Monday, November 25, 2019

Biggest Party in College Basketball

NOVEMBER 25, 2019 | written by Steve Ulrich
your must-read briefing on what's driving the day in NCAA Division III

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1.  Biggest Party in College Basketball

“What’s going to happen is something you can never expect. When we say we’re the biggest party in college basketball, we back it up. From the front row to the second row to the third row to the last row.”
Caleb Duarte is not wrong. Few in-game experiences compare to a Grand Canyon University game.
Basketball games are awesome at Duke and Kansas and Kentucky and Indiana, where fandom has been baked in for decades and tradition guides the experience. But at many Power 5 schools — where they have the budget and the staff to make games more fun for the students and for the people to whom they’d like to sell more tickets — the games can be dull as dirt. And then the AD and the coach wonder why they can’t sell out the arena.
GCU, which played in the NAIA until the 1990s and didn’t become an active member of Division I until 2017, has proven that a school doesn’t need a perennial NCAA Tournament team to throw a hell of a party around a basketball game. So listen up, Power 5 (or Division III) athletic departments. If your basketball games are boring, it’s your fault. GCU created the ultimate hoops party from thin air, and if you take some notes, you probably could too."
>> How It Began: Instead of siloing marketing decisions in the marketing department and cheer decisions with the cheer coach and game management decisions with the external operations team, everyone got a voice, from university president Brian Mueller to the students attending the games. Mueller says the students themselves invented the Havocs (GCU's student section). A group came to him during the Division II-to-Division I transition and asked to create a student section. So he empowered them to make one.

>> Why It Matters: Now more than 100 people apply each year for 10 Havoc leader positions, and the two Havoc presidents are involved in nearly every major game management decision. Students help choose the music that plays before games and during timeouts. They design the gear that each member of the Havocs pays for as part of the membership fee. (Slots filled up in three minutes before this season.) They help design contests like the second-half crowd-surfing race during which students in each section pass a fan from the bottom row to the top row. The first fan to cross the finish line wins for his or her entire section.

>> The Bottom Line: Mueller considers the basketball atmosphere a priority because it creates a deep connection between the students and the school. It doesn’t matter who the Lopes are playing. It doesn’t even matter if the Lopes are good. Students pack their side of the arena every game because each game is the social event of the season. They know they’re going to sing. They know they’re going to dance. And in 10 to 20 years, who will be the people most likely to respond by writing checks when that development office calls? The ones who love their school more because they had a blast during their time there. “I think we’ll have a very loyal alumni base,” Mueller says.

>> Be Smart: None of these ideas are copyrighted. Any school in America can do it. So if you’ve got boring basketball games, start taking some of these ideas. Your students, your players and your fans will love you for it.

>> Definitely worth your time from Andy Staples at The Athletic ($)

2. Ursinus Swimming Cancels Season
"On Friday afternoon, Ursinus College announced the men's and women's swimming teams had committed violations of the college's anti-hazing policy and student code of conduct. The incident involved alcohol and underage drinking and, after the conclusion of a thorough investigation that began in early September, the college has cancelled the remainder of the 2019-2020 swimming season.
While the decision to cancel the season was difficult, the safety and well-being of every student at Ursinus are our greatest priorities. Ursinus College does not tolerate hazing or any action that is antithetical to our values and our mission. To those who may have been personally affected by this event, we understand that this has been a difficult experience for you. We remain dedicated to your well-being, as we are for every student, and thank you for placing your trust in us.  

Coach Mark Feinberg supports and agrees with this decision and, as coach and mentor, assumes a share of responsibility for the actions of both the men's and women's teams. He is now placed on probation and will work on addressing specific action items and strengthening his teams' culture moving forward.

>> Read the Entire Release


3.  Perfection   

For the third time in Division III history, a team has run the table - winning every match it played during the season - and winning the championship.

Johns Hopkins (35-0) defeated defending national champion Emory (33-3), 25-23, 25-22, 25-18, to win its first-ever NCAA volleyball crown. The Blue Jays join Washington-St. Louis (40-0, 1992) and Central (41-0, 1999) in the elite club. 
  • Simone Bliss was named the Most Outstanding Player of the championship, recording 21 kills in the final. 
4.  Cross Country  
Pomona-Pitzer captured its first-ever NCAA Division III men's cross country championship, toppling pre-meet favorites North Central and Williams with 164 points. Ethan Widlansky led the Sagehens with a seventh-place finish, while Dante Paszkeicz also earned All-America honors in 16th place.
  • Stevenson senior Patrick Watson was the individual champion, covering the 8K course in 24:13.9.

>> Pomona-Pitzer release
>> Men's Results

Johns Hopkins returned to the top of the podium for the sixth time since 2012 with a 13-point victory over Washington-St. Louis. Samantha Levy led the Blue Jays with a 17th place finish, while Rebecca Grusby (21st) and Ariel Keklak (23rd also received All-America recognition.
  • Ithaca sophomore Parley Hannan was the individual champion, traversing the 6K course in 20:53.8.

