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Messages - jknezek

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31
South Region football / Re: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: December 17, 2014, 10:56:35 am »
Who has had talked of moving to 1AA which is actually D1 FCS? MU? UWW? Or both? That would make ZERO sense. Moving up would not put more people in the stands for home games. They would play fewer home games. They would have to provide free education to the tune of 63 scholarships.  Finally, by NCAA rule - all other sports would have to play D1. Meaning many more scholarships and exceptionally high travel costs across all sports, softball, swimming, cross country..  I cannot imagine either team moving up.

Glad you said this, because a lot of people don't realize that rule. Also, there isn't a DIII school out there that's prepared to start offering scholarships to their entire athletic department, just because one, two, or even a handful of programs are having success.

This cuts both ways. You don't have to offer scholarships to all athletes. There are non-scholarship D1 conferences. You can even pick and choose within the limits of Title IX, conference restraints, etc. Butler, for example, is non-scholarship for football but scholarship in other sports. That being said, it is a massive change and I agree there isn't a DIII school that could easily make that jump. There are schools that could do it based on endowment funding, but it would involve massive planning and expenses.

32
South Region football / Re: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: December 17, 2014, 10:38:48 am »
Who has had talked of moving to 1AA which is actually D1 FCS? MU? UWW? Or both? That would make ZERO sense. Moving up would not put more people in the stands for home games. They would play fewer home games. They would have to provide free education to the tune of 63 scholarships.  Finally, by NCAA rule - all other sports would have to play D1. Meaning many more scholarships and exceptionally high travel costs across all sports, softball, swimming, cross country..  I cannot imagine either team moving up.

RPI at one time discussed it. I don't think it got very far.

33
East Region football / Re: Liberty League
« on: December 17, 2014, 09:45:10 am »
Not sure if describe the Boz as a high school field but I guess compared to the stadiums in D1 I suppose it's sort of accurate.

Marpet has the look of a pro player, hope he shows well. I'm guessing he'd have to convert to guard vs being s tackle at "only" 310 but time will tell.

h.s. football stadiums:

http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2014/10/five_best_high_school_football_stadiums.php

Bos:

http://www.hwsathletics.com/sports/2008/6/27/GEN_0627081321.aspx?id=1


You're right. Those h.s. fields, at least, have most D3 stadiums beat hands down...  ;D

34
South Region football / Re: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: December 17, 2014, 09:35:24 am »
You certainly have strong opinions, and I don't disagree. However the dominance is not helping D3 football and obviously the rest of D3 schools either have no answer or could care less about competing at the national level.

Very, very true. I've been on both sides of this argument but I've settled here. There has to be a reason to compete for another trophy. A reason why you can't compete for the one we have.

The only thing I'll add is that it's not just football. That may be the flagship we are all looking at, but a good portion of D3 sports work this way. If it was one school or one conference dominating all of D3, I'd be more inclined to see a big problem. But traditionally it's not. Lots of schools have a niche, and that is where they focus.

UWW is one to watch however. Winning the big 3 sports last year is an interesting occurrence. I will get concerned if they keep winning team sports at an outsized rate. I think UWW is using athletics to differentiate themselves from the rest of the WIAC. It's a good strategy, and I applaud their innovation. But a school that size taking that tack could throw D3 out of whack from a money standpoint. A student activity fee of an additional $100 focused on athletics will raise a good chunk of money annually for them.

35
South Region football / Re: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: December 17, 2014, 09:05:27 am »
D3A Championship Playoffs: 2 teams from WIAA/MU/Linfield/MHB/Wesley/2 at large
D3B Championship  AQ's & Pool C's; winner of D3B eligible for one of the 2 at large for D3A bracket
Might be more interesting to a larger fan base,maybe? I just don't see  D3 schools committing additional resources/time/energy to compete with the big boys of D3.   

Again, why bother? What are the big teams doing that the rest of D3 can't do? Are they operating under a different set of rules? No. What is the point of splitting the division simply because other schools don't want to compete with the big boys? If you don't want to compete with them, don't. If you do, go for it. But don't split the division just because they are too good. That's a cruddy excuse.

I think the string of UMU vs UWW games is boring, bad for the division, and it has almost completely lost my attention as a game. However, simply splitting up the division for no reason other than a handful of teams are too good is silly. That's just a way of saying we want a trophy, but we don't want to compete with the best teams using the same playing field, to win that trophy.

