Monday, December 14, 2020

Is the NCAA Broken?


"Virginia's Championship City"


DECEMBER 14, 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.
>> Good Monday Morning! The New York Times is reporting that the Cleveland baseball team will be dropping its "Indians" nickname. The times they are a-changin.

>> Today's Word Count: 1,179

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1.  Is the NCAA Broken?

by Isaiah Hinton, Baruch College Ticker

"Collegiate athletics always occupied a unique spot in the social consciousness of the United States. The lack of professional franchises in 24 states provides the perfect opportunity for college sports to be the predominant target of fandom. However, the very idea of pushing young adults who are not technically able to consume alcohol into the spotlight of a community, let alone a national spotlight, to be praised and criticized with reckless abandon is off-putting to say the least.

For over a century, colleges and universities have gathered the best talent they could to represent their schools, whether it be on the hardwood, the diamond or the gridiron. College athletics have produced some of the most influential athletes, memorable teams, heated rivalries and indelible images in the history of American sport. They have brought communities together with cheers or tears in their eyes.

To tell the story of sport in the United States, one must include collegiate athletics. However, the sad truth is that over 100 hundred years later, the current model of the collegiate sport is broken."

>> Situational Awareness: "The NCAA has had an evasive relationship with athletes’ desire to profit from their name, image and likeness. This is because of the NCAA’s staunch support of the idea of amateurism. Amateurism, in the context of sports, is the practice of participating in the play of a sport on an unpaid basis. Therefore, athletes who participate in the NCAA must be amateurs and are stripped of this status if they receive any form of compensation in association with their exploits playing for their college."

>> Why It Matters: "NCAA athletes, by recognizing themselves as amateurs, forfeit their NIL rights, which allows the NCAA to use them to make profit. One example of this is through video games, such as the “NCAA Football” and “NCAA Basketball” series. In fact, these video games were the catalyst for the 2014 antitrust lawsuit O’Bannon v. NCAA."

>> The Big Picture: "Either way, the need for unionization is dire for college athletes. The COVID-19 pandemic introduced the vast inequity that athletes have in terms of rights. Universities across the country persisted with college athletics, even though the rest of the student body had been sent home due to COVID-19 cases. College athletes are money-making tools to the colleges and universities, and any concern for player health and safety is mere virtue-signaling when faced with the almighty dollar."

>> The Final Word: "The most effective way to change the NCAA and make it and the world of collegiate athletics better is to grant college these athletes the right to publicity. Allow them to unionize and fight for better conditions and legal representation. Colleges and universities make millions of dollars from athletics, the least they can do is give some back to the breadwinners."

>> A Thought-Provoking Piece to Start Your Monday


2. Red Light. Green Light.

Different strokes for different folks.

On Friday, the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) announced its updated return-to-play plans. The league will resume play in basketball in late January while approval from the NACC presidents was given to move ahead with scheduling for fall sport competition in the spring.

"It is important to note that the NACC plan for 2020-21 Fall/Winter Sport Conference Competition and Championships is just that, a plan," noted NACC Commissioner Jeff Ligney. "This is not a promise. Through its Council of Chief Executive Officers and standing committees composed of athletics administrators, the NACC is committed to doing its best to provide a quality student-athlete experience, but in a way that is safe for our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, campuses, and local communities."

Later in the day, the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Council of Chancellors voted to resume winter sports competition in February. 

“WIAC leadership, athletic directors, coaches and Chancellors throughout the conference are committed to safety and the preservation of student-athletes’ experiences. We have more work to do. However, I appreciate the collaborative spirit and the determination we share as we move toward the launch of a winter sports season,” UW Oshkosh Chancellor and Council of Chancellors President Andy Leavitt said.

The next day, Susquehanna University suspended its winter varsity sports competition. The River Hawks' primary league - the Landmark Conference - is expected to make a final decision in January.



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

Moving Forward (14)

Waiting to Make Call (5)

Canceled Conference Play and Championships (14)

Canceled Winter Competition (3)



4. Calendar

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. Weekend Stars Star on Apple iOS 14.2

6.  DIII Notebook

  • Jared Porter, a 2003 graduate of Bowdoin, was named the general manager of the New York Mets. Porter, 41, spent the past four seasons with the Diamondbacks after working under Theo Epstein with the Red Sox and Cubs, where he was part of three World Series winners.
  • Our condolences go out to the Monmouth College community on the passing of head swimming and diving coach Tom Burek, 62, due to complications from COVID-19. 
  • We also pass along our condolences to the family and friends of Enzo Corigliano '22a member of the men's squash team at St. Lawrence, who passed away over the weekend. May their memories be blessings.


7.  Comings and Goings
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