Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Not Our Call

MAY 13, 2020 | written by STEVE ULRICH
your must-read briefing on what's driving the day in NCAA Division III
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1.  Not Our Call

NCAA name, image, likeness group could change everything - Sports ...
by Heather Dinich, ESPN

"The NCAA won't mandate or oversee a uniform return to college sports, NCAA president Mark Emmert said Tuesday, leaving decisions on start dates with state officials and university presidents.

College athletics came to a halt in mid-March, when the NCAA cancelled the men's and women's basketball tournaments, along with all remaining winter and spring championships because of the evolving threat of the coronavirus pandemic. There is still no timetable for a return, and Emmert said it's not the NCAA's role to determine one in this instance.

  • "Normally there's an agreed upon start date for every sport, every season," Emmert told ESPN, "but under these circumstances, now that's all been derailed by the pandemic. It won't be the conferences that can do that, either. It will be the local and state health officials that say whether or not you can open and play football with fans."

>> Situational Awareness: "Earlier Tuesday, several Pac-12 football coaches expressed support for an NCAA-mandated uniform start to the season while on a video conference call with reporters. This followed Penn State coach James Franklin's comments last week that it would be helpful for the NCAA to give some national guidelines in addition to what each state and university determines."

>> Reality Check: "Local campuses have to decide are we opening up and are we bringing students back to play sports," said Emmert. The NCAA doesn't mandate that, nor should it. The schools themselves have to make those choices."

>> Continue Reading

2.  The Virus as the Cure

by Joe Nocera, Bloomberg News

"This is not going to be the most politic sentence I’ve written, but here goes: The coronavirus pandemic could be the best thing that’s ever happened to college athletics.

As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” In the case of college sports, the lack of funds could force the college athletic establishment to take measures it should have taken at least two decades ago. The scenario I outline below may not necessarily happen. In a sane world, it should.

Athletic directors will tell you that the last thing they want to do is cut teams, but the pandemic is going to give them no choice, no matter what the NCAA says. Take the University of Akron. It currently fields 19 teams, but in a recent video, university president Gary Miller announced that the school had a $65 million budget gap that he hoped to close by eliminating six of its 11 colleges and making deep, as yet unannounced, cuts in athletics. The chance that Miller can preserve 16 of its 19 teams while eliminating more than half the academic colleges is zero.

>> Why It Matters: "As schools make the inevitable deep cuts in vital academic programs, they will also have to make similar cuts in its — let’s face it — less vital athletic programs; otherwise, students and professors alike will revolt. And the idea that the NCAA is going to be the arbiter of which schools can drop below 16 teams and which can’t is ludicrous."

>> The Bottom Line: "Here is the most important potential change: The little guys will stop chasing the big guys, a hopeless race in any case."

>> Go Deeper

3.  Committee Makes COVID Decisions

The Division III Administrative Committee on Thursday approved a recommendation from the Division III Championships Committee to cancel championships banquets and move all sport committee meetings to digital platforms for the 2020-21 academic year.

The Championships Committee examined potential budget cuts at the request of the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee in response to the budget shortfall caused by the cancellation of the remaining 2019-20 winter and spring championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in an effort to meet the division’s mandated reserve policy (50% of the annual revenue) through the end of the current CBS/Turner contract (2023-24).

>> The Bottom Line: By canceling the banquets for the upcoming academic year and moving all sport committee annual meetings to a virtual format, the Championships Committee is projecting a total savings of $440,000.

>> What's Next: The Administrative Committee also heard from the Championships Committee regarding other potential reductions in the division’s “supplemental spend,” which are championships expenses that are not part of the base budget, in the areas of ground transportation and a pilot program to avoid preliminary-round conference matchups.

>> Keep Reading

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4. Fall Plans

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, here’s an alphabetical list of Division III colleges that have either disclosed their plans, mentioned them in news reports, or set a deadline for deciding.
  • Adrian - planning to reopen campus for fall
  • Bethel - planning for in-person
  • Concordia (Chicago) - plans to return to campus, with hybrid option available
  • George Fox - plans to open campus in the fall
  • Grove City - planning for in-person
  • Redlands - planning a range of options, and expects an update by mid-June
  • Swarthmore - anticipates being able to share plans by June 1
  • Transylvania - will announce fall plans in early june
  • Washington College - intends to return to in-person classes on August 31
  • Wellesley - will announce fall plans by July 1
  • Western New England - planning for in-person
  • Wittenberg - planning for in-person

as of May 12, 4:58 p.m. EDT

5.  The Return of "Free Play"

One positive from the shutdown is the reemergence of "free play," Axios Sports' Kendall Baker and Jeff Tracy write in a special report on youth sports.
  • Families are being active together, and kids are riding bikes and running more.
Why it matters: The past few months have been a return to the way kids played sports a generation or two ago (or how they do in in Norway).
  • This could ultimately help erase the notion that sports equal "organized play," and ultimately create a future where free play has a bigger role.
Go deeper ... "Special report: Coronavirus puts youth sports on pause."

- courtesy of Axios

6.  Comings and Goings

7.  1 Gender Reveal Thing 

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