Thursday, October 29, 2020

Does NCAA Make Call on Restart?



OCTOBER 29, 2020 | written by STEVE ULRICH
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1.  Does NCAA Make Call on Restart?

by Chip Scoggins, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"Hockey practice at Minnesota State Mankato starts after lunch, but first, coach Mike Hastings and senior goalie Ryan Edquist need to make a quick trip across town.

Heavy snowfall creates a snow globe as the pair climb into Hastings’ SUV for a nine-minute drive to a Mayo Clinic Health System facility located in a commercial complex that also houses a post office and brew pub.

They arrive just before 1 p.m. Within minutes they are back on their way to campus after undergoing a test for the COVID-19 virus.

This process — conducted at a higher frequency — will determine when the bulk of Minnesota college sports teams will be able to resume competition.

COVID testing remains the fulcrum of return-to-play efforts for thousands of athletes at the 22 Minnesota colleges and universities in the Division II Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and Division III Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. For each school, that balance includes the challenge of how to fund testing expenses reaching six figures with budgets already strained by the pandemic."

>> Situational Awareness: "The NCAA Board of Governors met on Tuesday with no public action as of this writing on recommendations proposed in late September suggesting all athletes be tested three times per week during the season. The recommendations were specific to basketball, but realistically, they apply to all winter sports."

>> The Big Picture: "If it is required, schools must figure out how to get access to thousands of tests. And then how to pay for them with budgets already stretched thin by significant revenue loss from the pandemic. If testing remains recommendations, each league will be left to decide its own standards, knowing the NCAA’s Sport Science Institute recommends testing three times."

>> Worth Noting: "MIAC member Hamline counts 465 athletes in 20 varsity sports, but the athletic budget is about a 2% line item in the overall institutional budget, according to AD Jason Verdugo."

>> Quotable: "If you’re looking at [testing] three times a week, that is going to be potentially a very big struggle for all of us,” said MIAC Commissioner Dan McKane, who noted that schools in his league currently are paying $70 to $120 per test.

>> Continue Reading

H/T to Howard Sinker

2.  Learfield Investing in eSports

by Eben Novy-Williams, Sportico

"Learfield IMG College, the dominant force in college sports licensing and media rights, is partnering with video game publisher Electronic Arts to launch what they say will be the largest intercollegiate esports league in the country. 

Level Next will launch this fall with a nationwide tournament to crown the best collegiate Madden gamers. Built to accommodate more than 2,500 schools, the league will leverage EA’s gaming expertise with the intellectual property and multimedia rights amassed by Learfield IMG College, making it the first college esports league to feature official logos and mascots in a broad capacity.

Financially, Level Next will provide Learfield IMG College and its schools with a new opportunity to engage corporate partners and fans, especially the coveted younger ones. That added revenue, no matter how small, will help during a time when many sports are halted due to COVID-19."

>> What They're Saying: “I might be overly optimistic, but I do think this is going to be one of the biggest things to happen in college sports in quite a while,” said Cole Gahagan, who took over as CEO and president of Learfield IMG College in April.

>> What's Next: "Level Next doesn’t plan to be the NCAA of collegiate esports, so it won’t do governance or oversight. The aim is to be a competition platform for pre-existing campus esports organizations. The prize pool for this inaugural season is $150,000, which is being financed by Learfield IMG College."

>> Of Note: "Ultimately, the group is hoping Level Next will tap into the millions of people who root for college football or basketball teams around the country. Todd Sitrin of EA Sports grew up in Tulsa, with parents who attended the University of Oklahoma, and said he has an emotional interest whenever a Sooners team in any sport is playing. “That just hasn’t happened yet in esports,” he said. “It requires the official affiliation with the colleges, the marks, big players like Learfield IMG College and EA, it requires the right marketing, promotion and distribution, and the right game, one that hundreds of millions of people already understand.”

>> Be Smart: esports is here to stay.

>> Go Deeper

3.  Reactions to the Report

Louise McCleary, Managing Director of NCAA Division III, recently shared her thoughts on the DIIICA's recently released "Strategic Analysis of the State of Collegiate Officiating" report with J.J. Nekoloff, Associate Commissioner of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.

This is the first in a series of interviews with specific individuals from around the Division III nation who discuss how the DIIICA’s collegiate officiating report impacts them and their place within the Division. These videos are a precursor to the announcement of the pillars which will serve as the foundation of the DIIICA’s five-year collegiate officiating strategic plan.

>> Watch


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4.  Best of the Decade

We continue our "Best of the Decade" series with a look at the champions, runners-up and final four finishers in cross country.

Champions: North Central (6), Haverford, Pomona-Pitzer, St. Olaf, UW-Eau Claire.

Runner-Up: North Central (3), Calvin, Geneseo, Haverford, St. Olaf, UW-La Crosse, Washington U., Williams.

Top Four Finishes: North Central (9), Washington U. (6), UW-La Crosse (5), Haverford (4), Geneseo (3), St. Olaf (3), UW-Eau Claire (2), Williams (2), Amherst, Calvin, Christopher Newport, Pomona-Pitzer, St. Lawrence, UW-Platteville.

Champions: Johns Hopkins (6), Washington U. (2), Middlebury, Williams.

Runner-Up: Washington U. (3), Geneseo, Johns Hopkins, Middlebury, MIT, UW-Eau Claire, Wartburg, Williams.

Top Four Finishes: Johns Hopkins (8), Washington U. (7), Williams (6), MIT (5), Middlebury (3), UW-Eau Claire (3), Chicago (2), Claremont-M-S (2), Geneseo (2), St. Lawrence, Wartburg.

5.  Comings and Goings

6.  1 Fun Thing

"Harley-Davidson unveiled a stunning new electric bike that it says will go on sale in March 2021," reports The Verge.

  • "The name Serial 1 is a reference to 'Serial Number One,' the nickname for Harley-Davidson’s oldest known motorcycle built in 1903."
  • "The bike’s design, with its white tires, leather saddle and handgrips, and sleek black frame, are meant to harken back to that first prototype."

- courtesy of Axios
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