Cougars Conquer DIII Baseball

Plus: NCAA Plans for Stopping Student Employment. PROP Decisions for football, ice hockey and basketball.

JUNE 7, 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. Cougars Conquer DIII Baseball

The Misericordia University baseball team captured the first national title in school history with a 10-5 win over Wisconsin-Whitewater at the NCAA DIII World Series, Thursday afternoon in Eastlake, Ohio.

After dropping a 16-10 decision in game two of the three-game series, the Cougars opened the final game with a seven-run first inning and never looked back.

Gabe Bunn was 4-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored, including a three-run double in the first inning, while Joe Comins, Jason Sanfilippo and Owen Cordner all added two hits.

Connor Maryniak scattered 11 hits over 7.1 innings to pick up the win and Matt Lanzendorfer retired the final five batters to nail down the win.


2. How the NCAA Plans to Stop Employment in Its Tracks After Settlement

by Amanda Christovich, Front Office Sports

“In May, the NCAA and power conferences agreed to settle the House v. NCAA lawsuit—conceding, for the first time in college sports history, to share revenue between schools and players. But now, the NCAA is hoping to use the settlement to end an even bigger debate: whether athletes should be considered school employees.

Because the settlement doesn’t address the athlete employment question, however, it doesn’t protect the NCAA from the three ongoing cases arguing athletes should be considered employees, co-counsel Steve Berman confirmed to Front Office Sports.

The NCAA hopes to resolve this indirectly. Since 2019, the NCAA and power conferences have waged a multimillion-dollar lobbying campaign in Congress to reverse the athletes’ rights movement by granting an antitrust protection (giving the NCAA the power to enforce compensation rules) and by deeming athletes amateurs. The NCAA hopes Congress will see the House settlement as an earnest attempt to make major reforms to college sports—and that Congress should step in so they wouldn’t have to make more. President Charlie Baker and the power conference commissioners even went so far as to call it a “roadmap” for legislation.”

» Court Awareness. “As part of the settlement, plaintiff lawyers have agreed to help the NCAA with that lobbying effort—but they likely won’t go as far as the NCAA would like. Berman says he and fellow counsel Jeffrey Kessler would be willing to argue that Congress should grant a limited antitrust exemption to allow the NCAA to cap revenue sharing, for example. But they won’t help the NCAA in its main goal of getting broad antitrust protections and have not agreed to lobby against athlete employment status.”

» Quotable. "Any federal legislation to single out college athletes to be denied the same employee status, rights and hourly pay as fellow students in work study-style programs (e.g., student employees in dining halls, libraries—even selling popcorn at NCAA games) would be unconstitutional on Equal Protection grounds,” says Paul McDonald, one of the attorneys on the Johnson v. NCAA federal court case over athlete employment status.

3. Commercial Sponsor Advertisements Approved For All Regular-Season Football Games

by Greg Johnson, NCAA

“On a recommendation from the Football Rules Committee, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Thursday approved allowing commercial sponsor advertisements on football fields for regular-season games in all three divisions, starting with the 2024 season.

Under the new rule, the corporate advertisements can be placed in three spots on the field: A single advertisement centered on the 50-yard line is allowed in addition to no more than two smaller flanking advertisements elsewhere on the field. This could be done on a game-by-game basis or for the whole season.

One rationale for the rule change is to align regular-season games in home stadiums with those already existing advertisement allowances for games played in the postseason bowl games and neutral-site games.”

» What They’re Saying. “"This change allows schools to generate additional income to support student-athletes," NCAA President Charlie Baker said. "I'm pleased that we could find flexibility within our rules to make this happen for member schools."

4. PROP Makes Calls on Ice Hockey, Hoops Rule Changes

“The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Thursday approved an adjustment to the rules for checking from behind and contact to the head to provide game officials additional options when adjudicating these penalties in men's and women's ice hockey for the 2024-25 season. The new rule provides guidance and additional levels of penalty options for on-ice officials.”

PROP also “approved adding a one-game suspension to the ejection of women's basketball players, coaches or bench personnel who make physical contact or threaten referees. The rules book already defines a violation as occurring when anyone "disrespectfully contacts an official or makes a threat of physical intimidation or harm, to include pushing, shoving, spitting or attempting to make physical contact with an official."

And in both men’s and women’s basketball, PROP “expanded video replay review which will include whether a player's foot last touching the court was inbounds on a made shot before time expired. If the player's foot is determined to be out of bounds, officials will put the exact time of the violation on the game clock. However, if the shot is made and time remains on the game clock, a video review would not occur.”

5. Lightning Round

» 🗞️ News. “Financially struggling Clarks Summit University temporarily furloughed all employees to help close a budget gap, university President James Lytle announced Wednesday. The university is not closing and is planning for a 2024-25 academic year, according to Lytle's announcement posted on the college's website.

6. Comings and Goings

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