCI executive board recently. Division II units, meanwhile, will have a membership of no less than 80 and no more than 135 performing members. Additionally, corps with membership numbers from 71 to 79 would have a choice of participating in Division III or Division II. JW Koester, DCI's Division II & III coordinator, said, "I think that this division size change will allow the corps to better serve their membership by allowing the Division III corps an opportunity to
more efficiently operate their fleet by being able to fill more bus seats with fees paying members." Koester also explained the significance of the corps sizing mandates. "These corps membership size changes within the Division II & III activity will offer more performance opportunities for more marching members without forcing any of the corps to expand beyond their financial means or competitive capability. The "buffer" zone concept is the first one to allow corps to have some flexibility to stay in their correct competitive division without having to potentially drop a member or have to struggle to find a replacement member a week before the season starts." Koester, meanwhile, elaborated on DCI's continued support of the Division II & III marching activity. "The support that the DCI executive committee has provided the Division II & III corps in regards to these changes reinforces their belief that the Division II & III corps can continue to evolve and better our aspect of the activity, making meaningful decisions that benefit our member organizations and their marching members," Koester said. George Brown of the Vanguard Cadets, a member of the Division II & III advisory committee, said that the new changes would level the Division II & III playing field. "Most of the corps directors felt that this will allow the competitive gap between Division II & III corps to be closer. This proposal is an exciting step in the growth of the Division II & III activity," Brown said. Koester also noted that the size change will affect corps competitively. "The buffer zone corps (71 - 79 members) will also have the flexibility to choose which division will best serve their membership from a competitive viewpoint. This should create an even more exciting performance atmosphere for both divisions throughout the season," Koester said. Finally, the final date for declaring a division is May 1 of each
competitive season. "The May 1 deadline for declaring your division is simply based on logistics. If a corps does change divisions, it takes the office time to advise the show sponsors, the judges and the other corps participating in those events in regards to the new line up, step off times, etc. "The May 1 date for this information now aligns with the participation agreement contract that each organization must sign and return to the DCI office by May 1," Koester said. Koester said that these new rules would be beneficial to all corps. "I think that the corps will find these changes to the DCI Division II & III operating policies to be very helpful to their organizations," Koester said.