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Messages - wally_wabash

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1
I don't see many situations where the MIAC will get two NCAA bids...am I wrong?

This is kind of an unprecedented situation.  We've seen the division + conference championship game format in the NEFC and MWC, but those conferences don't (or didn't) really produce contenders for at-large bids.  Those games have been all or nothing.  The MIAC certainly does regularly produce at-large contenders, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.  Some things that I think are certain:

- A1 and B1 playing each other twice every year double dips for SOS, which helps those teams wrt selection/seeding criteria
- the conference runner up getting swept in the season series probably dooms them, gaming of SOS notwithstanding
- the most likely candidate for at-large selection probably isn't the loser of the Week 11 championship game, but a one-loss divisional runner up (which sparks a debate that parallels debates we've all seen about the CFP and SEC divisional runners up)

We also don't know exactly how they're going to distribute conferences amongst the new regions when that expansion happens, and that's going to have an impact on the at-large process as well- in ways that are difficult to speculate on until we see how the new regions are grouped. 

2
North Region football / Re: FB: North Coast Athletic Conference
« on: May 28, 2020, 01:46:40 pm »
Might be useful to have the NCAC institutions Fall 2020 announcements aggregated in one place.  I'll update this post as more schools make announcements.  I don't believe, as of yet, that plans for athletics in general and football specifically have been addressed. 

Allegheny - Planning to return (May 28)
Denison - Planning to return, but with a much softer "commitment" to doing so.  (May 11)
DePauw - Planning to return (May 8)
Hiram - Planning to return, one week later than previously scheduled. (April 30)
Kenyon - Targeting Aug. 27 to return, with a Denisonian level of wait-and-see.  (May 26)
Oberlin - Planning to return, either as scheduled or maybe in October. (May 5)
Ohio Wesleyan - Appointed a task force (May 8)
Wabash - "Intends" to resume classes in the fall (May 8)
Wittenberg - Planning to resume (May 11)
Wooster - No commitment or announce of "planning" for resumption, but they are hopeful.  (May 28)

Right now, there's a lot of optimism and hopefulness in these statements, but not a lot of specifics.  I expect that these announcements will be superseded with something more concrete in the last half of June as schools really have to commit one way or another. 

Also worth noting is that nobody is talking about athletics in general and football specifically in their announcements.  Sports, I think, are a whole separate hill to climb after schools figure out whether or not they can have student residents. 

3
Do not knock Meatloaf!  His old high school was destroyed by a tornado that actually improved the building.  (I've worked at that school, and it was a mess.)  I think he was honored at a ceremony there a few years ago, and I am pretty sure he went unrecognized by almost everyone at the school.  I am still trying to find the one thing he would not do for love. 

That (But he won't do that). 

4
North Region football / Re: FB: North Coast Athletic Conference
« on: May 19, 2020, 06:20:15 pm »
I just read where Ohio Wesleyan had to make a number of deep cuts to staff and institutional programming. Sports-wise, they cut the women's rowing program that had only debuted in the fall of 2018.

For sure, and unfortunately, we are very likely going to start seeing more programs cut over these summer months.  Central Michigan University just announced they were cutting men's track and field and Furman cut baseball and men's lacrosse.  I believe we'll see this trend among some of the DIII schools as well, although to what extent and what specific sports, who knows?  IMO, though, I'm not sure how cutting sports like the women's rowing program and track and field saves that much money. Granted. those sports are not revenue generating ones, however, they certainly would be somewhat easier with attempts at controlling the coronavirus atmosphere with regard to individual athletes.

Anecdotally, way back when I was part of the student gov't committee that allocated funds to student groups and I remember Wabash's crew club to be one of the more expensive student groups to fund.  Boats are expensive!

5
I think it is when the plan isn't entirely contingent on circumstances changing.  ND and other schools gravitating toward this August-Thanksgiving fall term are banking on a lot of things changing and going right in the next eight-ten weeks in order to realize these plans.  The infrastructure they need to pull this off doesn't exist currently.

