Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Year of Upheaval and Transformation


written by STEVE ULRICH
your must-read briefing on what's driving the day in NCAA Division III
>> Hello Tuesday. Let's talk DIII.

>> Today's Word Count: 1,629. About six minutes but well worth it.

>> Thanks for reading D3Playbook. It was my pleasure to bring this newsletter to you throughout 2021. Here's to a better 2022 for all!

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1. Year of Upheaval and Transformation

by Ralph Russo, Associated Press

"From court losses to political pressure to questions about how — and if — athletes should be compensated, the NCAA and college sports have faced all sorts of potential existential threats for more than 100 years.

The difference in 2021 was volume. It was as if a century’s worth of issues fell on college sports all at once.

Lawmakers took aim at the NCAA, undercutting its ability to govern. The Supreme Court issued a scathing rebuke of the so-called collegiate model. Internally, a new era of athlete empowerment was clumsily ushered in with all sorts of unintended consequences. Another wave of conference realignment swept through college sports, causing disruptions and distrust among its leaders.

“I think it is unquestionably an unprecedented potential crisis the NCAA is facing today,” said Gabe Feldman, the director of Tulane University’s sports law program."

>> Court Awareness: "If 2021 was about upheaval in college sports, 2022 will be largely defined by reform. College sports leaders will attempt to redefine the NCAA. The goal is to shift power away from the national governing body to conferences and schools, while still maintaining the association; To be more accommodating to the wide-ranging goals and needs of a wildly diverse membership, while still remaining tethered through competition."

>> Between The Lines: "For Divisions II and III that will mean little change. In Division I, which is comprised of 350 schools that compete in the NCAA’s biggest championship events — such as the March Madness basketball tournaments — the transformation could be radical."

>> What's Next: "A restructuring or reimagining of the NCAA and its top division is in many ways a chance for the leaders of college sports to prove to lawmakers, judges, athletes and — to some extent — each other that college sports can manage its own house."

>> Be Smart: "Core questions need to be asked about what schools should be in Division I. Is there a need for a new division that provides even more autonomy and power to the wealthiest schools and conferences? And if so, will smaller schools be squeezed out of the marquee championship events by shrinking access or the inability to keep up as the most powerful schools play by their own rules? Or both?"

>> Continue Reading


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2. Memories of John Madden

Wittenberg head coach Dave Maurer, left, and CBS announcers John Madden and Pat Summerall talk during practice the week of Wittenberg’s nationally-televised game against Baldwin-Wallace in Springfield in 1982. File photo
by David Jablonski, Journal-News

"The news of John Madden’s death on Tuesday brought back memories of Madden for people in Springfield. A Super Bowl-winning coach with the Raiders who became a NFL broadcasting legend, Madden, 85, died unexpectedly, according to reports.

In 1982, Madden and broadcast partner Pat Summerall visited Wittenberg University during the NFL strike to call a game between the Tigers and Ohio Athletic Conference rival Baldwin Wallace. The game was played on a Sunday, Oct. 3, and aired on CBS in 65 percent of its markets: almost all of the East and West coasts, all of the Midwest and much of the Southwest. Only five markets, including Columbus, declined to air the game.

The idea to call games at the lower levels that fall came about because Madden and Summerall were tired of sitting around the studio talking about the strike, which started after the Week 2 games on Sept. 19 and lasted 57 days, reducing the 16-game season to nine games."

>> Situational Awareness: "CBS decided on the Tuesday before the game to go to Springfield. Wittenberg and B-W agreed to move the game from Saturday to Sunday."

>> Take The Long Way Home: "Madden took a 14-hour train ride from Grand Central State in New York to Toledo and then rented a car for the three-hour ride to Springfield."

>> The Key Stat: "As for the game itself, Baldwin Wallace won 16-14 in front of a crowd of 5,438. Wittenberg ran 36 more plays and gained 151 more yards but had a punt blocked, committed two turnovers and twice failed to gain a first down on fourth-and-short, once at the Baldwin Wallace 1-yard line. Wittenberg finished 7-2 that season. Baldwin Wallace finished 10-1 and beat Ohio Northern 24-0 in the OAC championship game."

