Author Topic: Conference changes  (Read 120924 times)

Offline VT-Alum-NOVA

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Re: Conference changes
« Reply #870 on: January 19, 2020, 07:00:09 am »
I fully understand the geographical and other challenges. For many of us, we have understood the DIII landscape for 20, 25, or more years.

Yes. CNU has found themselves in a bit of a pickle that, bluntly, they, Salisbury, and others have helped create. They have made a conscious decision, which I certainly do not have a problem with, of making athletics a larger financial commitment than many of their peers. As a result, they started to find themselves less welcome in the USA South and eventually less welcome in the CAC to the point of being out on their own with two other institutions.

This isn't new to Division III.

St. Thomas, for similar reasons, has found itself out of the MIAC (though, to some degree those in that conference seem to be ignoring the others who have made the same financial decisions as UST). Stevenson in the MAC (former CAC member) is also one of those who has made significant financial decisions to stand out from the rest (though, needing a reliable football home was also a significant reason Stevenson left the CAC and won't return). And there are others we can point to throughout Division III.

The key is, while those decisions are made, relationships still have to be nurtured and massaged within conferences ... or one finds themselves suddenly without dance partners. Also, being state schools doesn't help. The CAC was the only dual-member conference, for the most part, in the region that those schools fit in (NEAC is just not a viable option for CNU, Salisbury, etc.; USA South has already indicated they are not interested). However, the CAC started to unravel when CUA and Goucher decided (for reasons I never felt legit) they couldn't compete and felt it was unfair to be in a conference with state schools (cop out). That was the first thread that just kept getting pulled ... no thanks, IMO, to conference commissioners who also couldn't seem to smooth things over with presidents and ADs who either didn't get it ... or wanted to leave their 'mark' as it where.

Personally, I think it is a cop-out when institutions leave for 'easier' conferences because they won't make the same commitments to athletics as others, but I respect that decision more than the one made in the MIAC of threatening to leave and then forcing out a school because institutions don't want to make the same commitments. That last example is just petty and stupid. At least schools in the Mid-Atlantic have freely admitted it isn't for them and gone elsewhere instead of trying to back-stab one of their own.

That all said ... why should a conference be given an AQ if they are going to make NO effort to live up to anything conferences normally do other than play a small, not-even fully invited tournament? That is what Pool B is designated for. Schools and conferences that don't have enough for an AQ or access to one. They all get to sit in Pool B and get the very first at-large bid(s) to the NCAA tournament. That's before all those who had access to AQs are even considered.

So essentially, CNU, Salisbury, Mary Washington have access to a bid to the NCAA tournament just as if it was an AQ. I rarely say this about other conferences, but the CAC is going to be fine with that structure PLUS they may still get at-large selections through the Pool C process after one of the three is selected in Pool B. The only problem will be scheduling and that I can appreciate will be challenging in the last 1/4 to 1/3 of sport seasons (for the most part). But access to the tournament isn't going to be a huge a deal as many may realize for the remaining CAC members whether they are part of the ACAA or not - they are getting in the tournaments with their best team(s).

yes, CNU, Salisbury, etc have put significant $$ to invest in athletics that many other d3 (especially smaller than 2000 enrollment) schools have not.  I think this is a direct result of financial pinch many Higher Education institutions are feeling.  In sports, this not only made them less welcome in conferences but also harder for coaches to schedule games.  This year alone, CNU WBB has only 8 home games out of 25 games.  And this includes 5 mandatory home conference games.  Teams in CNU region do not want to play them and I think this is a consequence of putting more $$$ into athletics.  I think placing more $$$ into athletics had a big hand into many of these CAC schools leaving the conferences these past few years.
I understand about Pool B & C process to get into 64 but some of these coaches jobs are on the line with W/L records as well as tournament appearances.  Right now, the thought would be goal #1, win conference tourney; get AQ, keep job.  secondary goal #2, lose conference tourney but win lots of the right games (good teams) and get Pool C bid, keep job.  Without AQ, I think it is much harder to get into dance via B and C.  And seeing really good teams in the past left out of 64 from pool C by committee makes coaches and ADs nervous.

Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Conference changes
« Reply #871 on: January 19, 2020, 02:37:58 pm »
Curious ... you do understand that Pool B for the CAC is essentially an AQ, right? No, it isn't necessarily going to go to the conference tournament winner .. but it is one of the easiest ways into the NCAA tournament to be honest. The CAC will own the Pool B essentially.

As for CNU women ... of their out of conference schedule, I see a number of games against teams I would consider in their region.
- TCNJ
- Messiah
- NC Wesleyan
- Washington & Lee
- Bridgewater
- William Peace
- Meredith
- Stevenson
- Randolph-Macon
- Virginia Wesleyan

And they had some just outside what I would call their region ... Stevens and Susquehanna (at St. Mary's).

