Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Mind Over Matter


written by STEVE ULRICH
your must-read briefing on what's driving the day in NCAA Division III
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1. Mind Over Matter

Bears Basketball vs. Emory
by Jeff Tracy, Axios

"March Madness unearths stories from smaller schools every year, and perhaps none are better than this.

>> What's happening: Justin Hardy, 22, was diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer last spring as he neared the end of his junior year at D-III Washington University in St. Louis. Instead of giving up, he played nearly the entire season even as aggressive treatment ravaged his body.

  • And he absolutely balled, leading the 24th-ranked Bears in scoring (11.1 ppg) and earning first-team all-conference honors in the University Athletic Association.
  • Just last month, days after finding out his cancer had spread to his colon, Hardy dropped a career-high-tying 28 points in a pivotal win over Case Western.
  • Weeks later on Senior Day, unable to walk without pain, he entered for the final 30 seconds and scored an uncontested layup in a win over the University of Chicago.

>> What they're saying: "We're our best version of ourselves when he's with us," says coach Pat Juckem. Seeing Hardy on the floor, and hearing him speak about life, makes it easy to understand why.

  • "There's no piece of me that was gonna half-ass this," Hardy told ESPN. "This is me living my life regardless of the circumstances. If this isn't beating it, I don't know what is."
  • Hardy's reason for putting himself through such a grueling season was simple and profound: "Because it's what I love."

>> Watch: Mind over Matter (YouTube)


2. Congress Seeks to Overhaul Infractions
by Ross Dellenger, Sports Illustrated

"For years now, college coaches, athletes and administrators have skewered the NCAA for an infractions process they say is unfair, dawdling and lacking transparency.

Turns out, at least two U.S. senators feel the same.

This week, senators Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) and Cory Booker (D., N.J.) will introduce a bipartisan bill, the NCAA Accountability Act of 2021, that establishes strict requirements of the long-maligned NCAA infractions process, overhauling the operation by involving the Department of Justice and the U.S. attorney general."

>> Court Awareness: "The 10-page bill, obtained by Sports Illustrated and scheduled for release later Tuesday, is an attempt to streamline, shorten and bring greater equity to an NCAA investigative arm that has drawn harsh criticism from virtually every corner of college athletics. It has now caught the ire of high-ranking congressional leaders at a time when the college sports industry has faced its most extreme scrutiny. Just in the last two years, lawmakers have held more than a half dozen hearings over what they deem to be injustices within the industry. In fact, four Democratic Congress members are set to hold a virtual summit Wednesday about what they call “gross inequities” in college sports."

>> What's Next: "The bill’s introduction comes at a revolutionary time in college athletics. An athletes’ rights movement has generated sweeping changes to decades-old NCAA policies governing athlete compensation (NIL) and transfer movement. Certain entities, in both the courts and with the National Labor Relations Board, are fighting for college athletes to be deemed employees, something that many experts say should be considered a serious possibility."

>> What They're Saying: “The NCAA has a well-established history of back room deliberations that produce unfair punishments for athletes, coaches, and universities,” Blackburn said in a statement to SI. “With the emergence of new name, image, and likeness rules, it is more important than ever to address the systematic failures that have eroded league fairness. The NCAA Accountability Act will establish much-needed due process and shine a light on unfair treatment from NCAA leadership.”

>> Read More


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3.   Pioneers Stake Hold on No. 1

Ryan Hill, Methodist

Marietta remained atop the rankings, while LaGrange, Rowan and North Central made moves in the top 10.

  1. Marietta (21), 15-3
  2. Birmingham-Southern (2), 18-5
  3. Eastern Connecticut, 12-2
  4. LaGrange (2), 20-2
  5. Lynchburg, 17-4
  6. Cortland, 16-6
  7. Rowan, 11-4
  8. North Central, Ill., 13-5
  9. Baldwin Wallace, 13-2
  10. UW-Whitewater, 8-3

>> Hit Leaders: Joe Ruth (LaGrange) 48, Spence johns (Berry) 44, Jack Thomson (Lewis & Clark) 44, Spencer Nelson (Methodist) 42, Preston Ludwick (Centenary, La.) 41

>> Win Leaders: Ryan Hill (Methodist) 6, Chris Baumann (Wilson) 6, Sayers Collins, (East Texas Baptist) 6, Jack Hodgins (Hendrix) 6, Sean Holt (La Verne) 6.

>> Complete Poll

    4. Captains Remain Atop Poll

    Ashlyn Strother (photo by Bryce Hayes)
    Ashlyn Strother, Texas Lutheran

    Christopher Newport remained No. 1 in the latest NFCA softball coaches poll, while Randolph-Macon jumped five spots into the top 10.

    1. Christopher Newport (10), 23-1
    2. Salisbury, 24-2
    3. Texas Lutheran, 23-4
    4. Birmingham-Southern, 21-4
    5. Belhaven, 20-3
    6. Randolph-Macon, 17-2
    7. East Texas Baptist, 20-6
    8. Eastern Connecticut, 13-3
    9. Virginia Wesleyan, 17-6
    10. DePauw, 11-5
    >> Hits LeadersCasey Martin (Texas Lutheran) 42, Devin Waddell (Pomona-Pitzer) 41, Tristen Maddon (ETBU) 39, Mari Foster (Pacific Lutheran) 38, Allie Gordon (Belhaven) 38, Courtney White (ETBU) 38.

    >> Wins LeadersAshlyn Strother (Texas Lutheran) 12, Hailee Bryan (Birmingham-Southern) 12, Tayah Kelley (Linfield) 12, four tied with 11.

    >> Complete Poll

    5.   Lightning Round  

      Colby junior attacker Annie Eddy and Washington and Lee GK Caroline Kranich were named the IWLCA Division III Players of the Week.

      Linfield senior Keaton Wood and Messiah senior Esther Seeland were named National Athletes of the Week by the USTFCCCA.

      Skidmore P/1B Hannah Davis and Mary Washington P Caitlyn Burch captured the NFCA Player and Pitcher of the Week awards.

      Do you know of someone celebrating a birthday soon? Drop us a line at



      6.  Comings and Goings
      1 THING

      7.  What-A-Burger

      Meet the six-minute burger grilled by robotic hands in a mall. Photo: RoboBurger

      A company called RoboBurger is out with a machine that will make you a burger with custom toppings in six minutes for $6.99, Axios' Jennifer A. Kingson reports in What's Next.

      The first RoboBurger machine was just installed in the Newport Centre Mall in Jersey City, New Jersey.

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