Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A Slide and a Lawsuit

NOVEMBER 13, 2019 | written by Steve Ulrich
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1.  He Told a Kid to Slide. Then He Got Sued.

"John Suk sits with shoulders slouched and his head down at the defendant’s table in Courtroom 301, a stuffy wood-paneled space inside the Somerset County judicial complex. The 31-year-old middle school teacher scribbles in a notebook as his reputation is shredded.
The plaintiff’s attorneys in Civil Docket No. L-000629-15 have spent two full days portraying the co-defendant as an inattentive and unqualified lout. He is, they argue, a villain who destroyed the future of a teenager he was supposed to protect.
The attacks intensify when Suk takes the witness stand to defend himself on a split-second decision he made seven years earlier. He is accused of taking a reckless course of action that showed a callous disregard for another person's safety.
He sounds like an awful person. Then you remember what Suk did to end up here.
He instructed a player he was coaching during a junior varsity baseball game to slide."

>> Why It Matters: If Suk is found liable for an injury that took place because of that slide — and if a seven-figure check is written because of his actions — what will happen to high school sports? Who will sign up for these coaching jobs knowing their reputation and livelihood might be in jeopardy? And how long before school districts drop sports entirely rather than pay skyrocketing insurance premiums?

>> The Big Picture: Still, injuries happen. That is at the cold reality of sports. Did the coach sitting with his head down at the defense table really ruin this kid’s life?

>> Reality Check: Suk was 23, still not a year removed from FDU-Florham, was the incident occurred. He had been coaching for just a few weeks. Lauren Palladino, one of the jurors in the case, is 22 and a rising senior at Rowan and played softball in high school.

>> What They're Saying: "You have people just taking the extra $8,000 who don't know what the hell they're doing. Somebody's got to be responsible. Nobody is!" - Rob Mesar, father of the injured player.

>> The Final Word: “It’s the end of high school sports. The coaching profession would be under heavy scrutiny for everything that happens. Coaches are going to have to have insurance like doctors have for malpractice. School districts are not going to want to take the risk of having sports.” - Suk when asked what would have happened if he lost.

>> Keep Reading this incredible story from Steve Politi and

2. Trophy Games 

When longtime NCAA Division III rivals Bridgewater State and Massachusetts Maritime Academy meet on a football field this weekend in Cape Cod, the winners will hoist the coveted Scoop trophy, a replica of the wooden tool used to harvest cranberries in the early 1900s.
Four hours to the west in New York State, a pair of treasured Dutchman’s shoes will go to the winner of the Rensselaer Polytechnic-Union game, just as they have for nearly 70 years.

The trophies range from big to small, bizarre to conventional, and the stories behind them help explain why rivalry is so deeply stitched into college football, a sport celebrating its 150th season. In these games, wins come with a prize that the winning team prominently displays until the next meeting — a traveling trophy.

For those trophy games, there’s nothing like stomping your rival and lifting that trophy toward the sky, no matter how strange it might look. After all, what would a matchup between Minnesota foes St. Olaf and Concordia be without the winning team posing for photos with The Troll, a folksy trophy that looks like a Viking voodoo doll and was made with actual Norwegian forest debris? 

>> Reality Check: Many trophies, like the Cranberry Bowl’s Scoop, are culturally significant in their corner of the country. The first commercial cranberry cultivation in the United States happened in southeastern Massachusetts, and a stretch of the road from Bridgewater State to Mass Maritime is called the Cranberry Highway.

>> Between The Lines: From 2006-18, Ocean Spray Cranberry Cooperative sponsored the Bridgewater State-Mass Maritime game with a value of roughly $5,000.