But again, ND can afford a futures bet on all of this panning out exactly the way they've plotted.  Far more schools, including a wide swath of our D-IIIs, cannot afford this particular gambit without more certainty. 

What?  They need to build classrooms?  Buy pens?  Pave extra parking lots?  What sort of infrastructure don't they have?  You don't need to make up problems.


Yes, pens.  That's exactly what we're talking about.  Come on. 

6
Notre Dame declared school open and on campus this fall.  The are starting two weeks sooner than originally planned, forego a fall break and end the semester at Thanksgiving for a long winter break.

The fine print is important:
Quote
The university said it is ready to "alter plans should a serious outbreak occur, or should it be unable to acquire what is needed for testing."

That's a heckuva hedge right there.  And not one that many, many other schools can afford to make.

"This is the plan unless circumstances change" isn't too unusual, is it?  That is the normally unstated rule for every plan ever created for anything, no?

I think it is when the plan isn't entirely contingent on circumstances changing.  ND and other schools gravitating toward this August-Thanksgiving fall term are banking on a lot of things changing and going right in the next eight-ten weeks in order to realize these plans.  The infrastructure they need to pull this off doesn't exist currently. 

But again, ND can afford a futures bet on all of this panning out exactly the way they've plotted.  Far more schools, including a wide swath of our D-IIIs, cannot afford this particular gambit without more certainty. 

7
Notre Dame declared school open and on campus this fall.  The are starting two weeks sooner than originally planned, forego a fall break and end the semester at Thanksgiving for a long winter break.

The fine print is important:
Quote
The university said it is ready to "alter plans should a serious outbreak occur, or should it be unable to acquire what is needed for testing."

That's a heckuva hedge right there.  And not one that many, many other schools can afford to make.

8
Here we go. The hot scoop.  The list of all stated intentions (or stated 'waiting to decide') status from every school which has made a statement so far.

https://www.chronicle.com/article/Here-s-a-List-of-Colleges-/248626

70% of schools are planning to have in-person classes this fall.  13% said they are still thinking about it.  8% have said online only (the California state university system in in here - so much for the PAC12 this season).  5% will have a hybrid system.  4.6% are thinking about different options on how they will teach but are returning.

In Minnesota we have BU, Concordia St-Paul and Mac have all declared they plan on doing in-person schooling this fall.  No school in MN has said they won't do in-person classes yet.  Let's hope the ball keeps rolling.

Week 1 USC plays Alabama in DFW and TCU is supposed to travel to Cal.  I have read discussions are in place to have TCU and Alabama play each other instead.  That would be some great post dove hunting TV.

As I understand it, it's just the Cal State system schools who have declared no fall on campus classes and no fall sports - think Fresno State, San Jose State, etc.. Univ of Cal system schools haven't made this determination yet - think Cal, UCLA, UC Davis, etc.

Not sure what kind of pressure the Cal State's decision puts on things for the U of Cal system. But the latter will have to navigate Cal state gov't direction/pressure with the PAC-12 member schools pressure.

A spokesperson for the UC system has said that it is unlikely that they will convene in full in the fall.  It certainly feels like the only thing holding up UC following CSU is a board meeting to make it official. 

9
So schools can be open and staggered seating etc...
Stage 3, says sports are allowed among pros with no crowd...discussion on pro sports, This could happen this fall...Will the SCIAC play?

Maybe?  I will say that I'm a shade more optimistic about fall sports in the SCIAC than I was a couple of days ago. 

I think there's still a pretty large gap to bridge before the residential schools in the league can be comfortable bringing their students back in August, but yesterday's announcements were at least a baby step or two in the right direction. 

10
General football / Re: Shenandoah, TX 2018-19 NCAA d3fb championships
« on: January 31, 2020, 06:25:34 pm »
Flight costs are going to bad no matter where the game is held, so the question is how much of D3 world is within some sort of driving distance of proposed sites.   If you put it in a location where 98% of teams/fans would have to fly (e.g. Texas, sad to say), vs. one where "only" 60-70% of teams/fans have to fly, that's a point in favor of the second site.

