Thursday, October 31, 2019

College Sports and Mental Health

OCTOBER 31, 2019 | written by Steve Ulrich
your must-read briefing on what's driving the day in NCAA Division III

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1. College Sports and Mental Health

Tyler Hilinski had a standout sophomore season at Washington State in 2017, but just a few weeks after the season ended he took his own life.

"Sports is often seen as a laboratory for the bigger world, a microcosm within which we can learn about the human condition, and where we can test theories before applying them more generally. It also boasts passionate and highly engaged fan bases, and can be a powerful medium for focusing attention on a particular topic. As college sports turns its attention to mental health, it could drive innovation that might have a wider impact on non-athletes and non-students as well."

After losing their son, Tyler, to a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head, Kym and Mark Hilinski focused on tackling depression, a common symptom in many neurodegenerative diseases, though also a wider problem. They launched the Hilinski’s Hope Foundation last year to “promote awareness and education of mental health and wellness for student athletes.”
The foundation already counts 16 universities, including Washington State and South Carolina, and two of college football’s Power Five conferences, the ACC and SEC, among its sponsors and partners. It works with Behind Happy Faces, an online mental health curriculum, and Step UP!, a program developed by the NCAA and the University of Arizona that educates students about ways to help others. Behind Happy Faces currently serves more than 70,000 high school and college students, and the NCAA is planning a study of the program at six universities. 
Earlier this year, Hilinski’s Hope also partnered with the NCAA Sports Science Institute to support the development of “evidence-based approaches” for health screening of student athletes. The Institute published its first official guidelines on mental health in 2016, promoting student-athlete screening, counseling and programs that support overall mental wellbeing.

>> Why It Matters: In 2017, the National Institute of Mental Health reported that 17.3 million U.S. adults suffered at least one major depressive episode, a prevalence of 7.3%. That same year, suicide was the tenth biggest cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 47,173 lives lost.

>> Reality Check: Research from professor Daniel Eisenberg from the U. of Michigan School of Public Health has shown that 40% of both students and student-athletes experience symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions. Of that group, a further 40% typically seek help, indicating that 24% of the student body may suffer from an unaddressed mental health concern.

>> Keep Reading from Jen Booton, SportsTechie

2. The Inner Circle

We wrap up our look at winter pre-season polls with the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

  1. Loras
  2. Wabash
  3. Wartburg
  4. Augsburg
  5. Mount Union (T-5)
  6. UW-Whitewater (T-5)
  7. UW-La Crosse
  8. Stevens (T-8)
  9. Baldwin Wallace (T-8)
  10. Coe (T-8)
  11. Coast Guard
  12. TCNJ (T12)
  13. RIT (T-12)
  14. Alma (T-14)
  15. Ithaca (T-14)
Top-Ranked Individuals

125: Mike Tortorice, UW-Whitewater
133: Charlie Nash, Baldwin Wallace
141: Jordin James, Mount Union
149: Brett Kaliner, Stevens
157: Antwon Pugh, Mount Union
165: Ryan Epps, Augsburg
174: Darden Schurg, Wabash
184: John Boyle, Western New England
197: Riley Kauzlaric, UW-Whitewater
285: Adarios Jones, Augustana


3.  Run to Glory

Fall championship season hits high gear this weekend as most conferences hold their annual Cross Country championship meets. Forty-one conferences will determine champions this weekend, beginning with the Skyline Conference that runs today at the Hudson Valley Sports Dome in Milton, N.Y.

Congrats to the CCNY men and the Hunter women for capturing the CUNYAC championship last Sunday. The Dean men and Elms women won the NECC title last weekend.

