Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Most Intriguing Battle in NCAA History

 

D3Playbook
AUGUST 13, 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.  Most Intriguing Battle in NCAA History

by Pat Forde, Sports Illustrated


"At 9 a.m. on what would be an unprecedented day in college football’s baroque, bewildering and bellicose history, a text dropped in from a TV executive who was watching the tumult unfold:

It’s athletic directors, coaches and players vs. presidents, trustees and lawyers in the most intriguing battle in NCAA history.”

It was the perfect summation of the underlying tension of this Summer of COVID-19.

At that point, nobody was sure who was going to win that epic confrontation. By the end of the day, it was a split decision. Presidents, trustees and lawyers scored two early victories in the Big Ten and Pac-12; athletic directors, coaches and players got an apparent late win in the Big 12."

>> Situational Awareness: "But for those pressing forward to play, heed one warning: The lawyers will be circling. Not the ones counseling conferences to avoid trifling with players’ health, but the ones who will be doing the suing if, God forbid, a player dies, has long-term damage or career-threatening complications."

>> What They're Saying: "Whatever conference(s) decides to play football this fall will be taking a ridiculously high risk they may soon regret. I know and have talked with some of the best plaintiff’s lawyers in the country this week, and they’re praying the SEC, Big 12 and/or the ACC are greedy enough to stay the course. If things go sideways, the plaintiff’s Bar will immediately get their hands on the internal financial analyses of the schools (a FOIA layup), get the conference financials through the discovery process, and then just stand in front of the jurors and point to the conferences that decided not to risk the health of their student-athletes. Good Lord, I’d hate to be the lawyers defending those cases.” - Tom Mars, sports attorney

>> Reality Check: And the attorneys lining up to represent plaintiffs? “These are lawyers who’ve already slain bigger dragons than the SEC, and they can afford to finance the most expensive litigation on the planet. As a coalition, they’d be the legal equivalent of the Death Star.”
 


>> The Final Word: "The university presidents, who are tasked with thinking about the greater good of an entire campus, did something they rarely do—they said no to big-time athletics. Did they want to? Of course not. It’s unpopular, and it exposes their athletic departments to massive financial hardship. But they made the hard, proper call in the midst of a pandemic that remains difficult to understand and harder to predict."

>> Continue Reading


 


2.  Conference WOTY Winners Named
 

"From a program-record pool of 605 school nominees, 161 college athletes have been named conference-level nominees for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

The nominees represent student-athletes from 21 different sports spanning all three NCAA divisions. Of those nominated, 59 nominees competed in Division I, 39 in Division II and 63 in Division III.

The NCAA Woman of the Year program is rooted in Title IX and has recognized graduating female college athletes for excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership since its inception in 1991.

The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named this fall."

>> The List of Conference Nominees

 

3.  Supreme Court Denies NCAA 


Supreme Court Sports Betting Case Oral Argument Recap: Christie v ...
by Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY


"Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan on Tuesday denied the NCAA’s request for a stay of an injunction that will end association-wide limits on education-related benefits that college athletes can receive.

Barring the NCAA’s ability to convince U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken to change the injunction’s effective date, Kagan’s ruling sets the stage for at least one recruiting cycle in which schools will be able to decide on a conference-level basis whether to allow offers to football, men’s basketball and/or women’s basketball players that go beyond covering the full cost of attending school.

Wilken issued the injunction in March 2019, when she ruled that that the NCAA's limits on what Bowl Subdivision football players and Division I men's and women’s basketball players can receive for playing sports "unreasonably restrain trade" in violation of antitrust laws. The case was brought on behalf of plaintiffs led by former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston."

>> What's Next: "The NCAA has said it will ask the full Supreme Court to take up the case, but it wanted to keep the injunction from taking effect pending the final outcome, saying in a filing last week that “even if just one class” was impacted by the injunction, it would inflict “profound, irreparable harm on the important national institution of intercollegiate athletics.”"

>> Of Note: "Even if Supreme Court chooses to hear the case, its calendar for October already is full – and it usually takes months to issue rulings. The early National Letter of Intent signing period for basketball players currently is set for Nov. 11-18 and the early signing period for football players is set for Dec. 16-18."

>> Be Smart: What can now be offered?

  • Cash or cash-equivalent awards for meeting academic goals and/or graduating, under some constraints.
  • Paid internships after an athlete’s eligibility has ended.
  • Scholarships to complete undergraduate or graduate degrees at any school.
  • The cost of computers, science equipment, musical instruments or other items not included in schools’ cost-of-attendance calculations, but that are related to academics.


>> Go Deeper

 

4.  And Then There Were None
 

My Hero Zero | School House Rock Wiki | Fandom


The last Division III conference that remained hopeful for fall competition announced the postponement of four fall sports until the spring.

