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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Lax, Track On The Rise

D3Playbook
JANUARY 7, 2020 | written by STEVE ULRICH
your must-read briefing on what's driving the day in NCAA Division III

Our goal is to keep you - the influencers in DIII athletics - apprised of what's happening around Division III - the games, polls, news, happenings, awards, calendar of events, and much more. We hope you enjoy d3Playbook and that you'll share this with your friends, colleagues and co-workers.
 

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1.  Lax, Track On The Rise
 
Reproduced from NCAA Research; Chart: Axios Visuals

Over the past decade, the NCAA men's and women's sports with the largest net gains in participating teams (across all divisions) are lacrosse and track and field, per NCAA data.
  • The other side: Gymnastics, rifle and skiing all saw a decline in both men's and women's programs, while tennis, fencing, water polo and women's rowing (men's rowing isn't sanctioned by the NCAA) saw virtually no increase.
Further reading:
  • Football in, football out: "Officials at tiny Anna Maria College say starting a football program was one of their best decisions. At Northeastern, it has been good riddance." (NYT)
  • HS sports falling: Participation in high school sports dropped in 2018-19 for the first time in 30 years. (Axios)
  • Girls' wrestling rising: High school girls wrestling is on the upswing, and an NCAA committee recently recommended that it be labeled an "emerging sport," the last step before a sport becomes official at the college level. (WSJ)

 
2.  20/20 Predictions for 2020

We asked Division III leaders to give their predictions for 2020 and share the stories they’ll be most interested in following this year. Here’s what they said.

  Gregg Kaye, Commissioner, Commonwealth Coast Conference
I expect Division III to have increased conversation and programming at the national and conference levels to increase the number of women in head coaching positions.  As a division, we have made great strides in ensuring leadership opportunities to women as conference  commissioners and athletic directors, but our head coaching numbers – of both women’s teams and men’s teams – are not where they should be.  I also expect to see institutions commit to increasing sponsorship in sports that are enjoying growth at the youth and high school levels. Women’s lacrosse, women’s ice hockey, women’s and men’s rugby, men’s volleyball and women’s wrestling and competitive spirit sports are just some of the sports I envision near-term and long-term growth at Division III institutions.

  Jason Fein, Director of Athletics, Bates College
I think that we will continue to need to look at what we are doing to help student-athletes balance their responsibilities when it comes to the increasing pressures they feel and the increased focus on mental health. The pressure that students are feeling is greater than ever, and technology and the increasing amount of time spent online and on social media only adds to the list. We need to be smart around mental health and nutritional programming as well as working across our campuses to engage students where they are, so that we can get the best feedback that allows us to help them. We need to also educate and in some cases, re-educate our coaches and staff.  Doing things the way we always have simply won't cut it in the year 2020. As administrators we need to get more creative and rely on each other for assistance in creating new best practices that serve today's student-athletes well.  We will also need to work together as a division (III) and association-wide to continue to refine our legislation to best serve our population.

  Jennifer Dubow, Executive Director, Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
While I'm not sure what the end product will be, 2020 should be very active in state and federal legislatures with regards to NIL and sports wagering. The impact on the NCAA and Division III specifically is still unknown but I expect to see changes with NCAA bylaws regarding NIL that hopefully meet what state and federal legislators have attempted to achieve recently with state bills. The changes in sport wagering laws continue to require more education on campuses and if institutions are being honest I think the number of student-athletes participating in some form of wagering as it becomes more accessible is quite high.

 Keri Alexander Luchowski, Executive Director, North Coast Athletic Conference
In coming years, we will see a greater emphasis on athletics, for a wide variety of reasons (enrollment, diversification of student populations, health & safety concerns, risk and liability concerns). As a result, we will see a variety of new sports and competitive activities emerge (e-sports) and less participation in the more traditional sports (football). For the same reasons, we will see an increased interest in institutions dropping from Division I and II into Division III. I also believe we will see more larger conferences come together as more individual institutions struggle.

Image result for d3sports.com logo"  Pat Coleman, Executive Editor, D3sports.com
After a year in which two at-large teams met for the Division III football championship, we won't make any effort to free up at-large bids, but will focus on an unnecessary regional realignment. Meanwhile, the cost of attending a Division III championship will continue to rise now that Salem, Virginia, is not in the mix as much as it used to be.

 
3.  Calendar 

January 21-22: SAAC meetings, Anaheim, Calif.
January 22: Management Council meeting, Anaheim
January 23: Presidents Council meeting, Anaheim
January 23-25: NCAA Convention, Anaheim
February 4-5: Championships Committee meeting, Indianapolis
February 10-11: Financial Aid Committee meeting, Indianapolis
February 18-19: Membership Committee meeting, Indianapolis
February 19: Nominating Committee meeting, Indianapolis
February 20-21: Interpretations and Legislative Committee meeting, Indianapolis



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    4. Unbeaten   

    Who are the remaining teams with undefeated records?

    WBB (8)
    Albright (13-0), Austin (11-0), Bethel (11-0), Bowdoin (11-0), Hope (13-0), Smith (12-0), Tufts (11-0), Williams (11-0).

    MBB (6)
    Colby (11-0), Middlebury (12-0), Randolph-Macon (12-0), St. Thomas TX (12-0), Swarthmore (11-0), Wittenberg (11-0).

    WIH (2)
    Colby (7-0-1), Middlebury (5-0-2).

     

    5.   Men's Poll





     
    6.   Women's Poll



     
    7.   Hockey Poll



     

    8.  Comings and Goings

     


     
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