If you are going to split into a DIV or a DIIIB or whatever, there has to be a substantive change in the rules of competition from existing DIII. Whether that is roster, recruiting, practice time, number of games, and money spent restrictions, or something else I don't know, but just splitting the division to create a second championship because a couple teams are hogging the trophy won't fly for me.

36
South Region football / Re: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: December 16, 2014, 04:53:30 pm »


Many conferences/schools have opted out of the semifinals or quarterfinals just based on how they support football. They still get AQs and participate but one win is generally the ceiling.

yeah. but sometimes that includes a beating. opting out completely would make a different kind of statement. just a thought. I have no real interest in W&L following that route (not that I have anything to say about it!), but it's a valid idea that is already partially enacted.

37
South Region football / Re: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: December 16, 2014, 04:35:09 pm »

I'm with you 100% here. I discussed that as flexibility in a previous post and didn't want to repeat myself. But yes... I think Bridgewater is a very, very good example. Those years they were Stagg quality? There was a lot of institutional will that made that happen. And when a certain administrator left... what do you know, Bridgewater moved back down again toward the ODAC pack. Amazing.

Something similar happened at Ithaca as well. The President/AD combo during the Butterfield era had a different will regarding football than the ones that took over in Welch's era.

This is why I think the "It's the responsibility of everyone else to get better" is a lazy solution to the parity issue at this level. We simply have too wide a disparity in what schools are willing to commit to make their football program nationally competitive. They're simply not interested in investing that heavily in their programs.

Now, to be frank, I don't think that's the wrong decision for many schools, even Ithaca. But it's also created much of this issue. In a perfect world, I'd love to see a split of D-III, into the schools that are willing to say "We're going to commit to making our program competitive with the elites of the country," and those who say "We support our football team, but we're content to do so on a much smaller scale."

Why does there need to be a split? You could simply opt out of the playoffs ala the NESCAC. You don't have to opt out of OOC games, and you can schedule those with like minded opponents. In theory your conference is more or less like minded. But again, I'm not sure what else you need to do. If you were to split into a DIV I'd be interested in how you define the criteria of "smaller scale".

Again, I'm not sure I consider UMU's football program vis a vis the OAC all that different from W&L's tennis program vis a vis the ODAC. There are many, many, many situations like this in all conferences, I'm just familiar with that one, so I'm really not sure how you would define where one school is working too hard.

38
South Region football / Re: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: December 16, 2014, 03:40:47 pm »

Agree ...but that admissions bar is significant.  It sounds like you didn't have that issue.  There's lot's of great football talent under that bar...so institutional will has to include admissions...

Delaware fired KC Keeler..not because he wasn't putting competitive teams on the field, but because the means that he did it, was at odds with the admissions philosophy of the institution, and they chose to go in another direction...
It was the same at Rowan...
If the discussion is solely about why some teams have an advantage, where the bar is, and what an institurion will allow under that bar, is as significant as population or school density....

I'm with you 100% here. I discussed that as flexibility in a previous post and didn't want to repeat myself. But yes... I think Bridgewater is a very, very good example. Those years they were Stagg quality? There was a lot of institutional will that made that happen. And when a certain administrator left... what do you know, Bridgewater moved back down again toward the ODAC pack. Amazing.

39
South Region football / Re: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: December 16, 2014, 03:16:17 pm »

2 schools, under 100 Miles apart...
School A:  Playoff caliber program program...school committed to winning.. Tuition 35K with 85% receiving on average 11K in grant money...>75% acceptance.

School B:  Playoff caliber program...school committed to winning.. Tuition 60K with 75% receiving on average 8K in grant money...> 60% acceptance...

School B, (unless the school takes a complete win at all cost mentality) will always struggle to compete with A.  Unless a studen'ts values align directly with B or there's a previous association...the choice comes down to simple mathematics....

And this is where I slot in institutional will and coaching. School B has to have more. That means the school has to be willing to up the grant money, and it has to be for more than football, or they are probably going to get slapped on the wrist. However, the focus can be on football and then the rest is balanced out among the student body. Second, facilities. School B needs to go after the facilities war. That takes money, but it's not "matched money." Plus in some senses it benefits other parts of the student body. Improved fitness facilities help a good percentage of the student body while an improved practice field or stadium will be used in the off-season for something else.