>> Worth Noting: Here are some of the top trophy games scheduled for this weekend.
  • Victory Bell: Franklin at Hanover (first awarded 1931)
  • Monon Bell: Wabash at DePauw (1932, 125th Game since 1890)
  • Dutchman's Shoes: RPI at #14 Union (1950)
  • Old Goal Post: #19 Susquehanna at Juniata (1953)
  • Cortaca Jug: Cortland vs. #17 Ithaca at Met Life Stadium (1959)
  • Keystone Cup: Widener at #13 Delaware Valley (1981)
  • Secretary's Cup: Merchant Marine at Coast Guard (1981)
  • Academic Bowl: #20 Case Western at Carnegie Mellon (1986)
  • Lincoln Hat: Gettysburg at Franklin & Marshall (2000)
>> Mapping the Rivalry Games
>> Read More from Sports Business Daily

3.   Leadoff Classic Teams Announced

Reigning NCAA champion Texas Lutheran and national runner-up Emory headline the 24-team field for the 2020 NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic, scheduled for March 6-8 at the Lincoln Park complex in Tucson, Ariz.

Joining Texas Lutheran and Emory at the event will be fellow NCAA Championship participants Illinois Wesleyan and St. Thomas (Minn.), plus Alma, Babson, Berry, Central, Christopher Newport, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, DePauw, East Texas Baptist, Emerson, Emory and Henry, George Fox, LeTourneau, Linfield, Mary Hardin-Baylor, Pacific Lutheran, Piedmont, St. John Fisher, Saint Benedict, Transylvania and Washington-St. Louis.

>> Be Smart: The tournament will include 20 teams that competed last season in their conference tournament, and 12 that captured conference championships. Fifteen of those squads played in last year’s NCAA tournament, with six winning regional titles. Four claimed super regional crowns and were among the eight teams that advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship at Suddenlink Field in Tyler, Texas. The 24 teams combined to win 715 games last season with a .689 winning percentage.


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

4. Polls
Field Hockey - NFHCA final regular season poll
  1. College of New Jersey (18-0)
  2. Middlebury (17-1)
  3. Salisbury (18-1)
  4. Tufts (14-4)
  5. Johns Hopkins (17-2)
  6. Franklin & Marshall (16-3)
  7. Bowdoin (14-2)
  8. Rowan (15-4)
  9. Kean (18-3)
  10. Williams (13-4)
11-15: Messiah, Centre, Chirstopher Newport, Babson, Ursinus
16-20: Lynchburg, Geneseo (tie), Vassar (tie), Bates, Endicott

>> Hello: Endicott.
>> Goodbye: Colby.

Volleyball - AVCA
  1. Emory (29-2)
  2. Chicago (26-3)
  3. Calvin (24-2)
  4. Carthage (27-3)
  5. Claremont-M-S (26-3)
  6. Johns Hopkins (29-0)
  7. Trinity, Texas (33-4)
  8. Colorado College (30-4)
  9. Berry (26-5)
  10. Hope (22-7) and Ohio Northern (26-5)
12-15: St. Thomas, Tufts, Muskingum, Saint Benedict.
16-20: Augsburg (tie), Babson (tie), Susquehanna, Juniata, Transylvania.
21-25: Johnson & Wales (Providence), Carnegie Mellon, St. Olaf, Washington-St. Louis, Wesleyan CT.

>> Hello: St. Olaf, Washington-St. Louis.
>> Outta Here: UW-Whitewater, UW-Eau Claire.

5.  Streaming Schedule   

It's the opening round of the NCAA DIII Field Hockey championship. Click on the links to watch all the action.
6.  Comings and Goings

7.  1 Fun Thing

"Sesame Street" officially turns 50 this weekend. That's 50 years of Bert and Ernie, 50 years of Oscar and Big Bird, and 50 years of expanding minds, stretching boundaries and occasionally stirring up controversy, Axios' Ina Fried writes.
>> Why it matters: As was the original intent, "Sesame Street" has played a huge role in teaching generations of kids not only how to read and count, but also about the world around them.
"The wonderful thing about Sesame Street is there are birds and monsters and people and fairies and all kinds of wonderful different kinds of people that live together and we all have a great time." — The Count


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