Cabrini To Close After 2024

Plus: United East, CSAC Merger Finalized; DIII And The Transfer Portal; Alvarez Tops At-Large Academic A-A Squad

JUNE 26, 2023 | written by STEVE ULRICH

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1. Cabrini To Close After 2024

by Susan Snyder, Philadelphia Inquirer

“Villanova University has reached a tentative agreement to buy the nearby campus of the cash-strapped Cabrini University, which will close at the end of the next academic year in June 2024, the presidents of both institutions told The Inquirer.

Cabrini, a 66-year-old Catholic institution, like Villanova, had been exploring partnerships and merger possibilities, but given a deficit that had grown to more than $10 million in its approximate $45 million budget, Cabrini President Helen Drinan said closure was the path the school needed to take.

While Villanova hasn’t decided what it will do with the 112-acre Cabrini campus, which is about two miles away in Radnor, the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, Villanova’s president, said it will continue to be known as Villanova’s Cabrini campus as a way to preserve the school’s legacy. There are also plans for the establishment of a “Cabrini Scholars” program.”

» Backstory: “Drinan said Cabrini, which currently enrolls about 1,200 undergraduates and 300 graduate students, along with Villanova, will help students transfer to other institutions to complete their education and in the fall will have one-on-one meetings with students to discuss possibilities. Cabrini will graduate its final class of students in May 2024.”

» Reality Check:Cabrini had $49 million in debt as of last June, according to its audited financial statement. It’s possible that municipal bond debt would be repaid with proceeds from the sale. Much needs to be worked out, such as how Cabrini’s $38 million endowment would be transferred to Villanova.”

» What They’re Saying: “I feel very optimistic about this agreement that we have made,” Drinan said, emphasizing that Villanova is equipped to sustain Cabrini’s mission and legacy. “At the same time, I am totally sensitive to the emotional impact that this is going to have on people. ... It’s going to be hard for a long time.”


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2. United East, CSAC Finalize Merger

“Following an initial announcement of an intent to merge in December, the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) and the United East Conference will officially merge and begin operating as one entity, effective July 1, 2023.

The merged conference will retain the United East Conference name and brand. The accelerated timeline of this endeavor led conference leaders to evaluate retaining one of the two current conference names to ensure completion of the merger by the desired deadline. With some reservations around the continued use of the term "colonial", moving forward with the United East Conference name and brand helps reflect a message of inclusivity throughout the league. This also allows the merged conference to capitalize on the United East's comprehensive rebrand in 2021, which includes a full suite of institutional and sport-specific championship marks.”

» The Big Picture: “The conference will sponsor 20 sports in the 2023-24 academic year, which will serve as a transition year as the two current conferences work towards full integration. Conference leaders agreed to utilize previously approved league schedules for widely sponsored sports with the following sports playing in a divisional model: men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, softball, and women’s tennis.

The aforementioned sports will play a regular season schedule in divisions that are composed of former conference members before crowning a division champion. The division champions will meet in a crossover championship to determine the recipient of the conference’s automatic qualifier for the NCAA Tournament.”

» Between The Lines: “The conference will be led by Stephanie Dutton, who has served as the United East Commissioner since August 2019. Assistant Commissioners Jake Ayers, Sam Carges, and Tone Cockrell will round out the conference office staff. Marie Stroman has decided to pursue other opportunities outside the CSAC/United East. Her last day with the conference will be July 31.”

» What They’re Saying: ““The merger of these two athletic conferences has been a gratifying process,” shared Dr. Todd Williams of Cairn University, chair of the Presidents Council. “All who have been a part of this process believe it will benefit our student-athletes and institutions tremendously.”

3. Transfer Portal Puts D-III In Crosshairs

Corey Zientek, Scranton (photo by ZJ Morse)

by Donnie Collins, Scranton Times-Tribune

Something happened on the local college baseball scene last week that even those who follow the sport never see.

Corey Zientek, a star outfielder at the University of Scranton, committed to continue his college career next spring at Coastal Carolina, a Sun Belt Conference power that pulled off one of the more unlikely success stories in college baseball history seven years ago, overcoming traditional SEC and Pac-12 powers to win the 2016 College World Series.” 