Finally, coaches. School B needs to have a better recruiter. Money talks, but we all know kids that went to a more expensive school. I did. U of Richmond offered me a ton of money, as did in-state Rutgers, but I went to more expensive W&L because I loved the school. I kicked out a few liberal arts schools in PA, like Dickinson and Gettysburg because I believed W&L was a better school and they didn't offer me significantly more value.

Finally, those coaches need to recruit and coach. Simply put, School B's coach needs to win against School A. Whether it starts with a fluky game or super seniors, or just an unexpected game plan, that coach has to get the jump and then build on it. Great coaches can do this, then take the momentum and move forward to maintain.

As I said at the beginning, it's about institutional will and coaches. If you have those, and it takes some luck to get the second one, you can build a championship program. The problem is putting them all together at the same place and the same time is a pretty rare event.

40
South Region football / Re: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: December 16, 2014, 01:01:11 pm »


Actually D3 is rife with dynasties. UMU is a good one, but not the most dominant. You'd have to look at Kenyon swimming or the two schools that have dominated wrestling for much longer than UMU let alone UMU/UWW dominated football. Messiah is ridiculously good at soccer, a sport where thanks to low scoring good teams lose to lesser opponents at a much higher rate than sports like football. Some of the women's sports are even worse.


Well, wrestling's a bit different because a team can have multiple individual national champions even if the team doesn't win one. Ithaca had that happen a year they finished 5th as a team.

I think football is a unique for reasons I've mentioned before: It isn't just the national titles, it's that, with Mount specifically, they're almost always going undefeated before the Stagg Bowl and are routinely just blowing teams out every week. As was posted earlier, 46% of their games since 1996 have been won by 40+ points! And that's a pretty high bar for uncompetitiveness, IMO.

Look at this stretch in 2012: 57-0, 52-0, 54-0, 66-0, 62-0, 51-0. There's a level of complete and utter dominance that goes beyond "Mount wins all the time". Whole sections of the season are mere formalities. You might as well not keep score.

I don't disagree, I'm just pointing out that DIII dynasties aren't limited to UMU or the UMU/UWW pairing. It's fairly common. Baseball and basketball seem to avoid the issue, but most D3 sports have long stretches of single team dominance. I'm not sure what UMU is supposed to do about the rest of the OAC. They simply can't make Marietta better. They aren't going to move to a new conference since the OAC is a good spot for them for all sports.

W&L has won 23 of the last 25 ODAC women's tennis championships, losing in 1989 and 2002. The team started in 1985/86, a year after W&L went co-ed. The men's team has won 32 ODAC championships since 1977, the year they joined the ODAC. So 32 of 38 roughly (counting this year). But leaving the ODAC in all sports to find better competition in tennis just doesn't make sense.

Football is a flagship sport, but the realities of the problem exist for a lot of teams in a lot of conferences. There just isn't much you can do.

41
South Region football / Re: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: December 16, 2014, 12:51:53 pm »
Population means a chance, not a certainty.

I don't think it's silly. I do think it has some credibility. It makes a difference.

http://www.footballstudyhall.com/2013/9/11/4718442/college-football-state-texas-california-florida

Texas, Florida, California top the list. 3 of the 4 top states by population as well. New York is an interesting outlier, but for the most part, highest population = most D1 football players. The trickle down should be pretty obvious.

Anyway, the rest of your argument was flawed since it didn't account for population. By any measure, there are more collegiate football programs in a 25MM population area around Ohio than Texas. Since both UMU and UMHB are private schools, in-state versus out of state is less relevant.

Now as far as UWW goes, that's a different kettle of fish.

42
South Region football / Re: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: December 16, 2014, 12:24:35 pm »
UMHB has it easier than UMU. Texas has a population more than twice as big as Ohio. There are 23 D1/D2 schools in Texas, 20 in Ohio. Pretty close. But in D3 terms, there are 21 D3 football schools in Ohio, there are only 8 in Texas. Kind of silly to crawl on a soap box as a Texas school claiming it is less competitive for schools to get good players in Ohio than Texas. It gets worse when you start to consider the number of schools in an area surrounding Ohio with the same population as Texas, as there is no shortage of D3 schools in every state that touches Ohio except West Virginia. By any measure, there are more football programs in a Texas-sized area around Ohio than Texas will EVER have to deal with.