Very true but that really wasn't what Greg's critique seemed to be about, there was never a question that Shenandoah was far away from the rest of D3. However it seems unfair to blame them that flights the weekend before Christmas were a tad high to the two airports in the area.

Valid.  Definitely not the organizers' fault that travel costs at that time were high.  I do think that the dialogue around the convenience of putting the game near-ish a major metro area was overplayed, however.  Maybe not for everybody, and maybe it's my fault for not thinking through it all the way and taking that dialogue at face value, but in the end I don't think attending the game in Shenandoah was "easier" in the way that I think it was talked about being. 

If you want to blast Shenandoah for not truly embracing the event in the way that Salem did, be my guest, as part of the D3football.com crew Wally obviously would have a better feel for that than I would. However to say that the weather wasn't nice enough and the two airports weren't close enough seems to be a reach.

I think the weather is a fair game when considering any future bids from Shenandoah.  Better weather than what Salem generally delivers was a significant pillar here.  We joked, repeatedly, on the field pregame in 2018 that it felt almost exactly like our pregame the previous year in Salem.  Maybe not quite as bitterly cold as it was in Salem, but it was cold and it was windy, and after 3+ hours of pregame setup, production, and teardown on the field, I couldn't feel my face.  Functionally, there was really no difference.  This year we caught a break that the rain trailed off before kickoff, but it still wasn't a pleasant gameday atmosphere for anybody who tried to pregame tailgate.  So, no, it isn't fair to blame Shenandoah for the weather, but the slam dunk great weather for the championship game idea has been proven to be a myth and they really can't steer into that with any future bids. 

But really, by far, the larger issue with this event ever going back to Shenandoah is the attendance problem.  How does that get solved?  Particularly if literally everybody in the area would rather watch the HS playoffs?  I don't think there's a good answer to that and, for me at least, that has to be a dealbreaker.  We just can't have 1400 people at the national championship.  It's a bad look for everybody involved. 

11
General football / Re: Shenandoah, TX 2018-19 NCAA d3fb championships
« on: January 30, 2020, 03:59:37 pm »
So can we stick a fork in Shenandoah as a venue for the Stagg? Sure it's decent when UMHB plays, but it's really hard to claim any kind of community support for the event after this year. I understand the weather wasn't great, but 1362 officially is.... putrid. All the complaints about Salem, but even in the worst weather, people cared and showed up. You have to go back to the mid 80s and Phenix City AL to get official attendance as pathetic as this year. Which kind of proves the point. Areas with limited to no connection to DIII make poor options for these games.

Looking forward to Canton next year. Close to the heart of DIII country. While I have nothing against UMU, I do hope they don't make it at least one of the next two years so we can get a bead on community support for the Stagg in that area. I think the NCAA underestimated how much Salem put into those games year after year, but I expect Canton will do better than Texas.

I won't pretend to know much about how championship sites are bid for and awarded, but I'll share my final Shenandoah thoughts here. 

I think Shenandoah did a passable job given that in the late summer/early fall of 2018 there were still council conversations happening about whether or not they would even host the event.  So, going from no event to completing the event without significant issues is a win.  But the bar should never, ever be that low for a national championship event. 

I'll get to attendance in a minute, but just a quick recap on some of the major advantages that we were sold leading into Stagg Bowls in Texas:

- The weather is going to be great!  The weather was decidedly not great in either year.  I'm sure that the weather in The Woodlands for the next five years on Stagg Bowl Friday will be 72 and perfect, but that didn't happen in '18-'19 and is obviously not something that you can guarantee.

- Having the game in a major metro area makes it easier for people to travel to the game.   I'm not sure this panned out the way it was advertised either.  Yes, there are two major airports "in the area" and there are a lot of flights that get there, but the cost wasn't awesome.  This year in particular with the game pushed back all the way to Christmas weekend, flights were already booked and what was available was very expensive.  Y'all, I had to fly out Saturday morning on Spirit.  Spirit.  There were first hand accounts on this site from NCC fans that either couldn't make it happen or had to really grind to get down there.  It wasn't as easy as it was made out to be.  Also, Shenandoah is not exactly airport adjacent.  Whether you went into IAH (30 or so minutes away) or Hobby (about an hour away), you still had to get a car to get up to Shenandoah.

