Poll

Are the purple powers bad for D3?

Yes
36 (35.6%)
No
65 (64.4%)

Total Members Voted: 99

Author Topic: Are the Purple Powers bad for D3?  (Read 29746 times)

Offline retagent

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Re: Are the Purple Powers bad for D3?
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2011, 10:43:53 am »
I guess it depends on what you mean by bad. There are a number of different ways to take that.

I'll just go by what comes to mind. In most of the pro leagues, as has been pointed out above, there are salary caps, and preferential drafting by those teams that finish lower in the standings. This is done, I would assume, to try to make sure that there is less of a chance for repeaters. Again, I assume, that is so that interest among the entire fan base is widened. I assume that is because those in power, as well as TV execs (or did I repeat myself?) think that is a good thing for their revenue stream. I think it is a good thing for more people to be interested in the sport, and a bad thing for fewer people to be interested in that same sport. Since those two teams have dominated for 7 years, I believe interest in D III has declined overall.  One of the indicators of interest could be the number of posts on the various league boards here. It is indisputable that the number of posts on the WIAC board has incresed dramatically, primarily by UWW followers, since 2005. I haven't done a statistical analysis, but I would venture to guess that the posts pretty much follow the success of those programs. The more successful a team, or league is, the more posts/interest.

So, if there are more teams that are in the hunt, there will be more fans who follow D III. I think that would be a good thing. Conversely, only two teams suppress overall interest, so I think that is a bad thing.

Offline NCF

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Re: Are the Purple Powers bad for D3?
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2011, 11:11:52 am »
The lack of parity is not the same thing as the lack of fairness.  Whitewater and Mount do not give out scholarships and their players and coaches could have made decisions to go elsewhere.  I dispute the notion that the ESPN broadcast and the promotion of D3 is hurt by Mount and UWW.  Maybe somebody should look up the ratings, but I seriously doubt the average viewer who didn't know much about d3 previously is angry about Mount and Whitewater.

It's not a function of angry, it's a function of legitimacy. D3 doesn't look like a legitimate competitive environment when the same two teams play year after year. I highly doubt the casual viewer watched or cared about the Stagg Bowl, but those that did were treated to a steady diet of how they are the only 2 teams that matter in D3 because ESPN harps on the recent history.

It seems like people are talking about 2 different things in this thread. One group is pointing out that UWW and UMU are good and people should stop complaining, which I don't disagree with, but that's not what the thread asked. It asked are they good for D3? I can't imagine anyone besides fans of UWW and UMU actually believing that having 2 dominant teams and everyone else playing for third place is good for D3 AS A WHOLE. There are good attributes about the level of play that UMU and UWW are demonstrating for D3, but AS A WHOLE, the competitive imbalance that they represent does nothing but reinforce the idea that D3 is the home of mostly low level competition that isn't REAL college sports.

I know we all disagree, but that kind of imbalance breeds that kind of impression. And that is bad for D3.
Thank-you for taking the time to develop an intelligent thread regarding this topic. I think many people would agree with you, but would not want to say anything because of the repercussions. As starting point I think there needs to be roster limits and tighter academic standards across the board at all levels. These are just my opinions, but I think you are right on target saying that as a whole most people think D3 athletics are weak and that in itself is bad for D3.
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Offline jknezek

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Re: Are the Purple Powers bad for D3?
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2011, 11:40:29 am »
Thank-you for taking the time to develop an intelligent thread regarding this topic. I think many people would agree with you, but would not want to say anything because of the repercussions. As starting point I think there needs to be roster limits and tighter academic standards across the board at all levels. These are just my opinions, but I think you are right on target saying that as a whole most people think D3 athletics are weak and that in itself is bad for D3.

I'll say this for the topic, it has been very civil. We may disagree, but no one has gone on attack despite it being a contentious topic. I used the word UNFAIR in my original post and some people have picked up on it. In my later posts, I used the word (or non-word as the case may be!) UNLEVEL. I regret using UNFAIR because of the connotation and prefer to describe D3 as UNLEVEL and am trying to do so going forward. Minor difference, but I think people picked up on UNFAIR in a manner which I did not intend and it obscured what I was trying to say.

Either way, a nice discussion and I thank everyone for participating!

Offline gordonmann

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Re: Are the Purple Powers bad for D3?
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2011, 11:50:01 am »
Quote
bleed, i think you are misreading gordon's post.  I don't think he agree with jk at all, but is using his quote as a basis for his post.

Wesley dad is right. I wasn't agreeing with Jknezek or complaining about the purple reign. I was asking a question about his premise (D3 = significant advantage for some schools). Notice I'm not even calling that advantage "unfair" here, just significant and important in determing champions over time.  Jnezek's use of "unlevel" seems more appropriate.

Jnezek did a nice job analyzing variety of champions in men's soccer and football. D3 apparently has less variety of champions.

Quote
What percentage of the 239 DIII colleges have qualified at least once for the playoffs in the last 15 years? My guess is less than 40%, at least a fifth of which have never advanced beyond the first round. Consequently the vast majority of DIII colleges should concentrate their efforts on putting together a suitable regular season schedule and not concern themselves with whether the playoffs are "fair".

