Welcome To Your New Conference

Plus: College Cornhole Blossoms at Adrian; Academic A-A Men's T&F

JULY 3, 2023 | written by STEVE ULRICH

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»🎇 The First Monday of July. Happy FY 24 and Happy Fourth of July.

1. Welcome To Your New Conference

It is the first day of the new fiscal year at colleges and universities and the first weekday that conference membership changes take effect.

Here is a look at the changes around Division III.


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2. College Cornhole Blossoms At Adrian

by Tess DeMeyer, The Athletic

In the summer of 2021, Max Benedict worked as a manager at a campground in Frederic, Mich. I said, ‘You know what sucks? The only thing I like doing right now in my life is playing cornhole, and you can’t do that as a job,’” the 25-year-old said.

Months later, Indeed.com produced exactly that: Adrian College needed someone to lead its new cornhole team, which was already backed by Killshots Cornhole, a local bag and board manufacturer. On Christmas Eve of 2021, Benedict got the offer. By January, the first organized collegiate cornhole program with a full-time coach was taking shape. On Benedict’s first day, Mike Duffy, the former Adrian College athletic director who retired in June 2022 after 17 years at the helm of the Division III school, offered few words of encouragement for his newest hire.

“Here’s a desk. Make cornhole.”

» Situational Awareness: “To most, cornhole is a backyard game. But to a growing community of players in the American Cornhole League (ACL) who often travel across multiple states to face the nation’s best bag tossers in organized tournaments, it’s an intricately strategic battle that demands an ice-in-your-veins mentality you wouldn’t think necessary for throwing bead-filled bags at a slanted wooden board.”

» Why It Matters: “A year and a half after starting at Adrian College, Benedict is bringing cornhole to high schools around Adrian, with help from a midwestern supermarket chain. Meijer awarded a $20,000 grant to jumpstart the creation of a cornhole league in schools around the community, and it will culminate with a championship at Adrian College. Benedict also regularly fields calls from other colleges that are seeking advice on how to start their own programs, a resource he didn’t have on Day 1.”

» The Big Picture: “Reaching the peak of the collegiate cornhole scene, where national champions are awarded $2,500 for each event title they win and interviewed on ESPN, requires a level of practice and dedication akin to other sports recognized by the NCAA. Angel Camarena, reigning NCCC doubles champion, estimates that he played 30 hours a week in the two months leading up to the championship while still going to school full-time — 10 hours more than the NCAA allows athletes on varsity teams to practice.”

» What They’re Saying: “We’re trying to supply some equipment to universities big or small to help them get started,” ACL College executive director Tyler Key said. “Then we try to create an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome when they come to compete.”

3. MIT’s Kearney Named XC/T&F Academic All-America of Year

Recent MIT graduate Matthew Kearney was selected as the Men’s Track and Field/Cross Country Academic All-American of the Year as the College Sports Communicators announced their 2023 Academic All-America team.

An All-American in the 10,000, his performance helped the Engineers to their first-ever national track and field championship. An electrical engineering, computer science and philosophy major with a 4.00 GPA, Kearney is also a five-time All-Region honoree.

Division III led the four Academic All-America® teams with a 3.91 average GPA with the first team boasting a 3.97.

First Team

  • Sam Acquaviva, MIT, Sr., 3.92, Computer Science / Cognitive Science

  • Ryan Beard, Westminster (Pa.), Grad, 4.00, Business Administration

  • Jack Begley, Case Western Reserve, Sr., 4.00, Engineering Physics

  • Jeff Candell, Washington U., Sr., 3.98, Computer Science

  • Daniel Chen, Johns Hopkins, Sr., 3.93, Molecular & Cellular Biology

  • Ethan Domitrovich, John Carroll, Jr., 3.99, Exercise Science

  • Henry Hardart, MIT, Jr., 4.00, Chemistry / Biology

  • Ryan Harvey, Loras, Jr., 3.99, Politics / Philosophy

  • Steven Hermsen, Carroll, Grad., 3.97, Physical Therapy

  • Will Houser, Washington U., Jr., 4.00, Computer Science

  • Matthew Kearney, MIT, Sr., 4.00, Electrical Engineering / Computer Science / Philosophy

  • Connor Lancial, Wartburg, Sr., 4.00, Business Adm. / Accounting

  • Matthew Lecky, RPI, Sr., 3.96, Chemistry

  • Andrew McGovern, Carnegie Mellon, Jr., 3.97, Mechanical Engineering

  • Spencer Moore, Emory, Sr., 3.97, Political Science

  • Kenneth Wei, MIT, Sr., 3.84, Biological Engineering

4. Lightning Round ⚡️

🗞 News. The Mississippi College For Women has been approved for full membership in NCAA Division III. The Owls will become members of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

🗞 News. More than 206,000 viewers tuned in to watch the NCAA Division III football championship game in December. That number was the highest of all NCAA finals broadcast on ESPNU, exceeding the viewership of the DII football title game, as well as the DI men’s and women’s soccer finals.

5. Comings and Goings

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