The American Rivers Conference made the call on Tuesday, citing the NCAA Board of Governors' mandates for testing frequently with short windows for test results in several sports. 

"The decision by the Association’s highest governing body left the A-R-C’s Presidents Council with no options."

Elsewhere in conference land, the New Jersey Athletic Conference adjusted the format for men's and women's basketball schedules for the upcoming season. The NJAC reduced the number of conference games from 18 to nine and delayed the start of conference play until January 20.

 


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5.  Recruiting This Fall?



Data: MaxPreps, Axios research; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios


As local governments go to war over whether high schools can open, the fate of the fall sports season hangs in the balance.

  • The state of play: The National Federation of State High School Associations has offered a 16-page guide to help states resume athletics, but with so many organizations and school districts involved, there has been little uniformity.
  • The majority of states have announced delays or postponements for some or all fall sports, while 15 are still planning to hold normal fall sports seasons.

 

6.  Comings and Goings
 

 
7.  1 Weekend Thing
 



Find your happy place and have a great weekend. 


 

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Decision

 

D3Playbook
AUGUST 11, 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 Tuesday Morning. Sun on Apple iOS 13.3

>> Today's Word Count: 1,116. Brief, concise, smart. An easy read to start your day.

>> Thanks for reading D3Playbook. Please recommend us to a friend or co-worker. Or share with your staff and bring them up-to-speed on what's happening in DIII.

 
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1.  The Decision

Image

Jeremy Villanueva talks with Tori Murden McClure, chair of the Division III Presidents Council and president of Spalding University, about the Council's decision to cancel the NCAA championships for the fall of 2020 in Division III.

>> Listen (9:00)

 

 
2.  Sports' Toughest Opponent: Insurance


by Michael McCann, Sportico
 

"As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages on, an inevitable legal battle awaits the sports industry. Pitting leagues, event organizers and venues against insurance companies, the fight would revolve around the central question: Who should absorb the financial losses from the cancellation of games due to the pandemic?

The answer could dramatically affect the financing, marketing and hosting of games going forward.

While much has been written about “force majeure” in the context of cancelled games, the term, a league executive tells Sportico, is generally not applicable to the COVID-19 pandemic. The reason: Force majeure normally concerns an “Act of God” that makes it virtually impossible to hold an event. Think of a Category 5 hurricane or a terrorist attack. With COVID-19, games could be played, particularly if precautions were taken to mitigate the risk of infection. Insurance companies are thus poised to reject claims that invoke force majeure language.

For most businesses, including sports teams and leagues, the main vehicle used to recoup COVID-19 losses will be business interruption insurance, which ordinarily addresses the broader financial harm of a “covered peril”—such as a fire or tornado—on a company’s balance sheet. It is normally part of an underlying property policy."

>> Why It Matters: "So how to interpret a virus and its presence at a sports facility? While the virus can attach to surfaces of seats or railings and survive for several days, it doesn’t do real “damage” beyond presenting a temporary risk of infection. Yet policyholders can insist that if their facility is declared unusable, on account of a government order, there is a physical loss."

>> Reality Check: "Even if an insurance company honors a policy, the policyholder must credibly substantiate lost profits and other costs to the satisfaction of the insurer. This often requires extensive documentation that could take several months to review."

>> Be Smart: "The ultimate fallout could mean much higher costs for policies and far more restrictive terms for collection; in essence, it would cost more and offer less."

>> Worth Your Time

 

 
3.  #WeWillBeBack

D3-logo-hero.jpg | NCAA.org - The Official Site of the NCAA

An important message from the Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Chair Braly Keller

>> Watch (1:11)

 

4. Champions for Diversity and Inclusion

by Gail Dent, NCAA
 

"Athletics departments and conference offices now have a primary point of contact to receive and distribute information around diversity and inclusion topics. The athletics diversity and inclusion designee, known as the ADID, will be that point of communication between the NCAA national office, athletics department, conference office and campus when information around inclusive programs, emerging diversity issues and other related equity initiatives needs to be shared.

The Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee (MOIC) began discussions around the designation two years ago. The role, which was approved by Divisions I, II and III at the NCAA Convention in January, will serve as a gatekeeper of information who will engage with various audiences such as national office staff, student-athletes, athletics department and conference administrators, and campus officials who are involved with athletics or university inclusion. Athletics administrators have stated that sometimes information gets bottlenecked now and doesn’t arrive to key recipients.

Information likely will originate from NCAA diversity-focused committees or offices, such as the Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, the Committee on Women’s Athletics, the Board of Governors Committee To Promote Cultural Diversity and Equity, the Gender Equity Task Force and the NCAA office of inclusion."

>> What They're Saying: “We, MOIC, are very happy to see the support of the membership around the ADID. We look forward to seeing all of the ADIDs and the athletics departments and conference offices working together and moving forward and creating their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives," said Jose Rodriguez, chair of MOIC and chief diversity officer at Cabrini.

