Queens of the Diamond

Plus: The BSC Documentary. Men's Tennis Academic All-America. SCIAC Teams With FloSports

JUNE 6, 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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» 🗓️ What’s Happening Today. The Playing Rules Oversight Panel will discuss possible changes in basketball, bowling, fencing and wrestling. And the DIII baseball season comes to a close with one or two games today in Ohio.

1. Queens of the Diamond

East Texas Baptist captured its second NCAA Division III softball championship, rebounding from an opening-game loss to take a pair of decisions from Belhaven, 8-2 and 9-5, to win the best-of-3 series.

The Tigers broke open a 3-1 game with a five-spot in the bottom of the fifth, fueled by home runs from Madalyn Melton and Tristen Maddox. Melton wrapped things up in the circle to even the series, scattering five hits and surrendering just two runs in a complete-game victory.

ETBU started fast in the finale, striking for four runs in the bottom of the first with three coming on a Haylie Stum round-tripper. The Blazers pulled within one run in both the top of second and third innings, but could get no closer. The Tigers put it away with two in the sixth on extra-base hits from Courtney White and Emma Bell and Avery Holland put down Belhaven in the final frame for ETBU’s first title since 2010.

2. Birmingham-Southern Panthers’ Final Days To Become a Documentary: ‘They Really Did Become America’s Team’

by Kennington Smith III, The Athletic

“Birmingham-Southern baseball had one final choice to make.

Its dream run to the NCAA Division III World Series came to an end in a heartbreaking walk-off finish. The next few hours were filled with emotion: a final curtain call with program alumni joining current players on the field, a teary postgame locker room, media sessions and the hardest of all as the players and coaches had to clean out the dugout for the last time.

It was Birmingham-Southern’s final baseball game as the school closed for good on May 31. The final official act as a team was deciding how it would get back to Birmingham from East Lake, Ohio (the NCAA covers transportation costs for World Series teams).

Bus or plane? It was an easy decision.”

» Situational Awareness. “Players approached longtime coach Jan Weisberg with a request: to bus 12 hours home instead of taking a flight. The reason? To have one last ride with each other. “(The players were saying), ‘We just want to be together for another day,’” Jason Sciavicco said of the scene. Sciavicco has had a special view of Birmingham-Southern’s final days. He’s the executive producer of Blue Eyes Entertainment, a production company that secured rights to film the Panthers’ World Series run. Sciavicco and a team of 15 crew members documented the team’s final two and half weeks of existence, and now the crew will turn those moments into a feature documentary that will be completed “as soon as possible.”

» What They’re Saying. “They really did become America’s team,” Sciavicco said. “You couldn’t turn on the TV without someone talking about them. I think it’s because the story was so pure. Here’s a group of kids playing D-III baseball, and their school is closing. They were 13-10 when they found out their school was closing (in March). How easy would it have been to mail it in? Instead, they finished the season 25-4 and went on a run.”

» What’s Next. “The strongest emotions were yet to come. That happened back home in Birmingham when the team arrived on campus Monday night. The atmosphere can best be described as a ghost town: very few if any cars, big dumpsters in front of buildings and offices cleared out. Birmingham-Southern College is closed, but the story of what’s next for so many is only just beginning.”

3. How to Solve College Sports’ Gender Discrimination Problem

by Pamela Seidenman, Sportico

“Most people believe that women’s college sports deserve fair treatment. But they aren’t getting it—and it’s not even close.

As reported in Sportico, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) just released a report on college sports that found that 93% of all colleges don’t give women proportional opportunities to play sports, one of the goals of Title IX. It also found that the Department of Education, which is responsible for ensuring that schools treat men and women equally and comply with Title IX, is falling down on the job. While these problems are long-standing, and threaten to become worse due to revenue sharing, there are some new solutions.”

» Reality Check. “There is another reason for this ongoing discrimination, and this one is fixable. Very few are aware of the scale and prevalence of the inequities. Every year, colleges are required to report to the Department of Education on athletic participation and spending, broken down by gender. This data is publicly available—in a spreadsheet that is over 500 columns wide. That’s not exactly user-friendly. The result is that there has been no transparency into how any college is treating its women athletes. In fact, hundreds of colleges report that they are not in Title IX compliance, and nothing happens.”

» The Bottom Line. “I created a Gender Equity Dashboard using the data that colleges report to the Department of Education. The Gender Equity Dashboard makes it easy to understand that treatment on an individual college level. Are women getting a fair share of spots on teams and athletic scholarships? How does spending on recruiting and overall spending on men’s and women’s sports compare? The Dashboard lets you quickly find the answers for any college. It also explains how Title IX works and what actions anyone can take to help women athletes get the equality they deserve.”


4. MIT’s Kahler Headlines Academic All-America Net Squad

“A standout on the court and in the classroom, MIT’s Kailas Kahler was named the Academic All-American of the Year for DIII men’s tennis.

He was selected as the NEWMAC Player of the Year and finished 14th in the ITA DIII singles rankings. The senior from Pawtucket, R.I., compiled a 4.00 GPA as an electrical engineering and computer science major.

The seven members of the first team have an average GPA of 3.95.

First Team

Kailas Kahler, MIT, Sr., 4.00, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Vishwu Aduru, Case Western, Sr., 3.96, Computer Science & Economics
Sahil Dayal, Case Western Reserve, Sr., 4.00, Economics
Ajay Mahenthiran, Case Western Reserve, Jr., 4.00, Biology
Arjun Asokumar, Chicago, Sr., 3.90, Economics
Joey Barrett, Colby, Sr., 4.00, Economics & Educational Studies
Advik Mareedu, Claremont-M-S, So., 3.85, Computer Science

5. SCIAC Partners With FloSports

“The Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) has announced that it has entered into a multi-year media rights agreement with FloSports, a global sports media company, making it the exclusive digital platform for the SCIACtv Network beginning with the 2024-25 academic year.

The SCIAC becomes the third Division III conference partnering with FloSports after the Landmark Conference announced an agreement in July 2023.

Over the length of the five-year partnership FloSports will stream all live and on-demand SCIAC events, including the conference’s 21 championships. The SCIAC and FloSports have developed a shared vision for enhancing broadcast production standards and athletics communication efforts across all nine member institutions, with FloSports providing annual investment in the conference and each member.”

» What They’re Saying. “This agreement provides opportunities to enhance our conference and institutional efforts to provide a quality streaming experience for our student-athletes, alumni, family and fans,” said SCIAC Executive Director Jenn Dubow. This is a direction DIII is headed as a whole and the SCIAC will continue to position itself as a leading conference while ensuring we maintain a primary focus on our student-athlete experience in all endeavors."

6. Lightning Round

» 🥍 Lacrosse (M). The NCAA Men's Lacrosse Rules Committee has proposed modifying the video review criteria so coaches can make challenges using the previously approved situations within the criteria at any point in the game, effective for the 2025 season.

» 🗞️ News. “U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona denied claims on Thursday that the long-awaited Title IX athletics final rule is being delayed because of the presidential election.”

7. Comings and Goings

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