>> Read More


    3.  Spectators Not Welcome

    Unfortunately, the first story of 2022 centers around COVID-19 and its impact on Division III athletics. A large number of contests were postponed or canceled Monday and more will be on the way. As teams conclude non-conference play and prepare for league competition, what will conferences do regarding postponements? Can contests be rescheduled in the small window available? Should they?

    As of this morning, it appears that colleges and universities are prepared to continue athletic competition, as an ever-growing list of schools moves to remote and/or online instruction for the start of January.

    Many schools are moving to a restriction or prohibition on spectators. 

    Restricted (22)
    These schools are mostly restricting spectators to those within the college community or those on a pass list.

    Connecticut (3): Connecticut College, Trinity, Wesleyan
    Illinois (2)Illinois College, Lake Forest
    Indiana (1): Earlham

    Maine (3): Bates, Bowdoin, Colby
    Minnesota (1)St. Olaf
    Massachusetts (5): Amherst, MIT, Smith, Tufts, Williams
    New York (4)Bard, Hamilton, Hunter, RPI
    Pennsylvania (1)Franklin & Marshall
    Vermont (1): Middlebury
    Wisconsin (1)Carroll

    Must Show Proof of Vaccination or Recent Test (8)
    These schools are mostly restricting spectators to those who can display proof a vaccination/booster or a recent COVID-19 negative test.

    Illinois (2): Augustana, North Park
    Massachusetts (1): Brandeis
    New York (4): Baruch, Hartwick, RIT, Union
    Ohio (1): Denison

    No Spectators Until Further Notice (39)
    These schools are prohibiting all spectators as we understand.

    California (1): Chapman
    Connecticut (3)Eastern Connecticut, Mitchell, Western Connecticut
    Georgia (1): Emory
    Illinois (1): Knox
    Maine (1)Maine Maritime
    Maryland (1): Goucher
    Massachusetts (7)Clark, Dean, EmersonMass-Boston, MCLA, Simmons, WPI
    Missouri (1): Washington U.
    New Jersey (1): Ramapo
    New York (13)Brooklyn, Farmingdale State, Manhattanville, Maritime, Mount St. MaryMount Saint VincentOld Westbury, PurchaseSt. Joseph's (Brooklyn)St. Joseph's (L.I.)Sarah Lawrence, SUNY Poly, Yeshiva
    Ohio (1): Hiram
    Pennsylvania (3)Bryn AthynDickinsonEastern, Swarthmore, Widener
    Tennessee (1): Rhodes
    Virginia (1)Mary Baldwin

    The list is not complete nor comprehensive.


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    4.  Unanimous #1's

    Madie Leidt, Middlebury (photo by Will Costello)

    Adrian received all 20 first-place votes to earn the unanimous No. 1 position in the latest USCHO.com Division III men's ice hockey poll. And Middlebury garnered all 15 first-place ballots to receive the unanimous top spot in the women's ice hockey poll.


    1. Adrian (20), 12-1
    2. Geneseo, 11-1-1
    3. Utica, 9-2
    4. Augsburg, 11-2
    5. Hobart, 9-2-1
    6. Babson, 8-1-2
    7. Wilkes, 9-2
    8. Norwich, 6-1-4
    9. Endicott, 8-2-1
    10. U. of New England, 8-1-1
    Games We're Watching (hopefully)
    • No. 2 Geneseo vs. Stevenson
    • No. 3 Utica vs. No. 14 Curry
    • No. 4 Augsburg vs. No. 13 UW-Stevens Point
    • No. 5 Hobart vs. No. 8 Norwich
    • No. 11 Aurora vs. No. 12 St. Norbert
    • No. 15 Elmira vs. New England College

