Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Cost of Reaching the Grail

SEPTEMBER 17, 2019 | written by Steve Ulrich
your must-read briefing on what's driving the day in NCAA Division III
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1. The Cost of Reaching the Grail

"Before George Barber could radically overhaul his Division III program, before he could talk himself into discarding all traditional methods and scoring points like no other college team has ever done, he had to do his research.
Barber called Dave Arsenault Sr., inventor of The System at Grinnell College in Iowa, for advice on how to run the frenzied, hair-on-fire style. He flew in Gary Smith, author of a book on The System, for a week of instruction and insight. Along the way, Barber came across a statistical goal that System devotees whispered about. Among themselves, they called it the Holy Grail.
Could a team score 200 points in a 40-minute game?"

>> Situational Awareness: "Though the game was more than well in hand, Greenville continued to press full court and play its top shifts against Fontbonne. The Panthers committed two fouls in the final 21 seconds to get the ball back, and Barber called a timeout with 10.5 seconds remaining after his team had reached 198 points."

>> Reality Check: “That was maybe the worst sportsmanship I’ve ever been involved in,” Fontbonne coach Lance Thornhill says. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think George would do that kind of thing to me.”

>> Between the Lines: "It comes down to this: If the Holy Grail were at arm’s length but you had to hurt a close friend and be branded an outlaw by some of your peers to grab it, would you still reach for it?"

>> Be Smart: "Before the 2015-16 season, school administrators came to Barber with a suggestion. Well, more of a directive. They wanted him to try running The System. This idea was less about winning games and more about enhancing enrollment and retention. Small private universities have struggled to keep up with the online diploma mills. Sports have proven to be a great way to get kids on campus and keep them there — and paying tuition — for four years."

>> Worth Your Time from Brian Bennett at The Athletic ($).
2. Hixon Takes Leave
"Amherst College Head Men's Basketball Coach David Hixon '75 will be taking a well-deserved leave from the program during the 2019-20 season. Having dedicated the last 42 uninterrupted years to Amherst College basketball, Coach Hixon will use this break to spend time with his father and reconnect with former players still involved in all levels of the game. David's commitment to family has been consistently reflected in the way he leads his teams, and we are happy he will have this opportunity. Aaron Toomey '14, in his fifth year as an assistant coach, will serve as interim head coach, effective immediately. 
- from Amherst College

>> The Big Picture: "To help limit speculation," Hixon told D3Hoops.com, "I would like to say my health is great and that this is not retirement but a season-long sabbatical leave. I am further blessed to have an assistant like Aaron Toomey who is both ready and capable to coach this team to its potential."
3. $5M Donation for NEC
New England College has announced a $5 million anonymous pledge to support a new, 45,000-square-foot Athletic Complex on its Henniker campus.
“This transformative gift, which has been in the works for quite some time, has already spurred other generous donors to consider additional five-, six-, and seven-figure contributions; major gifts which will help us reach our $12 million fundraising goal,” said NEC President Michele Perkins.
Construction is slated to begin in the spring of 2020 with the Complex opening in time for the 2022-2023 academic year. It is expected to cost $15 million all told, with seating for up to 1,300, as well as a new fitness center.

- Concord Monitor
4. Polls
Football - D3Football.com
  1. Mary Hardin-Baylor
  2. Mount Union
  3. UW-Whitewater
  4. Saint John's
  5. North Central
  6. St. Thomas
  7. Hardin-Simmons
  8. Muhlenberg
  9. Bethel
  10. Whitworth
11. Linfield, 12. Washington & Jefferson, 13. Berry, 14. John Carroll, 15. Wesley, 16. UW-La Crosse, 17. Wheaton, Ill., 18. Illinois Wesleyan, 19. Centre, 20. Delaware Valley, 21. Johns Hopkins, 22. Ithaca, 23. Salisbury, 24. Washington-St. Louis, 25. Susquehanna.

>> Moving Up: Wesley (+7), UW-La Crosse (+7)

>> Moving Down: Johns Hopkins (-14), Delaware Valley (-7), Illinois Wesleyan (-4)

>> Hello: Salisbury, Washington-St. Louis, Susquehanna.

>> Bye-Bye: Rensselaer, Wabash, Wittenberg.


5.  Comings ... 

... and Goings 
  • Shawn Postiglione resigned as head men's basketball coach at Bridgewater.

6.  Power 5 Employs Just Four Female ADs

65 colleges make up the Power 5 conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC), and only 4 of those schools have female athletic directors, per NYT.
  1. Sandy Barbour, Penn State
  2. Jennifer Cohen, Washington
  3. Heather Lyke, Pittsburgh
  4. Carla Williams, Virginia
Why it matters: 47 years after Congress passed Title IX, women make up nearly half of all college athletes. But the fact that just 4 have been put in charge of Power 5 schools is a stark reminder of the disparity that still exists.
"The Power 5 level is the most male dominated part of college athletics because of the money and because of big-time football and basketball, which have traditionally been sort of the male, boys' club things. It's much harder for women to break into these roles because of that."
— Patti Phillips, CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports, per NYT
The big picture: Despite their lack of representation at the top of the college sports pyramid, women are increasingly filling roles outside the Power 5 — and there is a growing sense that a cultural shift is underway.
  • By the numbers: 68 women were hired as athletic directors or conference commissioners across all of college sports in 2018, up from just 19 in 2002.

- courtesy of Axios
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