- The people of Texas love football- any football- and they will come out and support this event. Attendance in 2018 I think really masked this fallacy more than anybody would have thought.  In both years I didn't get the sense that the greater Shenandoah community had any idea that this event was even happening.  10 miles south toward Houston and I don't think any casual football fan would have even known the event existed, let alone that it was happening in their backyard.  And so, when one of the participants isn't within driving distance, you wind up with absolutely nobody except the diehards from the participating teams in the stadium.  And that was a major bummer.  But I think it ends once and for all the debate about whether or not your average Texas football fan is going to carve out three hours to watch this game, particularly on a night when HS state finals are happening.  They aren't and they won't. 

So I think the three main pillars of what made this site hypothetically great all fell way, way short of expectation.  In addition to those main things, I don't think Shenandoah embraced the entirety of the event.  Broc Rutter should have received his Gagliardi Trophy at a  formal ceremony during the week and not in an ESPN media prep meeting.  There needed to be more stuff for the players to experience while there.  Line up a tour at Johnson Space Center.  Workout at NRG.  Something more than a couple of hours at knockoff Dave & Busters.  Dan Dutcher really emphasized the student-athlete experience in our pregame interview, and I just don't think Shenandoah really committed to that part of the deal.  What we really got the last two years was like the stripped down freemium version of Stagg Bowl.  Doing the event properly requires a subscription. 

If Shenandoah intends to bid again (who knows what will happen as that leadership changes too often for any long term messaging to be something you can count on), any bid there has to answer the question: How are you going to sell 4,000 tickets to this event in your community?  I don't know that there is a plan for that- like I said, I didn't get any sense that the community around The Woodlands had any clue this was even going on.  Lowest Stagg Bowl attendance ever is a shaky foundation from which to launch another request to host the event.  I would be very, very surprised if this event goes back there, anytime soon.  Or ever really.  I think if you're going to host this event out in the D3 wilderness, you have to knock it out of the park.  I think Shenandoah did fine, but I don't think they left the kind of impact on this event that makes people really want to go back there. 

12
North Region football / Re: FB: North Coast Athletic Conference
« on: January 27, 2020, 06:12:47 pm »
What Oberlin needs is stability...but I can't blame their HC for bolting to NDC.

Coach Anderson was there as HC for six years and was the program's DC for one season in 2013 prior to that.  Before Anderson, Jeff Ramsey was their HC for 15 seasons.  2 HCs in 21 years is pretty stable.  Oberlin's hurdle is as it always has been- roster size.  Ramsey and Anderson managed to navigate 10 game seasons with varying degrees of success with what I think is at the very bare minimum number of bodies you need to have a varsity level college football program.  Probably below the minimum, actually.  Some of the seasons and individual wins they've produced with 40-ish players is remarkable.  But I can't see how they'll ever shake out of 2-3 wins annually on average until they reinforce their roster. 

13
North Region football / Re: FB: Ohio Athletic Conference
« on: January 23, 2020, 01:11:53 am »
Dartt is the new HC?  Noooo....shocking.  Wally your thoughts?

Would have been surprised if it went any other way, tbh.  In an offline conversation somewhere I said it's probably Dartt vs. the field with Dartt as the very heavy favorite.   

14
Maybe Mt Union will go after Jeff Thorne!

[In the media room at the Mount Union athletics facility]

LK: I'd like to welcome you all here today.  Obviously, this a time of transition but myself and this great university are committed to preserving the tradition of excellence that exists here at Mount Union.  With that said, it is my privilege to introduce the next head coach of Mount Union football...

[Mike Swider's music kicks on]


15
North Region football / Re: FB: Ohio Athletic Conference
« on: January 14, 2020, 03:46:27 pm »
worst coached game should have title good riddance

If this is anywhere near representative, y'all don't deserve the Kehres family. 

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