>> What's Next: "ADIDs may be appointed by the university president, chancellor or athletics commissioner (or a proxy), and many will have direct or strong ties to athletics."

>> Worth Noting: "Unlike the senior woman administrator designation, which is the highest-ranking female in athletics management who provides leadership for men’s and women’s sports and issues, the ADID will receive information specific to a variety of areas that may touch race, gender, LGBTQ, student-athletes who may have disabilities, international student-athletes and other higher education or athletics matters."

>> Continue Reading


 


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5. One For The Thumb 
 

Image

With all the difficult news coming out about the fall 2020 season, we thought it might be time to dust off some anniversary seasons from the past. First, we reviewed the 1995 men's soccer championship. Today, we'll continue with a look back 25 years ago to the 1995 NCAA women's volleyball championship tournament.

Each edition of D3Playbook, we'll bring you the results of a round of play, culminating today with the final. Now, we know you could have looked this up online if you chose ... but thanks for just following along.

National Final
#2 Washington U. d. #5 Cal Lutheran, 15-6, 17-19, 13-15, 15-11, 15-11

>> Headlines: The second-ranked Bears picked up "One For The Thumb," winning their fifth consecutive NCAA title. Wash U. knocked out the Nos. 1, 3 and 5 teams in the country and became the fourth team to overcome a 1-2 deficit in the final.

>> Of NoteShelley Swan, the DIII Player of the Year, led the Bears with a career-best 31 kills in the title match. 



 

6.  Fall Online
 

Here is a list of Division III institutions that have moved to an all-online fall semester.

  • Agnes Scott
  • Catholic
  • Chapman
  • Dickinson
  • Goucher
  • Johns Hopkins
  • Johnson & Wales (R.I.)
  • Lake Forest
  • Muhlenberg
  • Randolph
  • Redlands
  • Rhodes
  • Scripps
  • Simmons
  • Simpson
  • Smith
  • SUNY Old Westbury
  • Swarthmore
  • Whitman
  • Wilson
source: The College Crisis Initiative at Davidson College (C2i dashboard)


 

    7.  Comings and Goings
     
     
    7.  1 Happy Thing

    The dog days of August.

     

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    Monday, August 10, 2020

    How a Small College Thinks It Can Survive COVID-19

    D3Playbook
    AUGUST 10, 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 Sun on Apple iOS 13.3  Happy birthday to my daughter Caroline as she leaves the teens. Also to one of the best assistants you could ever ask for. Happy birthday Jess!

    >> Thank You: To Nicole Kaupp who became the 1,400th subscriber to our free newsletter. We appreciate her support ... and yours as well.

    >> Today's Word Count: 1,333... Top off your coffee and settle in for a news-packed edition.

    >> Thanks for reading D3Playbook. Please recommend us to a friend or co-worker. Or share with your staff and bring them up-to-speed on what's happening in DIII.

     
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    1.  How a Small College Thinks It Can Survive COVID-19

    CarlsonMonmouth0731.jpg
    by Scott Carlson, Chronicle of Higher Education
     

    This question on everyone's mind this fall is how will private institutions adapt to declining enrollment, questions from students and parents about return on investment, increasing competition from public institutions ... and, of course, COVID-19.

    Carlson spoke with Clarence Wyatt, president of Monmouth (Ill.) College, about how the college would navigate the fall and an in-person semester.

    >> Situational Awareness: "Monmouth has its vulnerabilities: 900 students, a $110-million endowment, and a location — in a little hamlet of 9,000 people, with the nearest city in Galesburg, population 31,000 — in a depressed part of western Illinois, a state that has been a leading exporter of students in recent years. It has raised $60 million for its endowment in the past several years, with a $75-million goal by the end of 2022."

    >> The Big Picture: "Liberal arts is a staple, and the college had grown increasingly sophisticated about how those programs connect to the job market. Recently, the college has created or revitalized programs in data science, engineering, neuroscience, and kinesiology, the latter a natural attraction to Monmouth’s many athletes, who compose about half the enrollment."

    • “They come in their first year as athletes, and then they realize they’re students when they’re here,” Mark Willhardt, VP for academic affairs, said. “When that happens, they’re looking for majors that help them keep that connection going.”
    • “For many of us in the conference, athletics is an important part of the experience,” said Wyatt. “It is a significant draw for prospective students, and it’s also a powerful instrument for retention. Our student-athletes retain at a higher rate than the general student population.”
    >> Reality Check: "But many (Midwest) conference members simply did not have the infrastructure on campus or in their small towns to provide the regular coronavirus testing that the National Collegiate Athletic Association recommends, a lack that exposed the colleges to liability, Wyatt said. Even low-risk, noncontact sports, like cross-country, have had their seasons canceled out of a concern for “equity”; you can’t say yes to that team’s 20 runners but no to 120 football players, Wyatt noted."