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.

5. Panther Three-Peat    

Middlebury (21-1) claimed its third-straight NCAA Championship on Sunday with a 1-0 win No. 6 Franklin & Marshall (20-4) in Manheim, Pa. at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex. The Panthers become just the second program in NCAA Division III field hockey history to win three straight NCAA Championships (Salisbury 2003-05). The title is the program's fourth in the last five years and fifth overall (1998, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019). The national championship is the 38th in team sports for Middlebury College since 1994.
  • Middlebury junior Erin Nicholas was recognized as the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Her sister, Michaela, is a senior for Franklin & Marshall.

>> Middlebury Release
>> Championship Game Highlights
>> Full replay courtesy of

5.  Soccer 

Round of 16
#4 Amherst d. Rowan, 2-0; #14 Rensselaer d. Messiah, 3-2 (OT)
#21 Centre d. #20 Claremont-M-S, 4-2; Montclair State d. #5 Kenyon, 2-1 (OT)
#17 Connecticut College d. Swarthmore, 1-0 (OT); #2 Tufts d. #11 Washington and Lee, 2-1 (OT)
Luther tied Ohio Wesleyan, 0-0 (advanced on PKs); #1 Calvin d. #25 North Park, 1-0

#4 Amherst d. #14 Rensselaer, 3-1
#21 Centre d. Montclair State, 3-2 (OT)
#2 Tufts d. #17 Connecticut College, 3-1
#1 Calvin d. Luther, 3-0
  • Centre scored with 50 seconds remaining in regulation and five minutes into overtime to reach the Final Four for the first time. Zach Lane scored twice to send Tufts, the defending national champs, onto the semifinal. Amherst outshot RPI, 31-12, on its way to its fourth Final Four appearance. Hunter Olson had a goal and two assists in Calvin's quarterfinal win.

Semifinals (Greensboro, NC - December 6)
#4 Amherst vs. #21 Centre, 5:00
#2 Tufts vs. #1 Calvin, 7:45

Round of 16

#1 Messiah d. #21 Trinity TX, 2-0; Williams d. #17 Tufts, 2-1
#22 St. Thomas MN tied #7 Wheaton IL, 2-2 (advanced on PKs 4-2); Carnegie Mellon d. #23 Ohio Northern, 3-0
#3 Washington-St. Louis d. Claremont-M-S, 2-1 (OT); #8 Pomona-Pitzer d. #12 Chicago, 1-0 (OT)
#2 William Smith d. #18 Stevens, 3-2; #9 Johns Hopkins d. #15 Dickinson, 2-0

#1 Messiah tied Williams, 2-2 (advanced on PKs 3-2)
Carnegie Mellon tied #22 St. Thomas, 0-0 (advanced on PKs 6-5)
#8 Pomona-Pitzer tied #3 Washington U., 0-0 (advanced on PKs 5-4)
#2 William Smith d. #9 Johns Hopkins, 2-0
  • Messiah scored twice in a 1:57 span of the second half to force OT and PKs. Sheila McQuillen had a goal and an assist in William Smith's victory. Pomona-Pitzer advanced to the Final Four for the first time in program history with its 20th shutout of the season. Carolyn Botz made the save on the final PK shot to lift Carnegie Mellon into the Final Four.

Semifinals (December 6 - Greensboro, NC)
#1 Messiah vs. Carnegie Mellon, 11:00
#8 Pomona-Pitzer vs. #2 William Smith, 1:45

(#) ranking
6.  Football 

#2 Mary Hardin-Baylor d. #17 Redlands, 43-14; Huntingdon d. #23 Berry, 27-24
#7 UW-Whitewater d. Monmouth, 35-10; #22 Wartburg d. Hope, 41-3

#3 Wheaton d. Martin Luther, 51-7; #24 Central d. #18 UW-Oshkosh, 38-37 (OT)
#12 Chapman d. #20 Linfield, 68-65 (3OT); #8 Saint John's d. Aurora, 51-47

#6 Salisbury d. SUNY Maritime, 83-0; #13 Union d. Case Western, 24-21
#4 Muhlenberg d. MIT, 38-0; Brockport d. W. New England, 33-28

#1 Mount Union d. Hanover, 65-21; #5 North Central d. Wabash, 51-15
#10 Wesley d. Framingham State, 58-21; #9 Delaware Valley d. #21 Bridgewater, 30-22

>> Notable: Chapman and Linfield combined for 1,124 yards of total offense in their three-overtime classic. Central rallied from a 31-7 deficit to down Oshkosh. Salisbury's shutout of Maritime was the largest in D3 playoff history. Huntingdon snapped Berry's 22-game home win streak.

