Belhaven One Win Away

Plus: Cougars Down UWW, House Settlement Has Google Issues, Zhou Headlines Academic A-A Tennis Squad

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JUNE 5, 2024 | written by STEVE ULRICH

The news that you need to know about non-scholarship college athletics and those that love it.
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1. Belhaven One Win Away

Ellie Jones, Belhaven

Ellie Jones delivered a two-run single in the bottom of the fifth to give Belhaven the lead for good as the Blazers downed East Texas Baptist, 4-3, in the opening game of the best 2-of-3 DIII softball championship series.

Trailing 2-0 with two out in the top of the fifth, SS Tristen Maddox blasted a home run to right field, plating three runs to give the Tigers a one-run lead.

Jones, the first baseman, came through with the go-ahead single in the bottom half of the frame and Kennedy Carruth handled things from there, retiring the final six batters for the victory. The two clubs meet again today at noon ET with ETBU needing two wins to capture the crown.


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2. Misericordia Wins Slugfest

Gabe Bunn, Misericordia (photo by Ryan Coleman,

Misericordia pounded out 16 hits against six Wisconsin-Whitewater hurlers on its way to a 12-9 victory in the opening game of the DIII baseball championship series in Eastlake, Ohio.

Brock Bollinger and Gabe Bunn each had three safeties and Matt Lanzendorfer slammed the door on the Warhawks with 4.1 innings on one-run pitching for the win. Adam Cootway had three hits, including a double and homer for UWW.

The two teams are off today and resume the series on Thursday with the Cougars just one win away from a national crown.

3. NCAA Billion Dollar Settlement Faces Google Book Deal Hurdles

by Michael McCann, Sportico

“The future of college sports hinges on whether a 74-year-old judge approves or rejects a multibillion-dollar settlement to transform college sports into a pro sports model, with students paid to play, along with salary caps and other features that would fade whatever line still exists between college and the pros.

Don’t expect U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken to instantly grant approval.

In fact, there’s a real chance she could reject the deal.”

» Court Awareness. “Wilken likely won’t review the NCAA’s settlement of the House, Carter and Hubbard litigations for months, as there is no agreement yet to review. Attorneys for the NCAA, power conferences and players have negotiated a term sheet—a compact on big picture items—but still need to sort out details and communicate them to member schools and thousands of former and current DI athletes. The details matter, too. Whether the new model could unwittingly spawn new legal problems under Title IX, immigration, employment and other laws implicated by colleges paying athletes has sparked confusion and uncertainty.”

» Why It Matters. “Wilken could identify several problems. One is whether the settlement would too extensively restructure college sports. As some courts have held, a settlement shouldn’t reshape an entire industry. Just ask Google. In 2011, U.S. District (now Second Circuit) Judge Denny Chin, whose name might be familiar from Deflategate, rejected the “Google Book Settlement” on grounds it “would simply go too far.”

» Worth Noting. “One thing is for certain: Wilken is uniquely situated to review the settlement. She is arguably the most knowledgeable judge in America for NCAA antitrust issues. Wilken previously presided over Ed O’Bannon and Shawne Alston’s antitrust lawsuits. Her case docket has had NCAA antitrust cases for the last decade and a half. As NCAA, conference and athletes’ attorneys who have appeared before Wilken know well, they better bring their A games if they want their deal approved.”


4. Pomona-Pitzer’s Zhou Headlines Academic All-America Net Squad

“A standout on the court and in the classroom, Pomona-Pitzer’s Angie Zhou was named the Academic All-America Team Member of the Year as the College Sports Communicators announced its Academic All-America women’s tennis team. The junior from Ann Arbor, Mich., is a two-time SCIAC Player of the Year and won the 2023 DIII national singles title. She maintains a 3.89 GPA in computer science.

Nine of the 17 members of the Academic All-America® Division III women’s tennis teams boast a perfect 4.0 GPA in their undergraduate work or graduate school. The six members of the first team have an average GPA of 3.935.”

First Team

Angie Zhou, Pomona-Pitzer, Jr., 3.89, Computer Science
Lily McCloskey, Case Western Reserve, Jr., 4.00, Biomedical Engineering
Rena Lin, Chicago, Grad, 4.00/4.00, Program Humanities
Hannah Kassaie, Case Western Reserve, Jr., 4.00, Nutrition
Mary Beth Hurley, Johns Hopkins, Grad, 3.92/3.80, Nursing
Erica Ekstrand, Williams, Sr., 3.80, History

5. PAC Announces Football Divisional Play, Championship Game in 2025

“With the addition of a 12th football program in 2025-26, the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) will begin football divisional play and hold a PAC Football Championship Game to conclude the regular season starting in the fall of 2025.

On April 23rd, 2024, the PAC announced Hiram College would return to the PAC and begin full athletic competition in the 2025-26 season, giving the conference 12 football-playing members. This will allow the league to form six-team North and South Divisions with crossover games beginning in 2025.

In addition, a PAC Football Championship Game will begin in 2025 with the North and South Division winners facing off in Week 11 every season. The winner of the PAC Football Championship Game will receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Playoffs.”

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