Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Crisis in the CAC

FEBRUARY 18, 2020 | written by STEVE ULRICH
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1.  Crisis in the CAC

Salisbury University's Connor Reeves on the mound against Penn State Harrisburg during the CAC Conference Championships on Friday, May 11, 2018 at Salisbury University.
by Richard Pollitt, Salisbury Daily Times

"There’s a framed picture that sits on the desk of Salisbury University athletic director Gerry DiBartolo.

On one side of the picture is Sammy the Sea Gull, Salisbury’s well-known mascot. On the other, the logo for the Capital Athletic Conference, the association SU has been a member of since 1993.

The two are bridged by a broken heart, symbolizing the recent collapse of the CAC.

Since February 2018, seven of the 10 teams have announced pending departures or left the Capital Athletic Conference.

Though Salisbury is still a member of the conference, it will be just one of three — along with Christopher Newport University and the University of Mary Washington — when the 2021-22 academic year begins should the current situation remain the same.

The loss of multiple programs presents several obstacles to those remaining, including the possibility of losing an automatic qualifier into the NCAA tournament, inability to recruit and scheduling conflicts."

>> Situational Awareness: Formed in 1989, the Capital Athletic Conference has housed programs from Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. “It had publics, it had privates,” DeBartolo said. “It had small schools and what we consider large schools for Division III. It had faith-based institutions, it had non faith-based institutions. The CAC was a unique conference, and we thought it was great.”

>> Context: “It took me a while to understand the climate of Division III,” said Jeff Ligney, Capital Athletic Conference commissioner. “The pitch I’ve always made is we can offer some of the best experiences student-athletes can have at this level. These teams are so competitive, and playing against good competition is only going to help you.”

>> Reality Check: “Clearly things can’t stay the way they are,” Christopher Newport athletic director Kyle McMullin said. “We have to make some progress and get this back to a more suitable and stable situation. We have to give student-athletes the chance to be successful on a national level.”

>> What's Next: Ligney said a plan has been set in place to keep the conference intact, noting an announcement should be made in the near future discussing the CAC's path forward.  “We have good institutions that care and athletic directors that are very good at what they do,” he said. “We have some great things to offer, so I’ve always been confident we’ll find a solution.

>> Be Smart: CNU (23), Salisbury (29) and Mary Washington (52) are among the top performing institutions in the Learfield Directors' Cup fall standings. The Mid-Atlantic has seen major conference shakeups in the last decade and there is no reason to believe that will change anytime soon.

>> Keep Reading ($)

2.  Fearless on the Field, Scared of the Future

Image result for evan hansen wabash
by Michael Powell, New York Times
"He was swift and fierce and saw the football field with the eyes of a bird of prey. If the opposing offense ran a pitch out, Evan Hansen would pull the runner to earth in the backfield. If the quarterback grew desperate and fell back to pass, well, God help him. Evan — quick, spinning, a dervish of a linebacker — would drill him.

He was a gregarious teammate, as at ease comforting a nervous freshman as he was talking with coaches and parents, which explained why he was voted team captain on a nationally ranked NCAA Division III team. A 21-year-old senior at Wabash College, he had a ticket to France to see his girlfriend at Christmas break, his future pregnant with possibility.

And just after senior day in September 2018, Evan Hansen walked into the woods and shot himself."

>> Situational Awareness: Many months later, the scientists at Boston University who examined his brain after he died told his parents, Chuck and Mary Hansen, what the couple had suspected from the moment they lost their son: The folds of Evan’s brain and top of his spinal column were speckled with the plaque Tau. This young man had developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative and incurable disease linked to repeated hits to the head and found in the brains of so many deceased football players.

>> Why It Matters: Hansen's parents spoke of their son in tenses that alternated between present and past. They have decided to speak publicly about his brain injuries and his struggles with depression. With their words, they hope to lead other parents to an understanding of CTE and to a more cautious relationship with tackle football.

>> What They're Saying: “This is the promise I made to Evan a few days after,” his father, Chuck, said. “I told him: ‘I’m not mad at you. I know you were in a lot of pain, and we’re going to find out what the heck happened, and hopefully we’ll save some other young men.’ ”

>> Continue Reading

3.  Hardin-Simmons Cuts Programs

courtesy of Inside Higher Ed.com 

Hardin-Simmons University said on Friday it was cutting 22 academic programs -- eliminating 17 faculty and 14 staff positions -- building on a previous round of program closures and layoffs, the television stations KTAB and KRBC reported. President Eric Bruntmyer said the Christian institution is cutting a doctor of ministry program, as well as several master’s programs in education, music or religion-related fields, and undergraduate programs focused on banking and financial services, nonprofit management, public administration, music theory and composition, and physical education. In addition, the university is eliminating several minors and two teacher certification programs.
Bruntmyer said the cuts were made due to financial difficulties, to help close a $4 million deficit.


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    4.   Men's Poll

    • On The Move: Springfield (+5), Yeshiva (+4)
    • Hello: WPI, UW-La Crosse, Brockport.
    • Sharp Shooters: Yeshiva leads the country at 53.3 percent shooting from the floor. Nebraska Wesleyan (52.9) and St. Joseph's Conn. (51.6) are 2-3.

    >> What We're Watching (TUE-WED): Wisconsin Lutheran at Benedictine (TUE); Whitworth at Whitman (TUE); #1 Swarthmore at Haverford; #5 Wittenberg at Wabash; #7 UW-Platteville at UW-Eau Claire; #15 Springfield at #21 WPI; La Roche at Pitt-Greensburg; Hanover at Transylvania; Drew at Scranton; Springfield at WPI; Northwestern at UW-Superior.

    5.   Women's Poll

    • On The Move: Austin (+4), Chicago (+3), DeSales (+3).
    • Welcome: Trine, Messiah.
    • Charity Stripe: Three teams are shooting better than 78 percent from the free throw line this season - Austin (78.7), Baldwin Wallace (78.5) and Brandeis (78.3). 
    >> What We're Watching (TUE-WED): Maine Maritime at Husson (TUE); New England College at Eastern Nazarene (TUE); #8 Wartburg at #10 Loras; #9 Transylvania at Hanover; #14 Augsburg at #11 Bethel; Springfield at Babson.

    6.   Hockey Poll

    • On the Move: Adrian (+2)
    • Hello: UW-River Falls.
    • Power Play Prowess: Babson leads the nation with a 35.6 success rate on the power play. Elmira (34.7) is second, followed by Geneseo (31.4).
    • No Movement: The top-10 women's teams remained the same.
    • A Helping Hand: Three players have dished out more than 1.00 assists per game, led by Endicott's Jade Meier (1.04). Norwich's Samantha Benoit and Morrisville State's Maddison Devlin average 1.00 per outing.

    7.  Comings and Goings

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