43
South Region football / Re: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: December 16, 2014, 12:13:45 pm »
But having one blow out after another, not being challenged, the #1's playing one half of football week over week, would certainly bore me to death. I don't see how the competitive juices are challenged when you know you are going to be up 50 to 0 at half time. The few blow out games played by HSC over the years have put me to sleep, quickly and the players did not enjoy it either.

Because most h.s. kids don't look at it that way? UMU is going to win conference championships. Kids like championship rings. They are going to make the playoffs. Kids like playing for the best, and they are, most likely, going to play for national titles. Almost all h.s. kids think they are good enough, they just need a break. So of the 100+ freshman that UMU pulls every year, about 20-30 stick it out to play senior year. But none of those kids is going to believe that they aren't going to be one of those 20-30 to walk out without those rings!

Boring to win big? Boring to be pulled at half? No, exciting to win titles and chances at the Walnut and Bronze and, of course, to be the next D3 player headed to the NFL! Show them all wrong. All those D1 schools that offered walk-on treatment or D2 schools and their partial scholarships.

Reality doesn't apply to most h.s. kids. It sure didn't apply to me. I figured I'd wander in to W&L and be a soccer superstar. I was quickly disabused of that notion and realized I might get a chance to play as a junior or senior, if I stuck out the pine for 2 or 3 years. But maybe not even then. Had a nice time playing club rugby and soccer instead of going through the struggle.

44
South Region football / Re: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: December 16, 2014, 10:48:33 am »
I would think the MU players would grow very old of not having competitive games and playing only one half of each game. Why can't other coaches use that to their recruiting advantage. UWW is much different in they have competitive games during the regular season and because of where they are located, play against better competition in the playoffs and enjoy having to play competitive games. I think that may well explain why UWW has won so many championships in the recent past.

Someone needs to right a book on the MU program. Hard to believe one school can be so dominant for so long. Hard to believe other D3 schools have not done a case study in an effort to improve their program.

Actually D3 is rife with dynasties. UMU is a good one, but not the most dominant. You'd have to look at Kenyon swimming or the two schools that have dominated wrestling for much longer than UMU let alone UMU/UWW dominated football. Messiah is ridiculously good at soccer, a sport where thanks to low scoring good teams lose to lesser opponents at a much higher rate than sports like football. Some of the women's sports are even worse.

There are always a few things in common among all these dynasties. Institutional will, which includes admissions flexibility and spending money, and excellent coaching. You need both of those, plus a dash of luck to get rolling. Lots of schools have the admissions flexibility but not the money or coaching. Others have the money but not the flexibility. Some have the flexibility and money, but can't find the coaching. Getting all 3, and keeping the coaching, is tricky.

I will say that if you look at the elite D3 football programs they pretty much fall in line. UMU has had all 3, UWW has used football, and athletics in general, as a huge part of their differentiation from the rest of the UWW system. They are an incredible example of institutional will. Linfield and UMHB have spent the money and don't require much admissions flexibility, both let in close to 90% of applicants, as well as excellent coaching. Wesley is somewhat of an outlier. They have the coaching, and the institutional will to get the kids in, but they don't have the facilities indicative of the money. On the other hand, playing as an independent has cost them dearly in travel fees, so now that they have joined a full conference money may be moved from travel to facilities.

There isn't some massive secret here. There is, however, a huge difficulty in getting the right coach and coaching staff. There are lots of good coaches, I think the ODAC has some excellent coaches, but getting to that nationally competitive coach, and assistant coaches, is a big, big mountain. It requires a bit of luck, and then even more than a bit to hold on to that staff.

45
South Region football / Re: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: December 15, 2014, 04:16:48 pm »
   Here's a really scary thought ... imagine what would happen if Whitewater ever decided to grant instate tuition to Illinois residents, as some of the other WIAC schools do for nearby states.

Something else will change. The entire upper staff bolting for Buffalo will be a challenge for UWW. Getting those top 1% coaches a couple times in a row is hard to do. And it won't take much once the pattern is disrupted for UWW to drop back toward the WIAC median. Of course the WIAC median is still better than most of D3...


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