Men's Meets to Watch
  • Centennial, Gettysburg, PA (#5 Johns Hopkins, #23 Haverford, #31 Dickinson)
  • NESCAC, Williamstown, MA (#2 Williams, #18 Colby, #24 Bates)
  • Liberty, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (#15 RPI, #26 St. Lawrence, #27 Ithaca)
  • MIAC, Northfield, MN (#19 St. Olaf, #29 St. Thomas, #30 Carleton)
  • SCIAC, Claremont, CA (#3 Pomona-Pitzer, #8 Claremont-M-S)
  • UAA, Pittsburgh, PA (#4 Carnegie Mellon, #7 Chicago, #9 Washington-St. Louis)
  • WIAC, Platteville, WI (#16 La Crosse, #21 Stevens Point, #34 Stout)
Women's Meets to Watch
  • Centennial, Gettysburg, PA (#1 Johns Hopkins, #5 Dickinson)
  • Liberty, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (#15 RPI, #21 Vassar, #27 RIT)
  • MIAC, Northfield, MN (#9 Carleton, #14 St. Thomas, #32 Gustavus Adolphus)
  • NESCAC, Williamstown, MA (#4 Williams, #6 Tufts, #16 Bates)
  • UAA, Pittsburgh, PA (#2 Washington-St. Louis, #7 Chicago, #24 Rochester)


Searching for talent for your athletic department? Need assistance with a departmental review or a strategic plan? Time to refresh your conference's policies and procedures? ASC is dedicated to small colleges and is committed to providing solutions for your concerns.

Contact Kurt Patberg (, Kim Fierke ( or Steve Ulrich ( to see how ASC can help your organization.

4.   Topping the Charts

The second regional rankings of the 2019 fall season were released on Wednesday. Here is who tops each region in each sport.

Field Hockey
Great Lakes: Centre (15-0)
New England East: Endicott (14-4)
New England West: Middlebury (13-1)
North Atlantic: Geneseo (15-2)
South Atlantic: TCNJ (15-0)
South: Salisbury (15-1)

Soccer (W)
Central: Washington-St. Louis (13-1-1)
East: William Smith (13-1-1)
Great Lakes: Carnegie Mellon (10-3-1)
Mid-Atlantic: Messiah (15-1-1)
New England: MIT (15-1-2)
North: St. Thomas (12-2-2)
South Atlantic: TCNJ (13-1-1)
West: Pomona-Pitzer (13-1-1)

Soccer (M)
Central: Calvin (16-1)
East: Rensselaer (13-1-2)
Great Lakes: John Carroll (13-2-2)
Mid-Atlantic: Johns Hopkins (12-2-1)
New England: Amherst (12-0-2)
North: Central (13-2-2)
South Atlantic: Washington and Lee (11-2-3)
West: Claremont-M-S (10-3-2)

Volleyball (W)
Central: St. Olaf (23-4)
Great Lakes: Calvin (20-2)
Mid Atlantic: Johns Hopkins (25-0)
Midwest: Chicago (24-1)
New England: Tufts (21-1)
New York: Stockton (26-2)
South: Emory (23-2)
West: Trinity TX (29-4)

5. Comings and Goings

6.  1 Halloween Thing

"The social contract of Halloween is simple: Provide adequate treats to costumed masses, or be prepared for late-night tricks from those dissatisfied with your offer. To help you avoid that type of vengeance, and to help you make good decisions at the supermarket today, we wanted to figure out what Halloween candy people most prefer. So we devised an experiment: Pit dozens of fun-sized candy varietals against one another, and let the wisdom of the crowd decide which one was best.
While we don’t know who exactly voted, we do know this: 8,371 different IP addresses voted on about 269,000 randomly generated matchups. So, not a scientific survey or anything, but a good sample of what candy people like. And here’s what they said:"

>> The Bottom Line: "So, in the end, the best Frankencandy has the chocolate of a Hershey bar, the nougat of a Baby Ruth, the caramel of a Milky Way, the peanut butter of a Reese’s Cup and the wafer of a Twix, and it’s assembled in a castle looming over an Eastern European village. Or if you’re trying to make this at home: Maybe take a Twix bar and smush it on a PayDay, or roll a Snickers around in rice crispies."

>> Keep Reading from FiveThirtyEight

>> The Final Word: I was promised there would be no math in this newsletter.

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