» Field Awareness:What's different is, he's doing this with two seasons of eligibility left and after his sophomore season of eligibility, albeit one in which he hit .430 with a ridiculous .516 on-base percentage, led the Royals in both home runs (6) and stolen bases (23), and used that speed to play a smooth center field.”

» Why It Matters:The transfer portal was built for a player like that to forge his own path. And it also puts a program like Scranton's at a bit of a crossroads. Does it want to build off of that, promote itself on the recruiting trail as a program that develops players from relative unknowns into potential draft picks? Or, does it want to stay more true to what it has always been, a program that competes for conference titles in Division III and largely lives by the ideals playing there has come to represent.”

» Quotable: "Everybody is running into it," Royals head coach Mike Bartoletti said. "It's almost like the Power 5s are recruiting the mid-majors, the mid-majors are recruiting the D-II, D-III kids, so it is kind of like a double-edged sword.”


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4. UT-Dallas’ Alvarez Named At-Large Academic All-America of Year

Recent graduate Karen Alvarez was selected as the At-Large Academic All-American of the Year as the College Sports Communicators announced their 2023 Academic All-America team.

Alvarez won the American Southwest Conference individual title and was a honorable mention All-America selection by the WGCA. She has a 4.00 grade point average in marketing and won the NCAA’s Elite 90 award.

Of the 45 student-athletes on the Division III at-large teams, 22 finished with a 4.00 cumulative GPA. The 16 first team members had a cumulative 3.99 GPA.

First Team

  • Payton Allen, Augsburg, Sr., Ice Hockey, 4.00, Exercise Science

  • Karen Alvarez, UT-Dallas, Sr., Golf, 4.00, Marketing

  • Cora Barrett, Wellesley, Sr., Rowing, 4.00, Physics/Mathematics

  • Abby Birk, Johns Hopkins, Grad., Field Hockey, 3.76/4.00, Public Health & Medicine / Science & the Humanities

  • Lilly Blair, Roanoke, Sr., Lacrosse, 4.00, Mathematics/Economics/ Actuarial Science

  • Kristiina Castagnola, Rowan, Grad., Field Hockey, 3.73/3.90, Higher Education Administration

  • Alyssa Delorme, Ursinus, Sr., Gymnastics, 3.98, Health & Exercise Science

  • Katie Fullowan, Gettysburg, Sr., Lacrosse, 3.99, Mathematical Economics

  • Ann-Frederique Guay, Norwich, Sr., Ice Hockey, 4.00, Mechanical Engineering

  • Liberty Ladd, MIT, Sr., Field Hockey, 4.00, Mechanical Engineering

  • Cooper McKenna, Claremont-M-S, Jr., Water Polo, 4.00, Biology

  • Lexi Onsrud, Illinois Wesleyan, Jr., Golf, 4.00, Health Promotion & Fitness Management

  • Devon Rosier, Springfield, Sr., Gymnastics, 3.98, Accounting

  • Jessica VonRuden, Adrian, Grad., Ice Hockey, 4.00, Accounting

  • Kayla Vrieze, Gustavus Adolphus, Sr., Ice Hockey, 3.99, Public Accounting

  • Tyra Wingle, DeSales, Sr., Field Hockey, 4.00, Sport & Exercise Physiology

5. Lightning Round ⚡️

🗞 News. The NCAA has selected its cohort for the 2023-24 Pathway Program, the yearlong initiative designed to prepare senior-level athletics administrators for the next career step as directors of athletics or conference commissioners. Division III representatives include Adele Burk (NESCAC), Doug Chin (GNAC), Chris Spells (Claremont-M-S), Erin Sullivan (UW-Stout), and Megan Wilson (Dubuque).

🎾 Tennis. has released its 2023-24 Division III rankings for men and women. Chicago tops the men’s list and the women’s list.

🗞 News. Simmons University, a women’s college in Boston, is considering cutting several liberal arts departments in an attempt to improve the college’s finances, The Boston Globe reported.

🗞 News. Money Magazine recognized seven Division III schools for prioritizing return on investment and graduation rates - Amherst, Berea, Caltech, Chicago, MIT, Massachusetts Maritime, and Williams.

6. Comings and Goings

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