7. Weekend Review

Ice Hockey (M) - USCHO
  1. Norwich (d. Babson, 2-0; d. Mass-Boston, 5-3)
  2. Geneseo (lost at Buffalo State, 4-2; d. Fredonia, 5-2)
  3. UW-Stevens Point (tied at UW-River Falls, 5-5; lost at UW-Superior, 4-2)
  4. Hobart (d. #6 Oswego, 4-1; d. Potsdam, 2-1)
  5. UW-Eau Claire (d. UW-Superior, 3-2; d. UW-Stout, 4-1)
  6. Oswego (lost at #4 Hobart, 4-1)
  7. Augsburg (d. Gustavus, 3-1; lost vs. Gustavus, 2-1)
  8. Trinity (d. Amherst, 2-1; d. Hamilton, 2-1)
  9. Adrian
  10. Utica (tied Lebanon Valley, 1-1; lost vs. Elmira, 4-2)
Ice Hockey (W) - USCHO
  1. Plattsburgh
  2. Adrian (d. Trine, 3-0 and 3-1)
  3. Elmira (lost at Nazareth, 3-1; d. Utica, 7-0)
  4. UW-River Falls (lost vs. #6 UW-Eau Claire, 3-1)
  5. Norwich (d. Salem State, 10-0; d. Plymouth State, 6-0)
  6. Gustavus Adolphus (d. Augsburg, 4-2 and 1-0)
  7. UW-Eau Claire (d. #4 UW-River Falls, 3-1)
  8. Middlebury (tied Amherst, 1-1; d. Amherst, 2-0)
  9. Hamline (d. St. Olaf, 6-0 and 5-1)
  10. St. Thomas (d. Bethel, 5-0 and 2-1)

Basketball (M) (preseason)
  1. Swarthmore (d. Stockton, 84-54)
  2. UW-Oshkosh (lost vs. Elmhurst, 97-92)
  3. North Central 
  4. Amherst (d. Elmira, 89-33, d. Fitchburg, 84-62)
  5. Wittenberg (d. Mount St. Joseph, 92-58)
  6. Emory (d. Oglethorpe, 84-60)
  7. Washington-St. Louis (d. Coe, 93-79; d. UW-Eau Claire, 56-55)
  8. Nebraska Wesleyan (lost vs. #15 St. Thomas MN, 82-63; d. Chicago, 81-79)
  9. Christopher Newport (d. Randolph, 66-58; d. Lynchburg, 79-77)
  10. Nichols (d. Worcester State, 89-53)
Basketball (W)
  1. Amherst (d. #22 Ithaca, 60-49)
  2. Tufts (d. Brandeis, 81-77)
  3. Scranton (d. King's, 77-69; d. Wilkes, 78-42)
  4. Wartburg (d. Westminster MO, 91-66)
  5. Bowdoin (d. Colby-Sawyer, 80-35; d. Bridgewater State, 85-73)
  6. Hope (d. Case Western, 80-43; d. Mount Union, 82-48)
  7. Mary Hardin-Baylor (d. St. Thomas TX, 85-77 OT)
  8. George Fox  (d. Chapman, 64-48; d. Cal Lutheran, 80-60)
  9. St. Thomas (d. St. Catherine, 58-41)
  10. DePauw (d. #17 UW-Oshkosh, 60-55; lost at Wisconsin Lutheran, 70-63)
Swimming (M) - CSCAA
  1. Kenyon (2nd of 8 at West Virginia Invitational)
  2. Denison
  3. Johns Hopkins (d. #7 NYU, 141-121)
  4. Emory
  5. Washington-St. Louis (1st of 4 at Illinois Wesleyan Invitational)
  6. MIT (d. WPI, 238-60; d. Bowdoin, 231-62)
  7. NYU (lost vs. #3 Johns Hopkins, 141-121)
  8. Chicago (1st of 10 at Chicago Fall Classic)
  9. Carnegie Mellon (4th of 8 at West Virginia Invitational)
  10. Pomona-Pitzer
Swimming (W) - CSCAA
  1. Johns Hopkins (d. #7 NYU, 176-86)
  2. Denison
  3. Emory
  4. Kenyon (4th of 10 at West Virginia Invitational)
  5. Williams (d. Union, 208-58)
  6. Washington U. (1st of 4 at Illinois Wesleyan Invitational)
  7. NYU (lost vs. #1 Johns Hopkins, 176-86)
  8. Chicago (1st of 10 at Chicago Fall Classic)
  9. Tufts (d. Brandeis, 252-44)
  10. Carnegie Mellon (6th of 10 at West Virginia Invitational)
Wrestling NWCA
  1. Wabash (at Concordia WI Open)
  2. Loras (at Coe Invite; Concordia WI Open)
  3. Wartburg (at Augsburg Invitational; Concordia WI Open)
  4. Mount Union
  5. Augsburg (Augsburg Invitational)
  6. (t) UW-Whitewater (at Concordia WI Open)
  7. (t) UW-La Crosse (at Augsburg Invitational)
  8. Stevens (lost vs. Castleton, 26-23; d. Roger Williams, 37-12; d. WPI, 33-12)
  9. (t) Baldwin Wallace (2nd of 11 at BW Invitational)
  10. (t) Coe (Coe Invite)
8.  Comings and Goings

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