    >> Between The Lines: "Pedagogically, the college would be OK. Finances might be a different story. If Monmouth has to shut down in the middle of the fall semester, the college would have to cut its budget and may have to reduce salaries too. “It’s certainly everyone’s hope that by the time we get to this point next year, this is a bad memory,” said Wyatt. But he also hopes the crisis will force the college to reconsider what kind of education students want, and how that education might be delivered."

    >> The Final Word: “Here, it’s ‘rally round the tartan,’” Wyatt said. “We are the Scots, we’re all in this together, and the greatest gifts that we can give each other: No. 1, each other’s health. And No. 2, a full semester together.”

    >> Continue Reading
     

    2.  Presidents Council Recap

     

    The Division III Presidents Council this week voted to sponsor two legislative concepts on student-athletes’ use of their name, image and likeness.

    During its meeting by videoconference Wednesday, the council also canceled the division’s seven fall championships this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It decided not to reschedule those championships for the spring semester.

    The name, image and likeness concepts were recommended by the Division III Name, Image and Likeness Oversight Working Group and endorsed by the Division III Management Council.

    • The first concept would allow student-athletes to use their status as athletes to promote their own work product or service. 
    • The second concept would allow student-athletes to use their status as athletes to endorse third-party products or services, provided there is no institutional involvement in procuring promotional opportunities for student-athletes (except to the extent the school is involved with assisting students generally). 
    The Presidents Council ratified the proactive waiver permitting Division III student-athletes to receive a season-of-participation waiver if their teams complete 50% or less of the sport’s maximum contests/dates of competition during the 2020-21 season due to the impact of COVID-19.

    The Presidents Council approved championship and nonchampionship budget cuts of nearly $2 million annually to offset budget shortfalls due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    >> Go Deeper

     
    3. Correction
     

    Last week, we ran a story about colleges that continue to announce tuition deals and discounts to ensure student retention, encourage degree completion and ward off deferrals.

    We insinuated that tuition-free semesters may run afoul of NCAA rules and regulations, as it was not available to all students. 

    We were incorrect. And offer our apologies to Pacific Lutheran and St. Norbert. We will do better.
     

    4. The Tipping Point?

    Tipping Points: When to Bet on New Technologies | Bain & Company
    by Jeff Leiser

    "Are we reaching the tipping point?  D1 football has led to unionization efforts, claims for player likeness compensation, and now (PAC-12) Coronavirus protection demands.

    It’s time to split college football into two leagues:  Pre-Pro, and Collegiate. 

    Let Pre-Pro be dedicated to those not seeking a college education, and only want a way to seek a professional football career. Let free market dynamics determine compensation, royalties, payment for marketing likenesses, etc.  Why try to keep someone academically eligible who doesn’t care to be in class?

    Let Collegiate athletics be for those seeking a college education and let the education itself be the maximum compensation. 

    Let’s get back to basics— blocking and tackling— and let college athletics be about education and the love of playing a game to augment that education."

    >> Worth Noting: Leiser played football and lacrosse at Swarthmore (Pa.) College in the mid 80s. 

     

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    5.  A Golden Season, Final Four

    With all the difficult news coming out about the fall 2020 season, we thought it might be time to dust off some anniversary seasons from the past. First, we reviewed the 1995 men's soccer championship. Today, we'll continue with a look back 25 years ago to the 1995 NCAA women's volleyball championship tournament.

    Each edition of D3Playbook, we'll bring you the results of a round of play, culminating on August 11 with the final. Now, we know you can look this up online if you choose ... but maybe you'll just want to follow along.

    National Semifinals
    #2 Washington U. d. #3 Ithaca, 15-5, 16-14, 15-11
    #5 Cal Lutheran d. #9 UW-Whitewater, 10-15, 6-15, 15-7, 15-11, 15-13

    >> Headlines: Four-time defending champ Washington U. has taken out the #1 and #3 teams in the country on its way to the final. The Bears have won 12 of 13 sets in the tourney. Cal Lutheran became the third team since 1981 to bounce back from a 0-2 deficit to win its semifinal. 

    >> Tomorrow: The 25th anniversary of the memorable final.

     
    6.  Comings and Goings
     
     
    7.  1 Smile to Go


    Photograph by Stephanie Gonot for The New York Times


    "Even before the pandemic, the whole fashion industry had started to unravel. What happens now that no one has a reason to dress up?" Irina Aleksander writes in the N.Y. Times Magazine:

    • "By June, U.S. clothing sales rebounded, but they were still down overall from the year before. ... The anomalies have been mostly athleisure companies, like Lululemon, the purveyor of bougie leggings, whose shares have surged in recent months."

    Keep reading (subscription).

    - courtesy of Axios


     

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