Frank's thinking is similar to mine, I think. Maybe it's a byproduct of our NESCAC affiliation where the schools elect not to participate in the playoffs. Here's my view on this question, if anyone cares.

Each year only a small number of football programs have a legitimate chance to win a national championship in football. Maybe that number is six as Jknezek suggests.  Whatever it is, it's a small number. Certainly less than 1 percent of the membership.

While the coaches and players on the other teams are certainly trying to win every week, and some of them use the national championship as a goal, the majority of Division III members as institutions are not trying to win a football championship.  They view football as an important part of a college that has institutional goals that likely have nothing to do with who plays in the Stagg Bowl.

Maybe the real goal is for the football team to be competitive within their region or conference because it helps recruiting. Maybe they want the football team to just beat the archrivals that alumni care about the most, because it helps fundraising. Maybe they just want the football team to have a big roster, because it drives enrollment and helps with the male-female distribution.

That doesn't mean the college administrators don't care if they don't win.  But they aren't going to put the same level of resources in their football program as other schools who are trying to win a national championship, because that's not really their goal.

And that's okay.

It's okay if Mary Hardin-Baylor spends far more on their program than someone like Bluffton (and they do if you look at the federally reported figures).  It's okay if Wesley has way more players on its roster than Martin Luther.  It's okay that Mount Union has more full time coaches than the NEFC schools, who sometimes have no full time coaches.  It's okay if some schools have beautiful new facilities and others play in stadiums that were built in the 1970s and barely reach compliance with modern code standards. It's okay that some schools have high tuition and can offer large financial aid packages to the students, including football players, while others have low tuition or maybe offer comparatively little financial aid.  It's even okay that some schools choose to end their seasons after 8 games and not participate in the playoffs at all.

These are all decisions that create institutional advantages and they all matter over time. Yes, individual players, coaches and even plays make a difference in a season. But I think Larry Kehres would tell you that he alone is not the reason Mount Union has had this long of success. Mount Union has institutional advantages as a result of the decisions its leaders have made.

It's okay for schools to have different goals and different commitments to pursuing them. Yes, it results in a lack of parity and it doesn't make people feel any better when they get throttled by Mount Union or Whitewater or Wesley or whomever each November.  But that's the nature of the varied Division III membership.  This isn't 32 NFL teams in a league of owners where football is the core function.  This is 240 colleges for which football is a small (even if important) part of their whole operation.

Offline Fannosaurus Rex

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Re: Are the Purple Powers bad for D3?
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2011, 12:00:34 pm »
I must be one of the few sports fans who liked the old Division I system where, at the end of the season, conferences were locked into bowl games, pollsters decided who was the #1 team in the country and everyone else argued about it and complained about what a shame it was that there wasn't a tournament to settle it on the field.  I figure a good part of the reason there is any controversy over how Div. I ends its season is because of the millions of dollars difference between playing in a lesser bowl vs playing in the BCS championship game.  We don't have that problem.

I love Division III sports as much as the next guy, but I don't need to know who is the best Division III football team in the whole country.  Rather than having a five week tournament to decide a national champion, I think it would be more in keeping with the Division III philosophy to let the conference champs play one bowl game against each other at the end of the season so that no one has more than an eleven game season.  The conference commissioners could get together at some point to try to figure out competitive match-ups that don't involve too much travel.  Wisconsin could play Ohio for as long as that makes sense.  I figure this year, after Wesley and St Thomas each won their bowl games and then got ranked less than #2 in the D3Football.com poll, all of their fans would be complaining about how they were robbed and this is the year they would have beaten Mount/UWW.  I guess I must like conflict more than I realized.
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Offline 02 Warhawk

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Re: Are the Purple Powers bad for D3?
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2011, 01:14:58 pm »
So is this just a "it is what it is" type situation? Yes, the purple powers are bad for DIII, but it's not their fault, possibly? Is it a matter of both UMU and UWW doing a great job exploiting the advantages their conference has over other conferences (which I agree with)?? OAC: roster limit (or lack there of). WIAC: limited college football recruiting competition in the state of Wisconsin.

Also, I have to agree that both of those universities (among others) have put a lot of resources into its athletic (football) programs to help them along the way to become successful. Which is something some universities don't do for it's athletic programs.

So how can it be fixed? Not sure that it can. Unless all 240 schools start becoming serious about competing in football, which won't happen. The majority of DIII schools are all about academics (and I'm not saying UMU and UWW aren't), and don't want to bother putting resources into athletics which might compromise its academic integrity (i.e. NESCAC).

Basically, schools have option to make the playing field a little more level, but choose not to. St. Thomas made that choice a few years back, and it's landed them among the elite in DIII football the past couple of years. I'm not saying that can happen to all 240 schools, but it's possible (but unlikely).