I don't think you can saddle their home schedule on teams not wanting to play them ... because their schedule clearly shows a number of teams not affraid to play them. Even welcoming them to tournaments. It just happens they had a number of games on the road. That could flip next year especially with home and home deals (six of their non-conference schedule they played last year - most of them at home, actually).
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Offline Ryan Scott (Hoops Fan)

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Re: Conference changes
« Reply #872 on: January 19, 2020, 06:40:51 pm »

CNU women chose to go to a lot of tournaments this year.  The CNU men hosted a bunch of them.  It is what it is.

Pool B is fine so long as we still have enough teams to have a Pool B bid.  That won't continue forever - and probably not much longer.
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Offline CNU85

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Re: Conference changes
« Reply #873 on: January 20, 2020, 11:56:58 am »
I've found endowments to give me completely different information than reality. In the Centennial, one of the highest endowments is Johns Hopkins ... no surprise. The other is Bryn Mawr. You can look at why that raises my eyebrows all the time. One of the lowest tends to be pretty competitive in the conference (I had to dive into the numbers for comparison reasons a few years ago).

I do think endowment money is helpful to some degree. As many have pointed out to me or others ... sometimes that endowment money is restricted on what it can be spent on. Other times the school chooses not to use it or not to use it for athletic-based efforts. There are a hundred reasons why endowment levels don't always lead to athletic (or other) success.

Agreed with your thoughts on endowments.

I find it very interesting to learn about all the different institutions and issues they face and especially find the theories for athletic success to be mind opening. Every school/team has their story. For CNU I often am baffled how we don't fit any standard model. In recent years we have been ranked as high as 14th in the Learfield Director's Cup. We slipped a lot last year. We adhere to high academic standards (3rd in State schools for AVG SAT scores for incoming Freshmen behind only William & Mary and UVA). Our endowment is extremely low, currently sitting at $34 million. However, just a few years ago it was below $10 million. The Commonwealth of Va provides a smaller percentage, year on year, of operating costs for all State schools. CNU receives less than 25% of its operating budget from the Commonwealth. (I believe UVA receives around 5% - they might as well be a private school). Tuition/room & Board is high for public schools in the state at around $25k per year, but low when compared to Private schools (i.e ODAC). However, CNU manages to have one of the highest Athletic Dept budgets in all of D3. I've seen statistics that show CNU as high as 2nd and have heard there have been years where we had the highest budget in NCAA DIII. The other schools in the top 20-25 in the Directors Cup have huge endowments!

Anyway, Just thought I'd share the CNU story for those who may be interested.

I've heard talk that the better solution for the current CNU/CAC situation is for CNU to move to D2 or D1. I don't see that happening. 

(Disclaimer - there is more to the story than I can allude to on here. I have pushed the envelope a little already. Among the numerous areas of CNU in which I am involved, I am a Trustee on the Education Foundation which oversees the Endowment and I am on the Athletic Advisory Council)

Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Conference changes
« Reply #874 on: January 20, 2020, 01:39:37 pm »
I've been told that CNU to DII and DI is NOT what they want to do. That they don't think that is a reasonable solution. Right now, the DI option isn't even there as a road ... but we wait to find out more about UST's possible jump (the final decision now may not come until April). But D1 would not allow CNU to be unique in their area. There are a lot of D1s and I think one thing that makes CNU attractive to student-athletes is that it isn't DI. They join DI (or even DII, which is no-man's land in that area) and suddenly they are just like all the rest of the DIs in their area ... they don't stand out and they aren't another option for student-athletes. I think that ends up hurting CNU more than it would help.

Same goes for Salisbury - who may benefit from a possible (likely?) closure of Wesley.

I have heard that "talk" from a lot of people who don't understand the ramifications, challenges, financial impact, let alone geography and landscape. and such of a move to DII and DI.

We will learn more at the end of this week most likely.
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Offline CNU85

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Re: Conference changes
« Reply #875 on: January 20, 2020, 01:43:46 pm »
We agree again. For many reasons in which I will not go into here, CNU will not go D1.

Offline CNU85

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Re: Conference changes
« Reply #876 on: January 20, 2020, 01:45:22 pm »
and yes...hopefully some things get sorted in Anaheim this week! Although I suspect some things will be even more confusing after this week!

Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Conference changes
« Reply #877 on: January 20, 2020, 01:46:40 pm »
and yes...hopefully some things get sorted in Anaheim this week! Although I suspect some things will be even more confusing after this week!

Oh ... my money is absolutely in the corner of "more confusing" or "that didn't help anyone solve anything" category for sure.
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Offline WUPHF

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Re: Conference changes
« Reply #878 on: January 20, 2020, 01:56:01 pm »
I've found endowments to give me completely different information than reality. In the Centennial, one of the highest endowments is Johns Hopkins ... no surprise. The other is Bryn Mawr. You can look at why that raises my eyebrows all the time.

If you look at the endowment and then look first at their alumni and then second whether or not they have a medical school, the information will almost always give you a good sense of the financial wherewithal of the institution as far as scholarships are concerned.