    1. Middlebury (15), 7-0
    2. Plattsburgh State, 10-2
    3. UW-Eau Claire, 13-1
    4. Elmira, 10-2-1
    5. UW-River Falls, 10-1
    6. Gustavus Adolphus, 9-2
    7. Norwich, 7-3
    8. Nazareth, 12-0
    9. Adrian, 7-2-1
    10. Endicott, 9-2-1
    Games We're Watching (hopefully)
    • No. 1 Middlebury vs. No. 10 Endicott
    • No. 3 UW-Eau Claire vs. St. Norbert
    • No. 4 Elmira vs. No. 7 Norwich
    • No. 6 Gustavus Adolphus vs. No. 9 Adrian
    • Colby vs. Wesleyan

    5.  Back On Top

    Randolph-Macon took advantage of Yeshiva's first loss of the season to ascend to the top spot of the D3hoops.com men's basketball poll. And while the Yellow Jackets were on the move, the Hope Flying Dutch stayed put for the 13th consecutive time atop the women's poll


    1. Randolph-Macon (15), 10-1
    2. UW-Platteville (9), 13-0
    3. Illinois Wesleyan (1), 9-2
    4. UW-Oshkosh, 12-1
    5. Yeshiva, 14-1
    6. St. Joseph's, Conn., 8-0
    7. Washington, Mo., 10-1
    8. Marietta, 8-2
    9. Wheaton, Ill., 11-2
    10. Christopher Newport, 13-2
    Games We're Watching (hopefully)
    • No. 3 Illinois Wesleyan vs. No. 14 Elmhurst
    • No. 6 Wheaton, Ill. vs. North Park
    • No. 11 UW-La Crosse vs. UW-Stout
    • No. 22 Hardin-Simmons vs. LeTourneau
    About Last Night
    • No. 23 Wesleyan improved to 12-1 with a 94-88 triple-overtime win at Amherst (8-2). Sam Peek led the Cardinals with 36 points.
    • It was the second-longest game of the DIII season, tied with Alvernia and Stevenson's triple OT thriller on December 4.
    • Brandeis and Tufts went five extra periods on Dec. 4 before the Judges pulled out a 108-102 decision.

    1. Hope (25), 11-0
    2. Christopher Newport, 13-0
    3. Amherst, 7-0
    4. Transylvania, 10-0
    5. Whitman, 10-1
    6. Simpson, 11-1
    7. Trine, 10-2
    8. UW-Whitewater, 11-1
    9. Tufts, 8-1
    10. UW-Eau Claire, 11-2
    Games We're Watching (hopefully)
    • No. 8 UW-Whitewater vs. No. 18 UW-Oshkosh
    • No. 3 Amherst vs. Babson
    • No. 9 Tufts vs. Smith
    • No. 10 UW-Eau Claire vs. UW-Platteville
    • Wheaton, Ill. vs. North Park
    Scoring The Basketball
    • Birmingham-Southern leads DIII in scoring offense at 95.8 and has hit the century mark in five games. Christopher Newport (93.3) has also reached 100 points five times.

    6.  Comings and Goings
    • ELIZABETHTOWN - Cecilia M. McCormick resigned as president
    1 THING

    7.  Bye-Bye, BlackBerry

    Why Blackberry is discontinuing service for classic devices
    by Jaclyn Diaz, NPR

    "That old BlackBerry buried in the bottom drawer along with loose batteries and forgotten chargers won't work anymore starting on Tuesday.

    The company behind the once ubiquitous devices reminded customers that on Jan. 4 it will stop running legacy services for its BlackBerry 7.1 operating system and earlier BlackBerry 10 software, as well as its Playbook OS 2.1 and earlier versions. This means devices using this old software will no longer reliably function, including for data, text messaging and phone calls, including to 911, BlackBerry said.

    It's a change that has been a long time coming."

    >> Worth Noting: "Owning a BlackBerry was once considered a status symbol among politicians, business leaders and everyday users. Customers largely abandoned the device and its full external keyboard and small (by today's standard) screen once smartphones came on the scene."

    >> Continue Reading

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