Good discussion here...
« Last Edit: December 21, 2011, 01:21:32 pm by 02 Warhawk »
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Offline jknezek

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Re: Are the Purple Powers bad for D3?
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2011, 01:38:20 pm »
I think you hit it on the head 02 Warhawk. Not every issue has or needs a solution. Personally I think time will take care of some of it. UMU and UWW fans may not want to hear it, but nothing lasts forever, although it seems like UMU is working on it! That being said, I just don't believe, given the current landscape of D3, that we will ever have a truly broad base of schools with a chance to win the title at any given time. There are just too few rules that govern D3 to help foster a semblance of parity.

Call it a structural flaw if you want. I believe it hurts the legitimacy of D3 football competition, but with 240 member institutions and seemingly more announced every year, D3 football as it is presently constructed is doing pretty well regardless of whether the Purple Powers are good or bad...

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Offline Pat Coleman

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Re: Are the Purple Powers bad for D3?
« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2011, 02:01:29 pm »
I find it somewhat ironic that this run has started after the NCAA Division III member schools voted to eliminate redshirting, which was supposed to balance the field more.
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Offline AO

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Re: Are the Purple Powers bad for D3?
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2011, 02:03:39 pm »
Parity doesn't need to be a goal or achievement.   Jknezek referenced the european soccer leagues that don't have much parity, but failed to mention the fact that those leagues with little parity are also hugely successful.  The big clubs with the money do the majority of the winning, but that doesn't mean the little clubs have no support.  The little teams understand they don't have many of the advantages of the bigger clubs, but they don't demand handicaps such as a salary cap to compete.  It also helps to have promotion/relegation to give each team something to fight for to maintain or gain position amongst all divisions.  You might be 2-6, but your next game against another 2-6 team might determine your division for next year, making for a well attended closely fought game.  We may hate the yankees but they sure do help baseball's popularity and tv money. 

Offline retagent

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Re: Are the Purple Powers bad for D3?
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2011, 03:08:07 pm »
I understand what gordonmann is saying, and agree, for the most part. I took the question as asking whether it was good for D III football. As far as European soccer, I would think that the broad support of that sport among the Euro masses, is a main reason for it's ability to draw support for the "lesser" teams. They just like soccer. I've attended more UWW games in the past few years, because I live about 1/2 hour from Whitewater, than those of my alma mater (some overlapped). I have an interest in D III football because I attended St John's. If that was not the case, I might not have gone to any games. If SJU did not have a program where they have competed at the higher level, my interest would be minimal.

Offline gordonmann

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Re: Are the Purple Powers bad for D3?
« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2011, 03:55:42 pm »
Quote
I find it somewhat ironic that this run has started after the NCAA Division III member schools voted to eliminate redshirting, which was supposed to balance the field more.


I don't remember how redshirts worked. But maybe eliminating red shirts had the opposite effect within individual conferences because the red shirts helped some schools more than others. Maybe WIAC school X was able to compete with UW-Whitewater more easily when both could offer redshirts. The elimination of red shirts hurts WIAC school X more than it hurt UW-Whitewater for whatever reason and the gap between the programs grew.

Just a theory.

Offline Jonny "Utes" Utah

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Re: Are the Purple Powers bad for D3?
« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2011, 04:49:56 pm »
I have heard in the past people with the opinion that MUC and UWW should leave d3 and go 1-aa or d2 , (which I think is silly).

But I have always wondered why these two teams at least try to schedule a 1-aa team.  Or any d3 team for that matter.  It happens in other sports (Hell, Boston College plays the Red Sox in a baseball exibition game).  I always wondered why these games don't happen.

Offline Pat Coleman

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Re: Are the Purple Powers bad for D3?
« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2011, 04:58:01 pm »
I was meaning more in terms of the WIAC (and ASC and NWC) using them while almost nobody else did. The cutting down on 23-year-old seniors doesn't seem to have made UWW less competitive.

JU -- it takes two to schedule. Not much point in taking that game if you're on the other side. You can't prove anything by winning and can look bad by losing.
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Offline AO

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Re: Are the Purple Powers bad for D3?
« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2011, 05:28:51 pm »
I was meaning more in terms of the WIAC (and ASC and NWC) using them while almost nobody else did. The cutting down on 23-year-old seniors doesn't seem to have made UWW less competitive.

JU -- it takes two to schedule. Not much point in taking that game if you're on the other side. You can't prove anything by winning and can look bad by losing.
If Youngstown State is willing to schedule Valparaiso, why not schedule Franklin or Mount?  They'd look worse if they lost to Valpo than if they lost to Mount and Mount would bring a bigger gate.

Offline Jonny "Utes" Utah

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Re: Are the Purple Powers bad for D3?
« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2011, 05:32:59 pm »
I was meaning more in terms of the WIAC (and ASC and NWC) using them while almost nobody else did. The cutting down on 23-year-old seniors doesn't seem to have made UWW less competitive.

JU -- it takes two to schedule. Not much point in taking that game if you're on the other side. You can't prove anything by winning and can look bad by losing.

I agree but they do it in basketball and some other sports as well.  I would think you would see at least a few cross divisional football games each year.  I would think a Youngstown/Mt. Union game would generate some good Ohio college interest for both schools.