Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Final Word

JANUARY 8, 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.
>> Hump Day. So much has happened in 2020 ... and it's only January 8.

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>> Today's Word Count: 1,414.

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1. The Final Word

Daniel Libit and Luke Cyphers of The Intercollegiate write about the "silly, paranoid, stupid (and necessary) rules questions college athletic departments ask the NCAA."

An example ...
"Is a luau a meal with entertainment? Or entertainment where food is served?
This was the conundrum facing the University of Hawaii’s athletic department. A judgment was needed. And not by any of the qualified cultural anthropologists on its Honolulu-based campus, but by someone in Indianapolis. 
After all, this question was neither philosophical, nor academic, nor gastronomical. It was about recruiting. Hawaii wanted to bring some football prospects to a luau during their official visits. But, according to Bylaw (a) of the NCAA Division I Manual, member institutions are allowed to spend upwards of $75 per day “to cover all actual costs of entertaining” recruits and their family members. That spending limit, however, excludes “the cost of meals and admission to campus athletics events.”
Thus, the conundrum: what is a luau? Dinner or a show?"

>> Situational Awareness: Some 60 individuals in the NCAA’s academic and membership affairs department handle Interpretation Requests across all three college divisions. That’s in addition to their duties of processing waivers and providing other kinds of “governance support.”

>> Reality Check: As crazy-making as the NCAA rulebook actually is, its specter creates a paranoia multiplier effect that perpetually agitates a cottage industry of professional worrywarts, who are made to wrack their brains over some of humanity’s most inane and extraneous questions. But fail to do that and run the risk of losing your job.

>> Of Note
  • Bowling Green wondered whether a life coach contracted by its men’s basketball team could take a basketball player and his girlfriend out to dinner at a local restaurant “as part of one of the relationship counseling sessions.”
  • Missouri Kansas-City wanted to know if it could keep two moveable barber chairs in the teams’ locker rooms, which the school had purchased as part of an effort to elicit sponsorship deal with a local hair stylist to provide haircuts to athletic department staff athletes. 
>> Be Smart: Keep in mind: all of this supposedly represents a sanity check over the way rules compliance used to be.

>> Resolution: "As the event is both a meal and entertainment, the analysis should focus on what is the purpose of the event. For example, is the event primarily for entertainment but food is served? Or is the event primarily for a meal and entertainment will simply occur while the meal is consumed?"
>> Enjoy this read from the co-editors of The Intercollegiate

2.  More 20/20 Predictions Crystal Ball Emoji, Apple style

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.

Image result for newmac logo  Patrick Summers, Executive Director, New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)
Change, evolution and collaboration. An association-centric organization, the NCAA will have to address the changing landscape of college athletics and higher education. Founded on the principles of amateurism and student-athlete well-being, our focus needs to remain true to these values while also allowing student-athletes to benefit from similar opportunities to the regular student body. The statistics are conclusive that student-athletes are out pacing the students on campus regarding retention and grad rates. Academically, these are some of our best students. The overall success of institutions will depend on maximizing athletic programs as part of their brand and admissions strategy. We will continue to lead in areas of diversity and inclusion. The last decade was fun…more exciting times ahead.

Image result for mascac logo Angela Baumann, Commissioner, Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)
My predictions for 2020 are that the national DIII conversation will be centered around NIL (name, image and likeness) and gambling.  These topics will initiate philosophical discussions to lead the division into the future.  On a conference scale, in 2020-2021 the MASCAC will celebrate 50 years of student-athlete and member successes.

Image result for amcc logo Donna Ledwin, Commissioner, Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference
There seem to be an unusually high number of AD jobs open and more commissioner positions as well.  I suspect we will see more and more folks "aging out" on to the retirement track, signalling a changing of the guard in D3.  What I'm curious to see is if D3's efforts at cultivating diversity will bear fruit and how many of these openings will be filled by women and ethnic minorities.

Image result for hoopsville logo  Dave McHugh, dmac Productions, Host of Hoopsville
The (conference) shuffle will continue for some time to come especially in the Mid-Atlantic Region. While the Capital Athletic Conference seems to be in trouble, their situation is far from over and depending, apparently, on who you are talking with they could have a plan in sight. The upcoming NCAA Convention apparently will be a significant moment on what the future of the CAC will be. I also predict that two other conferences could lose members soon. The idea to expand to more regions (10 in basketball, 6 in football as examples) is one that needs to happen. It will help handle the size of Division III while also helping solve the numbers problems (too many or too little) that plague the current regional set-up. The trend of schools closing will continue in 2020. I could see 6-12 more schools in Division III closing their doors.

Our Take
Division III will continue to evolve as it deals with shifts in higher education. Conference alignment will chang e, as reduced resources for travel make colleges look for closer competition. Regional realignment is on the horizon, despite those who support the status quo, and will prove to be a sensible solution to the current system. As athletics plays a larger and larger role in institutional recruitment, departments will need to be even more creative in funding to accommodate more students and more programs. And the Division III membership will be challenged to find a solution to the NIL issue which will it closer to home than most realize.

3.  Wrestling Poll 

Top-Ranked Wrestlers
125-Mike Tortorice, UW-Whitewater
133-Kristian Rumph, Wartburg
141-David Flynn, Augsburg
149-Brett Kaliner, Stevens
157-Ryan Epps, Augsburg
165-Lucas Jeske, Augsburg
174-Darden Schurg, Wabash
184-Kyle Briggs, Wartburg
197-Lance Benick, Augsburg
285-Drew Kasper, Otterbein


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4.  About Last Night 

  WPI head coach Cherise Galasso will not soon forget her 350th victory, as the Crimson and Gray (8-5) handed Williams its first loss of the season, 64-58.
  Chris LaBelle set a school record with 45 points as Centenary held off Clarks Summit, 98-94, in overtime.

  Ferrum (7-6) toppled No. 19 Guilford, 68-65, in ODAC action. Four Panthers scored in double figures, led by James Smith Jr. with 13.

  Antone Walker made a pair of free throws with :05 left to lift Wesleyan (9-2) past No. 15 Amherst, 79-77.

  UW-Platteville (3-1) edged No. 21 UW-Eau Claire, 24-20, in a WIAC dual-match. Lucius Rinehart sealed the win for the Pioneers with a 7-1 victory at 285.

 New England College head coach Tom Carroll picked up his 250th career win as the Pilgrims (9-4-1) defeated Plymouth State, 7-4.

  Caty Flagg made 45 saves as UMass Boston (9-6-1) nipped No. 10 Colby, 2-1, handing the White Mules their first loss of the season.

5.  Comings and Goings

6.  1 Fun Thing 

Photo: Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The latest version of America's Keurigization: cocktails in a pod.
  • Drop in a pod filled with ingredients, slide in a glass, and less than a minute later, you'll have a martini or a Moscow mule, AP reports.
  • The Bartesian sells pods for $2.50 each, but they don't have alcohol. Instead, you fill canisters with your own liquor and the pods mix in the rest.
  • Flashback: Last year, we introduced you to Drinkworks by Keurig, which can make Cosmopolitans and fizzy drinks and costs about $4 a pod. 
Between the lines: The companies hope to target those who like to host parties but don't want to stock a bar, don't know how to make drinks, or would rather push a button then spend time putting together a mojito.

- courtesy of Axios

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