Thursday, November 12, 2020

To Play or Not?



NOVEMBER 12, 2020 | written by STEVE ULRICH
your must-read briefing on what's driving the day in NCAA Division III

Our goal is to keep you - the influencers in DIII athletics - apprised of what's happening around Division III - the games, polls, news, happenings, awards, calendar of events, and much more. We hope you enjoy d3Playbook and that you'll share this with your friends, colleagues and co-workers.


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1.  To Play or Not?

by David Jesse and Evan Petznold, Detroit Free Press / photo by Kirthman F. Dozier

"As the public address announcer welcomed fans to Adrian College's first football game of the season earlier this month, the school president stood on the sidelines in the stadium named for him, defending the decision to play, even after more than 200 students had tested positive since the start of the school year for the coronavirus.

"These are college kids who have had so many disappointments over the past year," President Jeffrey Docking told a reporter. "So we said we are going to be in the business of giving kids an opportunity to play. It's time to bring critical thinking to bear and let kids have some fun during these important years."

Eighty miles northwest, Olivet College's football field was empty, even though it technically was homecoming Saturday, when a football game was supposed to be the center of the weekend. Instead, students were about to enter the second week without face-to-face classes in an effort to limit a small outbreak of positive cases on that campus. 

Like Adrian, Olivet is a small private liberal arts college. Like Adrian, it's a member of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, a NCAA Division III conference made up of nine small schools, mostly in Michigan. Unlike Adrian, Olivet is not allowing football. "We wanted to do things together with our conference," said Olivet President Steven Corey. "Not playing football made the most sense in protecting our students."

>> Background: "Like bigger conferences, the MIAA decided as a conference not to play football this fall. But the decision wasn't unanimous and featured lengthy arguments among presidents, flared tempers over the belief that some schools were attempting to steal athletes from others and, eventually, a split right through the league, which was founded in 1888, the oldest conference in the nation."

>> Why It Matters: "The split in the conference raises questions for its future. Are the ties between schools strong enough to survive the stress, or will they dissolve like so many friendships have in these heavily politicized pandemic times?"

>> Reality Check: "If 80% of a student body is athletes, losing 10% of athletes who transfer to another school to play sports means losing a massive chunk of the student body. At small schools, the worry over postponing sports seasons isn’t so much about losing big amounts of money from tickets or merchandise sales.Tuition dollars, the lifeblood of small schools, don't go into a college's coffers if student-athletes leave."

>> Worth Noting: "Adrian has put its enrollment hopes on sports for years now. The school has 48 sports teams — from bass fishing to football — and about 1,100 of the school's nearly 1,900 students are athletes. Adrian has seen an almost 10% growth in enrollment since 2010, thanks in large part to this approach. For example, when the school started a bass fishing team, it had to buy a boat or two, hire a coach and pay for some travel. That cost was more than offset by adding several new students to the college."

>> Worth Your Time ( newscache; story hidden behind paywall)


2.  Taking Charge


Congratulations to the newest Division III governance committee appointees.

Presidents Council
  • Sean Decatur, Kenyon
  • Eric Fulcomer, Rockford
  • Sue Hasseler, Muskingum
Management Council
  • Holly Sheilley, Transylvania
  • Tom Di Camillo, SUNYAC
  • Angela Martin, Texas at Dallas
  • Betsy Mitchell, Cal Tech
  • Bill Stiles, Alvernia
  • Catherine Corcoran, Cabrini
Financial Aid Committee
  • Dana Harmon, WPI
  • Erin Pomykala, Baruch
Infraction Appeals Committee
  • Gina Nicolleti-Bellinger, Centre
Interpretations and Legislation Committee
  • Kurt Beron, Texas at Dallas
Membership Committee
  • Corey Borchardt, Upper Midwest Athletic Conference
Nominating Committee
  • Beth Vansant, Belhaven
Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct
  • Stephanie Dollar, Massachusetts Boston
Student-Athlete Reinstatement
  • Teelah Grimes, Valley Forge
  • Allie Littlefox, Mills

3.  COVID Scorecard

We will continue to update the winter and spring competition seasons with schools and conferences that have canceled play here.



The following schools have suspended athletics activities through the end of the fall semester and moved entirely to remote learning:
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4.  Picturesque

We have been thrilled with the response we have received to our simple query:

What is the most picturesque outdoor sporting venue in Division III?

Here are two submissions ... 

Cole Field, Williams College

Veterans Memorial Field sports complex, UW-La Crosse

And one I failed to include in yesterday's Playbook

Butterfield Stadium, Ithaca College

Keep them coming to or submit via our twitter site @D3Playbook

5.  Comings and Goings

6.  #GirlDad


A Michigan couple whose large family attracted attention by growing to include 14 sons has welcomed their first daughter nearly three decades after the birth of their first child.

Kateri Schwandt gave birth on November 5 to Maggie Jayne, who weighed in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces (3.4 kilograms) and entered a world filled with 14 older brothers.

Jay Schwandt said he and his wife, both 45, “are overjoyed and beyond excited to add Maggie Jayne to our family.”

>> Read More


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