Monday, October 26, 2020

Uncertainty Looms for D3 Hoops



OCTOBER 26, 2020 | written by STEVE ULRICH
your must-read briefing on what's driving the day in NCAA Division III

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1. Uncertainty Looms for D3 Hoops

by Josh Verlin, City of Basketball Love / photo: Matt Judge, Swarthmore athletics

"When Rosemont College men’s basketball head coach Barney Hughes walks in or out of his Alumnae Hall office, he has to take a brief stroll down his gym’s baseline. He can’t help but notice whenever his players are utilizing the space, getting shots up, biding time on a court on which they still hold out hope of playing meaningful minutes this season.

It’s not how any of them pictured October shoot-arounds going: no more than two players to a basket, everybody wearing masks. Division III programs around the country watched October 15, usually the first day of practice for small-college hoops, come and go without any fanfare.

Instead of counting down the days until the first tip-offs in mid-November, the Division III hoops world waits in limbo. In the balance hang the seasons of hundreds of teams, thousands of coaches, tens of thousands of players.

It’s an understandable frustration and without a clear solution."

>> What's Next: "The Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC), whose two sub-conferences include nearly 10 area programs between the two of them, is making its decision Nov. 3. Other leagues are waiting a little longer to see which of their member institutions will have student bodies on campus in the spring, and if there will be enough programs to run some version of a league schedule."

>> Quotable: “I can’t tell you the type of preparation we’re doing is preparing for a season, because it isn’t," Haverford men's basketball coach Pat Doherty said. “It’s a lot of skill work, a lot of shooting. We’re not doing a ton of conditioning, I don’t have them running suicides or sprints, because that wouldn’t make sense right now."

>> Be Smart: "If there is any type of Division III basketball this year, it doesn’t seem like there’s any chance it happens before the calendar hits 2021. The schools whose students are on campus are sending them home for Thanksgiving, and in most cases wouldn’t bring them back until late December at the earliest. Then they have to test multiple times for an incubation period until everybody is cleared, before warm-up practices can even begin."

>> Go Deeper


2.  Carleton, Wellesley Cancel
Add Carleton and Wellesley to the growing list of institutions that have made the decision to cancel in-person varsity athletic competitions for the winter season.

And the Northeast Women's Hockey League has canceled its 2020-21 conference schedule and league championship.

>> Quotable I: "This is the third time we've had to make this decision, and each time we did so with sadness because we know how much competition means to our student-athletes. However, the health and safety of the entire campus community is the most important thing, and this continues to be the right decision." - Gerald Young, Carleton director of athletics

>> Quotable II: "Our department has worked tirelessly to provide opportunities for our student-athletes to do what they love but the conditions related to the pandemic do not allow us to proceed with competition." - Bethany Ellis, Wellesley director of athletics

>> Quotable III: "The priority must be to protect the health and safety of our student-athletes as well as the members of our campuses and communities." - Tom DiCamillo, commissioner of the NEWHL

3.  Linfield's Super Scoreboard

by Matt Brown, Extra Points

"The COVID pandemic only accelerated a challenging environment for many D-III athletic departments. As enrollment declined or slowed, many departments looked to find more ways to save money. Some sports were cut. Employees were furloughed. A few even looked at getting out of athletics altogether.

But one D-III program is doing things a bit differently. Linfield University, located in McMinnville, Oregon, isn’t downsizing. In fact, they’re about to complete a huge new facility improvement, a 1,800 SF video scoreboard for their football stadium. That will easily be the largest video board in D-III. It would be one of the largest video boards in D-II. Hell, it’ll be larger than some FBS video boards. Athletic director Garry Killgore told me, smiling, that Linfield’s new video board will be bigger than BYU’s.

That’s an impressive facility improvement. But why are they doing it? And why now?"

>> Situational Awareness: “I think if you if you understand donor relations, and you understand the motivations of the donor, you still have to find what they're passionate about. And they're really super passionate about that experience,” said Kilgore."

>> Between The Lines: "Plenty of schools with much larger athletic department budgets struggle to community engagement or a strong in-game experience. That Linfield seems to have done that, not just by regularly winning, but by creating something that the entire town, campus, and athletic program wants to be a part of, is unique, especially at the D-III level."

>> Be Smart: "Building a great student and athlete experience is great, but if the Nursing and English departments are struggling, it isn’t enough."

10 Largest Division III Video Boards
  1. Linfield 30x60 (1,800 SF)
  2. Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) 25x40 (1,000)
  3. Mount Union (Ohio) 22x44 (968)
  4. Pacific (Ore.) 25x30 (750)
  5. Johns Hopkins (Md.) 15x48 (720)
  6. Redlands (Calif.) 19x34 (646)
  7. North Central (Ill.) 18x35 (630)
  8. George Fox (Ore.) 18x35 (630)
  9. Concordia (Wis.) 18x32 (576)
  10. California Lutheran 15x25 (375)
  11. Lewis & Clark (Ore.) 15x25 (375)

>> A Good Read


4. Weekend Stars
  • Loras junior Kassie Rosenbum won her fourth straight race but the Wartburg women came away with the team title at the Knights' triangular. Rosenbum pulled away during the middle of the race and cruised to a 15-second victory with a 21:13.27 time over the 6K course.
  • Wartburg senior Joe Freiburger made it 4-for-4 with a victory in the men's race, covering the 8K layout in 24:32.
5.  Best of the Decade

About 10 months and 1,000 subscribers ago ... we closed the 2019 calendar year with a look back at the best of the decade. As we all await the resumption of regular-season and championship competition throughout Division III, we think it might be a good time to take a look back at the champions of the past 10 years.
We begin our "Best of the Decade" series with a look at the champions, runners-up and final four participants in women's volleyball.

Champions: Calvin (3), California Lutheran, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Emory, Hope, Johns Hopkins, St. Thomas, Wittenberg.

Runner-Up: Emory (3), Calvin (2), Wittenberg (2), Cal Lutheran, Christopher Newport, Washington U.

Final Four Appearances: Calvin (7), Emory (5), Carthage (3), Wittenberg (3), Cal Lutheran (2), Christopher Newport (2), Juniata (2), UW-Stevens Point (2), Washington U. (2), Claremont-M-S, Eastern, Elmhurst, Hendrix, Hope, Ithaca, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern-St. Paul, Southwestern, St. Thomas, Trinity TX, UW-Eau Claire.

>> Tomorrow: field hockey.

6.  Comings and Goings

7.  Doink, Doink, Doink, Doink

I have never seen this before ... a quadruple doink.

Rice University had an opportunity to win its football game against Middle Tennessee last Saturday if place-kicker Collin Riccitelli could convert this 45-yard field goal. 

The Owls lost in double overtime.



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