Thursday, December 3, 2020

MAC Marches Forward



DECEMBER 3, 2020 | written by STEVE ULRICH
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1.  MAC Marches Forward

"The Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Presidents met this week and affirmed their support for moving forward with tentative plans for winter sports in a manner that prioritizes the health and well-being of student-athletes, coaches, campuses and local communities.

Due to state and local restrictions and rising rates of infection across the MAC region, the conference leadership will meet over the next few months and continue to track the trajectory of the pandemic and resulting health and safety recommendations or mandates from local, state and national public health authorities to determine on-going plans and schedules.

The tentative plan for men’s and women’s basketball is to start a conference-only season no earlier than mid-February with a 5-to-6 week schedule and the possibility of a conference championship. The swimming season is slated to start in early March, potentially culminating with a MAC Championship in mid-April."

>> Of Note: "The 2021 MAC Indoor Track & Field Championships and the 2021 MAC Wrestling Championship have been canceled. However, the conference presidents supported institutional autonomy for indoor track & field and wrestling, allowing each institution to schedule outside competition at its discretion."

>> Upcoming: "The MAC athletics directors continue to develop plans focusing on conference and regional competition in fall and spring sports for consideration by the presidents at a future meeting."

>> Read Complete Release



2. From MIT to the NBA

Sonia Raman had never been a head coach when she arrived at MIT. After 12 seasons, she's on to the NBA. (Courtesy of MIT)
by Jeff Eisenberg, Yahoo!

"The most improbable job offer of the NBA offseason even surprised its recipient.

Sonia Raman never thought an NBA franchise would hire a woman who wasn’t a former college or WNBA star and who only had off-the-radar coaching experience.

For the past 12 years, Raman has toiled in lower-division obscurity as the women’s basketball coach at MIT, an institution better known for producing aerospace engineers than athletes. MIT women’s basketball had never even reached the Division III NCAA tournament until Raman produced back-to-back appearances in 2018 and 2019.

The Memphis Grizzlies first stumbled across Raman more than a year ago while searching for potential interns with backgrounds in math and basketball. Vice president of basketball strategy Rich Cho shrewdly recognized Raman might be a good resource given her connection to a pool of college students as comfortable solving equations as running a pick and roll."

>> Situational Awareness: "The NBA has evolved to the point that it’s no longer surprising to find a woman in a position of influence, but the unconventional paths that have long been open to male coaches have not yet become available to women. Many of the league’s female coaches rose to prominence in the WNBA or at name-brand college programs, from six-time WNBA all-star Becky Hammon, to Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame member Teresa Weatherspoon, to former California head coach Lindsay Gottlieb."

>> Reality Check: "Raman’s background is nothing like that. Before MIT, she moonlighted in coaching while attending law school and working in corporate law. The peak of her playing career was providing a jolt of energy off the bench for Tufts University. So why would one of the NBA’s up-and-coming teams trust the development of Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson to such an unheralded coach from a place like MIT?"

>> Quotable: “I started to realize that all day long I was itching for it to be time to go to practice,” Raman said. “Don’t get me wrong, I really liked my job at Fidelity. It was more that I found my passion, that I found something I liked even more.”

>> Quotable II: “I was immediately impressed with her passion for the game of basketball,” Memphis Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “Sonia has a drive to constantly learn and grow as a coach, and take all that she has learned and teach it to her players and fellow staff. She absolutely loves teaching the game.”

>> Be Smart: "If Raman validates Memphis’ bold decision to hire her, she’ll undoubtedly open doors for other coaches from unconventional backgrounds. Many fellow Indian Americans and Division III coaches have reached out to her the past few months to thank her for the reminder of what can be accomplished with hard work and a positive attitude."

>> Worth Your Time


3.  Convention Registration Open


The 2021 NCAA Convention will run Jan. 12-15. Registration for the 2021 NCAA Convention is open and will continue through Wednesday, Jan. 6. Click here to register.

The virtual format will allow members to participate in the events and education sessions that make the Convention a meaningful experience, while also helping to keep participants safe. No registration fee will be charged this year, and participation is open to all member school and conference staff.

Key meetings and events will take place Tuesday, Jan. 12, through Friday, Jan. 15. Online Association-wide education sessions will begin during Convention week and continue throughout the remainder of January. Divisional business sessions will be conducted virtually, with voting on name, image and likeness legislation to take place as planned. Specific educational content focused on each division will be provided.

It’s important to note that delegates appointed to vote on behalf of their school or conference must be registered for the Convention.

>> Convention Resources

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4.  Will Virus Sideline Referees?

by Karen Weaver, Forbes

"It’s December 1. In the last three months, colleges and universities have canceled or postponed more than 200 football and basketball games. What started as a trickle of games being rescheduled to open weekends has now morphed into weeks without football and basketball teams being allowed to practice. Now, a new concern has emerged: Will there be enough referees for the season?"

According to Athlete Veritas, the NCAA’s Core Principles of Resocialization of College Basketball Committee just released extensive competition guidelines for college officials and referees to comply with, including:

  • Game officials are considered part of the Tier One grouping for testing and tracing. This means they are tested a minimum of three times per week, and schools and conferences are expected to bear the costs for these tests.
  • Officials should avoid rideshares and be mindful of wearing a mask and social distancing throughout their entire trip.
  • Before arriving on site, the NCAA schools are asked to discuss hosting pregame conferences virtually or at a location other than the locker room to manage social distancing. 
  • The NCAA has urged consideration for the creation of a “national dashboard” of basketball officials who are in compliance with Covid-19 protocols (or, in non-compliance). Officials would have to agree to join the database, and could then receive a daily health-related questionnaire. 
  • Finally, officials have been advised not to intervene physically if players become “entangled” or are fighting.
It’s gonna be a long winter. And it’s gonna be an even longer season."

>> Continue Reading

>> Go Deeper


5.  Scorecard

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

Moving Forward

Waiting to Make Call

Canceled Conference Play and Championships

Canceled Winter Competition

6.  Comings and Goings

7.  1 Dance Thing

It’s a debate as old as time — or, at least as old as 1965’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas Special.”

Of the many revelers throwing down sick moves to “Linus & Lucy” by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, who would you most like to party with?

>> Of Note: Snoopy is playing air guitar. Jazz trios don't have a guitar.

>> Shhhh: Admit it. You've all danced like this at least once to this song.

>> Ranked 1-11

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