Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Nothing Matters More Than September

D3Playbook
MARCH 31, 2020 | written by STEVE ULRICH
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1.  Nothing Matters More Than September


by Paul LeBlanc, president, Southern New Hampshire University

"Residential colleges and universities are scrambling to finish the academic year online, fretting over next fall’s enrollment, and struggling with cash flow challenges. What terrifies so many higher education leaders is a scenario in which the coronavirus persists into late summer and campuses are not permitted to reopen next fall. If the Class of 2024 is forced to start its college career from home and an online, the impact will be cataclysmic.

In that scenario, institutions may offer to start first year students with online delivery, but there is little reason to believe that students will pay regular tuition for an online education. Not because well done online education is not of high quality, though what many of them are experiencing now falls well short of that standard given the hasty shift to online for many institutions. Students won’t pay regular tuition if they are not getting the coming of age campus experience that is what they value most about going away to college."

>> Why It Matters: Students pay for the experience - athletics, student organizations, study abroad and more. They are also willing to pay for the brand name and the value-added network of fellow alumni. Are they as willing to pay for an "online" experience?

>> What's Next: "For many colleges, there are two large infusions of cash revenue each year.  When students pay for the fall semester and then again for the spring semester. Cash flow gets very tight in the weeks before those tuition checks start coming in and less wealthy colleges often dip into a line of credit to carry them through. If they are denied normal tuition revenue this fall, as well as room and board revenue (room and board revenue often spells the difference between a deficit and a surplus for many institutions), they will be in crisis mode."

>> Reality Check: If campuses are not open in September, expect program cuts, layoffs, halted capital projects, and then the closure of many institutions.

>> Between The Lines: "The fallout will be worse for non-selective private institutions, the industry’s most vulnerable sector. Public institutions are harder to kill, but many have already struggled with massive budget cutbacks."

>> A Must-Read

2.  An Open Letter to Students

From the members of the NCAA Divisions I, II and III Student-Athlete Advisory Committees.



"We are living in an uncertain and emotional time. Thousands of student-athletes feel heartbroken, sad, angry, confused and many more emotions. Everyone is experiencing unforeseen challenges and trying to navigate uncharted territory while facing major, life-changing and imperative sacrifices. While the cancellation of a senior season or a year of eligibility is monumental, as student-athletes, we are doing our part to be responsible citizens in the setting of a widespread COVID-19 outbreak in the United States and throughout the world.

This is not about sports."

>> Listen or Read the Complete Letter


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3.  Double The Fun

1949-50 MBB National Champions
courtesy of CCNY Athletics

In 1949-50, the City College of New York men's basketball program accomplished something that had never been done before or since.  The Beavers won both the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and NCAA Tournament.  Saturday, March 28, marked the 70th anniversary of CCNY's historic achievement.

After going 14-5 during the regular season, the Beavers were among the 12 teams selected to participate in the NIT, which took place entirely at Madison Square Garden—CCNY's home floor.  In the opening round, Head Coach Nat Holman's squad was drawn against the defending NIT champions from the University of San Francisco.  CCNY won that game, 65-46, to advance to the quarterfinals, where it would face the University of Kentucky, which had captured the last two NCAA titles (and would win the National Championship again in 1951) and entered the game ranked third in the country.

The Beavers dominated the Wildcats from start to finish, earning an 89-50 victory.  It was the biggest loss in the 41-year career of legendary Kentucky Head Coach Adolph Rupp.  CCNY then defeated No. 6 Duquesne 62-52 in the semifinals to set up a matchup with top-ranked Bradley for the championship.  The Beavers knocked off the Braves, 69-61, to claim the NIT title.

On the strength of that triumph, CCNY was awarded the last spot in the NCAA Tournament, which was only an eight-team event at the time.  The Beavers would once again play all of their games at Madison Square Garden, starting with a quarterfinal showdown against No. 2 Ohio State.

It would turn out to be the closest game CCNY played during its historic run.  Floyd Layne scored 17 points and Norm Mager added 15, as the Beavers held on for a one-point victory, 56-55.

Two days later, CCNY faced fifth-ranked North Carolina State in the East Regional Final. Led by Head Coach Everett Case, the Wolfpack had gone 26-5 en route to their fourth consecutive Southern Conference championship.  NC State proved to be no match for the Beavers, though. Ed Roman poured in 21 points to lead CCNY past the Wolfpack, 78-73, and set up a rematch with Bradley for the NCAA Championship.

Ten days after beating the Braves in the NIT final, the Beavers did it again.  And this time, it made them the National Champions. Irwin Dambrot was named NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player after leading CCNY with 15 points in the 71-68 triumph.

With the victory, the Beavers became the first team ever to win both tournaments in the same season.  Such a double is no longer possible under current NCAA rules, which means CCNY will remain the only team in history ever to accomplish the feat.

    4.  Comings and Goings


    5. 1 Puzzle Thing


    photo courtesy of Getty Images

    "America Falls to Pieces Over Shortage of Jigsaw Puzzles," reports a Wall Street Journal A-hed by Michael M. Phillips (subscription):
    • "Demand rises as pandemic keeps millions at home, but getting them isn't easy."
    • Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt says: "Customers with time on their hands are looking for fatter books and more-complicated puzzles."
    "Of the top 10 items that shoppers searched for on Amazon.com last Tuesday, nine were antivirus cleaning supplies or personal-hygiene products (read: toilet paper). No. 7 was 'puzzles for adults.'"
    • "More people were hunting desperately for jigsaw puzzles that day than Clorox wipes."

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