Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Birth Dearth Approaches


"Virginia's Championship City"


DECEMBER 16, 2020 | written by STEVE ULRICH
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1. Birth Dearth Approaches

by Rick Seltzer, Inside Higher Ed

"Increased public high school completion rates, especially among students of color, are helping to propel the nation’s graduating classes to larger-than-anticipated sizes -- but they aren’t projected to prevent a steady contraction looming after the middle of the 2020s.

High school graduates are on track to peak in number across the country at 3.93 million with the Class of 2025, according to projections released Tuesday by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. That’s about 4 percent above the 3.77 million high school graduates in the Class of 2019. After 2025, the projections show graduating classes declining moderately in size over a dozen years due largely to the so-called birth dearth that dates to families having fewer children amid the economic disruptions of the Great Recession.

Broadly speaking, projections anticipate the Northeast and Midwest posting largely flat numbers through 2025 and then declining afterward. The South is projected to experience growth in high school graduates until 2026 and then dip somewhat to levels that are still mostly higher than those of recently observed years. In the Western region, some small-population states are expected to increase high school graduate production, only to have their numbers offset by declining graduate totals in the population center of California after 2024."

>> Why It Matters: "The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, or WICHE, releases projections about coming numbers of high school graduates every four years or so. Policy makers and higher education officials closely watch the organization’s projections because they offer insight into future pools of traditional-age students who will enter college and the workforce. Those factors will in turn affect everything from university budgets to state financial aid programs to job markets."

>> The Big Picture: "It’s an important development because education systems have grown used to steadily growing high school graduating classes nationwide -- growth has been reported for decades. But within five years, the factors pushing toward larger graduating class sizes aren’t expected to be enough to counteract the effects of birth rates that plunged as the Great Recession took hold."

>> What They're Saying: “There simply aren’t enough high school students 18 years later to continue that trend of growth,” said Patrick Lane, vice president of policy, analysis and research at WICHE.

>> Continue Reading


2. Sports Must Adapt to Changing Market

by Ed Desser, John Kosner, Sportico

"The Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, demonstrates how social media has profited exponentially by aligning the population at different extremes—utilizing content we ourselves create online to divide us further. Pre-COVID-19, these divisive efforts had considerable momentum; the virus has only accelerated them.

If ever there were a moment that our country (in fact, the world) needed the unifying power of sports, it’s right now. Every month we spend in isolation turns us inward and reinforces the thought that engaging with the people around us is dangerous. Sports can help us not only overcome the anxiety of gathering in a group but also return us to the interactions that help us heal and grow together as a society. But sports has never faced the obstacles it does now. The industry must get to work.

When we grew up, following our local team was practically a shared civic duty. Kids and adults alike engaged in highly topical “water cooler” discussions. It was an era of media (bandwidth) scarcity; we watched and listened to the games, read about them in the newspaper (remember those?), saw highlights on the 11 p.m. local news, discussed them at meals and as a shared family experience on our living room couches. Very little of that “shared world” experience still exists today. Instead, everyone carries an entertainment ecosystem in their pocket."

What Can Be Done?

  1. Reinvigorate sports' place in the community
  2. Prioritize getting young fans back into our stadiums and arenas
  3. Revolutionize viewing of live game telecasts
  4. Bring sports to where its fans are

>> Worth Noting: "Over the past 50 years, changes in the environment have almost completely benefited sports and fueled their growth. No longer. Whether it’s the mere act of gathering together, how we watch the games from home, or the manner in which we get news about our favorite teams and athletes, it’s now changed utterly. The internet-led disruption of myriad other industries has finally hit sports. We must respond now."

>> Go Deeper


3.  The Ugliest Trophy

Belongs to ... a pair of long-time Division III rivals?

Doug Samuels, writing for, started to make a case that the Land Grant Trophy - a made-for-something creation of a non-rivalry between Penn State and Michigan State - was the ugliest rivalry trophy in football.

Then he found one even uglier - the Troll Trophy.

The furry-looking figure is awarded to the winner of the Concordia-St. Olaf football game every year since 1974.

Four decades ago, that troll was made from moss, harvested from pine trees in Norway as a way to welcome St. Olaf back into the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference after two decades away. The entire trophy is natural, all the way down to the pine cones used for the fingernails and toe nails.

>> What They're Saying: "It's all Norwegian natural," said Herb Morgenthaler, a 1961 Concordia graduate. "We loved it, because it seemed so authentic and unusual."

>> Be Smart: The Cobbers are 36-10-1 against the Oles in the game - called the Lefse Bowl.

>> Continue Reading 
>> Read More from Concordia Athletic Communications


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4.  Scorecard

We continue to update the winter and spring competition seasons for schools and conferences that have made formal announcements. Others have yet to indicate plans for the upcoming seasons.

According to, 87 institutions have opted out of competition in winter sports in 2020-21.

Please let us know if we've missed your league or conference.

Moving Forward (15)

Waiting to Make Call (6)

Canceled Conference Play and Championships (14)

Canceled Winter Competition (3)

No Formal Announcement (7)
  • Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference
  • College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin
  • Little East Conference
  • Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association
  • New Jersey Athletic Conference
  • Skyline Conference
  • Upper Midwest Athletic Conference

The City of Salem and Salem Parks & Recreation along with other localities in the Roanoke Valley host a variety of softball and baseball tournaments throughout the year. We work with Roanoke County, Roanoke City, Botetourt County and the Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitor's Bureau. USA, NSA, USSSA, Got Game, Softball Nations, Freedom Sports and ISF are organizations that bring tournaments to the Roanoke Valley.

Find out more at


5.  Comings and Goings

6.  Rapid At-Home Test Approved

Closer to the dream: Some Americans could soon get COVID test results in 20 minutes thanks to the FDA granting emergency authorization to an over-the-counter, at-home COVID test.

  • Ellume said it anticipates selling the antigen test for $30 or less.
  • It hopes to produce 3 million tests by January and to deliver 20 million tests by the first half of next year.

The big picture: Home kits currently need a prescription or require swabs be shipped to a lab, which could take days for results, notes Axios' Marisa Fernandez.

>> Be Smart: Does this bring Division III sports back sooner than later?


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