Monday, January 4, 2021

The Distorted State of College Sports


"Virginia's Championship City"


JANUARY 4, 2021 | 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!  Welcome to 2021. Here's hoping that it's a damn sight better than the previous year.

>> Today's Word Count: 1,009.

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1.  The Distorted State of College Sports

by Michael Rosenberg, Sports Illustrated

"If all of 2020 felt like one long Zoom meeting, college sports logged in late and hungover, wearing expensive but stained pajamas, in an enormous but filthy house, leading everybody else to ask: You live like that?

Yes, indeed. This was the year when athletic departments exposed themselves for what they really are: large businesses covered in nonprofit wrapping paper.

A coronavirus pandemic forced the whole enterprise to announce its priorities, which are even more skewed than we realized. There are thousands of people working in college athletics with excellent priorities, of course—people who value academics, relationships, integrity and personal growth. But those are not the qualities the NCAA system rewards. College sports, purportedly a celebration of amateur athletics, are an exercise in big squashing little: large conferences whipping small ones, and revenue sports hogging resources from nonrevenue sports.

Universities are supposed to practice egalitarianism, or at least aspire to it. Future CEOs and artists share a campus, and that coexistence is an essential piece of the experience. 

And college athletics are supposedly the sporting version of this. As those NCAA commercials love to remind us, the overwhelming majority of athletes “go pro in something other than sports.”

In 2020, though, it became obvious that the apparatus that was supposed to support a larger infrastructure has overwhelmed it instead.

>> Why It Matters: "The storyline of the fall was that daily rapid testing had made it safe to conduct sports, but there were two glaring flaws in that argument. One: It conveniently ignores (NCAA President MarkEmmert’s principle: If a school doesn’t reopen, then they’re not going to be playing sports. Suddenly, that didn’t matter anymore. Schools quickly abandoned the notion that athletes are like other students—all over the country athletes received access to tests that the rest of their university communities lacked. They were prioritized not because they were at greater risk but because their presence was of greater financial value to their schools."

>> Reality Check: "Not everybody can win, but everybody can be obsessed, and everybody can market obsession. That is the prominent business model in college sports: Prove to your customers that you are as irrationally committed as they are. Schools are far more likely to be criticized for not paying obscene salaries to football coaches than for doing so. Which is why coaches’ salaries keep going up."

>> The Final Word: "College sports will change radically over the next 20 years. The question is how? Rules allowing athletes to profit off their names, images and likenesses are coming—rules that are both fair and overdue. But if 2020 is any indication, then without even the pretense of amateurism, athletic departments will continue to detach themselves from the central mission of their schools."

>> An Important Read



2. Preseason Lacrosse All-Americans

Mac Bredahl Named USLM Division III Men's Preseason Player of the Year | US  Lacrosse Magazine Jane Earley Named USLM Division III Women's Preseason Player of the Year |  US Lacrosse Magazine
Mac Bredahl, Tufts (photo by John Strohsacker); Jane Earley, Middlebury
(photo courtesy of athletic communications)

US Lacrosse Magazine
 recently announced its 2021 Division III Men’s and Women's Preseason All-Americans, part of the magazine’s immersive coverage leading to the upcoming spring season.

>> Men's Story

>> Women's Story


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.

According to, 92 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 (21)

Waiting to Make Call (5)

Canceled Conference Play and Championships (15)

Canceled Winter Competition (3)

No Formal Announcement (3)
  • Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association
  • New Jersey Athletic Conference
  • Skyline Conference

4. Calendar

7 - Championships Committee
9-10 - Student-Athlete Advisory Committee
11-15 - NCAA Convention
12 - Management Council
14 - Presidents Council
15 - Post-Convention Management Council


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.  Comings and Goings

7.  A Man-Cave With a View

Photo: ESPN PR via Twitter

ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit, former Ohio State QB, had this incredible setup as he called the Sugar Bowl (Clemson v. Buckeyes) from his Nashville home on New Year's Day after testing positive for COVID.

  • Here's something cool: 1-minute video of Herbstreit calling a Sugar Bowl play from his COVID command center.

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