Monday, August 31, 2020

College Football is Not Essential


"recognizing college student-athletes who excel both on and off the field of competition."

AUGUST 31, 2020 | written by STEVE ULRICH
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1.  College Football Is Not Essential

Hazard High COVID-19 football team outbreak now includes 38 cases |  Lexington Herald Leader
photo courtesy of Getty Images

Give it credit. The New York Times Editorial Board certainly let everyone know where it stood when it comes to playing college football this fall.

"For more than six months now, many workers deemed essential have had to strap on face masks for shifts at meatpacking plants, Walmarts, grocery stores, hardware stores and restaurants. It is a necessary sacrifice for the nation’s well-being. But at universities across the country, while scores of professors, staff and students start the academic year remotely to curb the spread of the coronavirus, another class of worker will be asked to strap on protective gear to do their job — without the face coverings: college football players.

Never has the inaccuracy of the term “student-athlete” been put in starker relief than in the misguided and dangerous attempt by the Big 12, Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference to press forward with a nearly full season of football games beginning next month —  as nonathlete classmates are sent home for their safety. For many college competitors, but for football in particular, the demands of practice and travel can exceed those of a full-time job. The players do it all, however, for no pay —  while schools, coaches, television networks and the conferences profit."

>> Why It Matters: "The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s own physicians raised concerns about the potential for the virus to spread in a contact sport like football. Putting affected players under quarantine for two weeks doesn’t account for the potential lingering effects of the virus to the heart and brain well after symptoms have abated."

>> What They're Saying: "“There aren’t absolutes; we’re working to provide a healthy environment,” said Greg Sankey, commissioner of the SEC. “There’s no group of college students that’s known more about a virus at any point in history than our college students know right now.”

>> Quotable: “The clear advice from our medical professionals made the choice obvious to us that we couldn’t hold a football season,” Larry Scott, the Pac-12 commissioner, said. “We have a responsibility to protect our players, and given what we still don’t know about the spread of the virus, we simply couldn’t play football and look parents in the eye and say, ‘We’ve got your kids’ best interests in mind.’"

>> End Game: "Canceling or suspending the college football season and other fall sports is no small decision. Billions of dollars in television and ticket sales are at stake, not to mention alumni donations, merchandise sales, athlete eligibility and even next year’s applicant pool. But it is a far more dangerous game to invite the virus’s spread among vulnerable athletes during what the Big 12 commissioner, Bob Bowlsby, called the “petri dish” of the first few months of school, while advocating for a football season."

>> Be Smart: "The governing N.C.A.A.’s mission statement states, “The educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.” What message does it send to athletes and their families that they must stay on campus if they want to play football — and bring in dollars for their school — while other students can more safely attend classes via their home computers?"

>> Worth Your Time


2.  The 40-Year-Old Catcher

Erik Kratz
photo by Carlos Osorio/AP

Hard not to root for the Yankees' Erik Kratz

A graduate of Eastern Mennonite (Va.) University, he's been a journeyman in the majors who has played for the Phillies, Pirates, Blue Jays, Royals, Astros, Brewers, Rays and Giants. He is now on his second stint with the Yankees. A career .205/.252/.354 hitter with 31 home runs and 101 RBI in 316 big league games, Kratz is valued for his work behind the plate — particularly with younger pitchers.

Twice named the ODAC Player of the Year (2001-02), he batted .507/.563/.993 as a senior with 25 doubles, one triple, 14 home runs, and 59 runs batted in (RBI), in 142 AB, and broke the NCAA Division III record for doubles in a career.

Yesterday, he was behind the plate catching 21-year-old Deivi Garcia - 19 years his junior.

And it shows why the 40-year-old catcher has remained in the bigs.


3.  Reaching for Your Dreams

On the Long Road, Committed to a Goal of Officiating in the Major Leagues -  The New York Times

Congrats to our friend, Dan Merzel, on reaching the big leagues - not as a player, but as a Major League Baseball umpire. 