As far as the big research institutions are concerned, big endowments do not guarantee big pockets with which to award scholarships or fund an athletic department.

Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Conference changes
« Reply #879 on: January 20, 2020, 01:59:55 pm »
I wasn't indicating that I wasn't surprised by the endowment with Johns Hopkins because of their athletic success ... I wasn't surprised because it is Johns Hopkins. Like I'm not surprised Harvard has an insane endowment.

My surprise came with Bryn Mawr on MANY levels, not just athletics. However, it opened up the thought: if the endowment is that large, why don't they use it better to help athletics in many different ways.
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Offline WUPHF

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Re: Conference changes
« Reply #880 on: January 20, 2020, 02:44:38 pm »
Understood and hence the part about alumni.

It is interesting that athletics is no where to be found at www.brynmawr.edu.

The way an institution profiles athletics on their public website says a lot about their overall commitment to athletics.

www.wellesley.edu has athletics prominently at the top as does www.mtholyoke.edu and www.vassar.edu though the latter is exceptional for the fact they enroll men.  You can find athletics at www.smith.edu even if you have to scroll down.

Barnard does not have athletics listed at www.barnard.edu but they are an exception given their relationship with Columbia University.  The same is true for Radcliffe College.

Agnes Scott and Sweet Briar and so many other historically women's college also have athletics prominently featured.

Offline Caz Bombers

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Re: Conference changes
« Reply #881 on: January 20, 2020, 03:39:50 pm »
In their defense, it's only two clicks from Bryn Mawr's dot edu site to athletics (student life, athletics) - they would probably be a lot more competitive in the CSAC and maybe slightly/somewhat competitive in the AEC, but the Cent is not the place to treat athletics like it's nothing more than organized exercise. However, those are the schools that Bryn Mawr wants to associate with - they remind me of Bard in the Liberty League in that regard.

Always interesting to me that many people still think of Vassar as a women's college despite the fact they started admitting men the same time Neal Armstrong walked on the moon.

Speaking of the Atlantic East, I imagine their auto-bid status (when they achieve it) will be immediately threatened if/when Wesley goes under. I wonder if any of their other members are on similarly shaky ground from an institutional standpoint.

Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Conference changes
« Reply #882 on: January 20, 2020, 03:52:33 pm »
In their defense, it's only two clicks from Bryn Mawr's dot edu site to athletics (student life, athletics) - they would probably be a lot more competitive in the CSAC and maybe slightly/somewhat competitive in the AEC, but the Cent is not the place to treat athletics like it's nothing more than organized exercise. However, those are the schools that Bryn Mawr wants to associate with - they remind me of Bard in the Liberty League in that regard.

Always interesting to me that many people still think of Vassar as a women's college despite the fact they started admitting men the same time Neal Armstrong walked on the moon.

Speaking of the Atlantic East, I imagine their auto-bid status (when they achieve it) will be immediately threatened if/when Wesley goes under. I wonder if any of their other members are on similarly shaky ground from an institutional standpoint.

Well to be fair about the Centennial and Byrn Mawr, their dance partners have been Swarthmore and Haverford from day one ... and those last two haven't been that competitive historically in the conference until the last few years. Coincidentally (or ironically), Bryn Mawr's biggest struggles in the conference and internally with athletics have come at the same time as Haverford and Swarthmore have changed their approach to athletics.

I've said for years that Bryn Mawr should be in a different conference. I have not looked at the CSAC and AEC, though they would be a good fit. My theory is more of an east coast all-women's conference - ala the old GSAC. Not all schools would be interested. Wellesley seems pretty comfortable in the NEWMAC for example. But Trinity DC, Notre Dame (which is in the CSAC), Hollins, and others from Atlanta to the northeast could put together one conference ... and then I would promote the hell out of that thing. "Look, the only all-women's conference in the country; where a strong single-sex education is balanced with competitive athletic success." I think the pressure would be removed from some institutions like Bryn Mawr in their current conference structure. Trinity could find a home to help with their pressures. It would also help conferences with unbalanced schedules that cause headaches (Centennial still hasn't solved what I think is a schedule disaster with their approach to Bryn Mawr).

I do realize I may be a minority of one with that all-women's idea ... but I think it checks off so many boxes while also giving these programs a legitimate chance at NCAA tournament berths which is something they could use as a recruiting tool, alumnae engagement, and promotion.
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Offline WUPHF

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Re: Conference changes
« Reply #883 on: January 20, 2020, 04:15:02 pm »
I like that idea of an all-women's athletic conference.  I have to think this idea gets floated among potential members from time to time.

Offline Caz Bombers

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Re: Conference changes
« Reply #884 on: January 20, 2020, 04:18:18 pm »
Agnes Scott
Bryn Mawr
Cedar Crest
Hollins
Meredith
Notre Dame (Md.)
Salem
Sweet Briar
Trinity (DC)
Wesleyan (Ga.)

yeah, that seems like it would work, Dave, good thinking