Last Saturday, Merzel's dream came true as he served as umpire at 2B and 3B for the doubleheader between the Cubs and the Reds.

Merzel, a 2009 graduate of Johns Hopkins, played four years for the Blue Jays, hitting .321 in 101 games, scoring 76 runs and stealing 29 bases and earning second-team All-Centennial Conference honors as a second-sacker and winning three CC titles in four seasons. 

>> Background: Merzel graduated from Johns Hopkins in 2009 with a major in applied mathematics and statistics and a minor in entrepreneurship and management. He thought about a career in finance, perhaps becoming an actuary. Instead, he turned down a full-time offer from PricewaterhouseCoopers and decided to become an arbiter of balls and strikes and close plays on the basepaths.

>> Experience: He officiated the 2015 XM All-Star Futures Game in Cincinnati, served as home plate umpire for the 2018 Triple-A All-Star Game in Columbus, and crew chief for the 2019 Triple-A National Championship Game.

>> Quotable: "I've had a thing for officiating since I was 12. I can't tell you exactly why, but it's just always been an interest and a passion," Merzel says. Perhaps it is in his blood—Merzel's father umpires NCAA college baseball. "After I got my degree, I had some job offers, but I didn't want a desk job and I knew if I didn't pursue umpiring I would regret it years from now."

>> Go Deeper from the NY Times (5/17/14)


4. Data Download

Most-Expensive 4-Year Private Nonprofit Institutions 2019-20
  1. Harvey Mudd College - $77,589
  2. U. of Chicago - $77,556
  3. Scripps - $74,788
  4. Trinity, Conn. - $74,400
  5. Amherst - $73,950
  6. Claremont McKenna - $73,775
  7. Oberlin - $73,694
  8. Tufts - $73,664
  9. Haverford - $73,468
  10. Franklin & Marshall - $73,450


Chi Alpha Sigma is the first national scholar-athlete society to honor those collegiate student-athletes who have excelled in both the classroom and in athletic competition. Chi Alpha Sigma recognizes college student-athletes who receive a varsity letter in their sport, achieve junior academic standing or higher after their fifth full-time semester, and earn a 3.4 cumulative grade point average. Student-athletes who compete for a collegiate club team are also eligible id the club team is overseen by the athletics department at the local chapter.
Find out more at

5.  Conference Call

Today we continue our look at Division III conferences, finishing up those started in the 2000s.
North Eastern Athletic Conference - Wikipedia

Commissioner: Stephanie Dutton
Headquarters: Latham, N.Y.
  • Founded: 2004
  • Charter Members (1): Penn State Berks
  • Other Members (7): Penn State Harrisburg (2007), Wells (2007), Penn State Abington (2009), SUNY Morrisville (2009), Gallaudet (2010), Lancaster Bible (2011), Penn College (2014)
  • Joining (1): St. Mary’s, Md. (2021)
  • Associates (5): Alfred State (MLX), Hilbert (LAX, MVB), Medaille (LAX, MVB), Rutgers-Camden (MGOLF), SUNY Potsdam (MVB)
  • Oldest: Wesley (1837)
  • Largest: Penn College (4,374)
  • Smallest: Wells (459)
  • Longest Trip: 372 miles (Gallaudet to Wells) 
  • Championship Sports: 18
  • Top Team Moment: SUNY Morrisville reached the Sweet 16 of the 2013 men's basketball championship tournament, defeating Ramapo and Rhode Island College before being ousted by St. Mary's, Md.

>> Tomorrow: NEWMAC
>> Looking BackAtlantic East SAA | NECC | NACC | Landmark

sources: Google Maps, EADA

6.  Comings and Goings
7.  1 Putt (Maybe 2)


You won't see better putts under pressure than these.

First, Dustin Johnson needed to make this 45-footer to force a playoff at the BMW Championship.

Then, Jon Rahm said "Hold My Beer," and drained this 66-foot bomb for the win on the first extra hole.

Just like me over the weekend. Only each attempt took three tries. 

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