The upcoming NCAA D-III sports season will look a bit different than usual due to the ongoing pandemic, which brought an end to multiple winter championships in March, along with numerous spring sports seasons.
Yesterday the Division III Administrative Committee approved the recommendation from the Division III Membership and Championships Committee to allow its various members to compete in fewer contests than usual this upcoming school year – 33 percent less than normal, to be exact – so they can be eligible to contend for a national title.
The reduction of contests will allow each institution to remain in compliance to compete for a championship but also provide flexibility for athletic departments when it comes to scheduling to “seeking relief in the form of waivers.”
“We hope that a reduction in contest minimums will provide flexibility to our member schools as they work to reopen during what is a very uncertain and complex time,” said Tori Murden McClure, the chair of the committee and Spalding president, in Friday’s release. “We understand this won’t fix everything for everyone, but we believe it is the right move at this time and we will remain flexible moving forward.”
The flexibility will certainly help schools when it comes to reopening – it is possible some schools could start earlier or later like a slew of Division I institutions announced this month, including Notre Dame and Syracuse University.
Football teams, including those here in New England, would only need to compete in five contests this fall to be eligible to compete in the NCAA D-III postseason while basketball teams will need to play 12 contests.
As of now, it appears fall championships will occur, but those plans could be altered due to the coronavirus (Covid-19).
For the moment, it appears as if the upcoming college football season is in limbo.
There has been a lot of talk and insight from various minds these past few weeks about the 2020 season. Some think a 12-week campaign is feasible while others are hesitant – can we really play games in the midst of a pandemic?
And then there is the issue surrounding testing. Will there be enough for every player, coach, and team representative? How many times will they need to be tested? And what happens if a coach, player, or team representative contracts the virus? Would that mean Saturday’s game against Clemson University or Florida State is canceled or postponed?
Testing will be the key for not just Notre Dame, but every institution – big or small – with keeping students, faculty, and staff safe during these unprecedented times.
While many are anxious for some news and announcements about the upcoming college football season, as well as if and when schools will be open, it appears those decisions should be coming in the next few weeks. And it is possible some decisions such as if and when a fall sports season could occur, may come as late as mid-July.
So, for the moment, we wait and anxiously scour the internet and social media for any breadcrumb we can find about the upcoming college football season, along with the new normal.
The thought of the upcoming college football season starting on time seems to be the thought of many these days, including ESPN’s Chris Fowler, who appeared earlier today on the Dan Patrick Show to discuss the idea of postponing games until next February.
Sure, playing football next February or March might seem strange or odd to all of us, but Fowler’s thought is certainly not a bad one considering most leagues are unsure of when or if their respective seasons will begin or resume.
Others in the college football world have also been pressed about delayed starts, including Notre Dame‘s Brian Kelly, who told Mike Tirico during last week’s Lunch Talk Live that the Fighting Irish could still play a twelve game schedule, even if it meant starting their season in October.
ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio believes if the upcoming college football season were to be delayed, it would provide an opportunity for the NFL to get more creative with its scheduling, including playing games on Saturdays.
For now, college football games remain scheduled, but we’ll keep you updated as more news comes out about the possibility of a delayed start to the 2020 season. And a potential delay would almost certainly impact the various New England schools, too.
As always, we hope everyone is doing well and staying safe.
It looks like it is going to be an indoor day from a quick glance outside the window, so stay inside and enjoy a brand new ‘On This Date in History’ for Wednesday, April 8th, 2020.
On This Date in History: Wednesday, April 8th, 2020
1940:John Havlicek, who played 16 seasons for the Boston Celtics and won eight NBA titles with the Green and White, was born on this date in Martins Ferry, Ohio. Nicknamed “Hondo,” the small forward/shooting guard was named to both the NBA’s 35th and 50th Anniversary Teams.
1943: The Detroit Red Wings defeated the BostonBruins, 2-0, in the fourth game of the NHL‘s Stanley Cup to secure a series sweep of the Black and Gold. The game was held in the Boston Garden – that would be the original Garden for those keeping track at home. Detroit outscored Boston, 6-0, in the final two games of the series.
2003: The Connecticut women’s basketball team defeated Tennessee in the NCAA Championship, capping their campaign with a 37-1 record (the Huskies’ lone setback of the 2002-03 season came against Villanova on Tuesday, March 11, 2003.). Diana Taurasi was named the Most Outstanding Player while earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team with Ann Strother. Tennesse was represented by Gwen Jackson and Kara Lawson.
2012: The Detroit Tigers outlasted the Boston Red Sox, 13-12, in a thrilling eleven inning clash, which took almost five hours to be played. Nick Punto and Mike Aviles concluded the game with three RBI for the Sox, respectively, while Adrian Gonzalez smacked his first home run of the season.
2014: The Connecticut women’s basketball team celebrated another NCAA Championship with a 79-58 win over Notre Dame. The Huskies’ victory came one day after the men’s team beat Kentucky in the championship by a score of 60-54. It was just the second time in NCAA history that the same school had won both the men’s and women’s tournaments after the school won both title games in 2004.
Some random thoughts after looking around at the local and national basketball landscape.
The Atlantic Coast Conference(ACC)/Big Ten Conference(B1G) Basketball Challenge is always at the top of my viewing list each year – I love channel surfing.
This year, the Big 10 Conference reigned supreme with some impressive showings by Maryland, Purdue, Ohio State, and Penn State.
Purdue absolutely dismantled Virginia and exposed the ‘Hoos offensive shortcomings while Ohio State throttled North Carolina. It’s early but Ohio State is looking like they have the horsepower to make a run to the Final Four next April.
Speaking of the ACC, Boston College is on a four-game losing spin and facing a rigorous conference road trip this Saturday at Norte Dame. A highly-touted freshman class must grow up in a hurry or the Eagles will once again reside in the ACC’s bottom quartile.
Save the date: current No. 1 Louisville will visit Conte Forum on Jan. 29. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m.
Carl Pierre, who played high school basketball at Boston College High School, is having an excellent season at UMass. The 2017 Catholic Conference MVP and two-time conference all-star selection is currently averaging 12 points per game.
Pierre and the Minutemen will visit Harvard on Saturday, December 7th with tip-off scheduled for 1 p.m. UMass will attempt to snap a four-game skid, which began prior to Thanksgiving with a 58-46 setback to Virginia. Harvard enters the non-conference clash at 4-4 – the Crimson have lost two-straight since beating Texas A&M last Thursday.
Newton North’s Ethan Wright has seen an uptick in playing time this season with the Princeton Tigers. The second-year guard has logged 93 minutes in six contests this season – he even started a game last month against Indiana. Wright has scored 13 points on 5 of 21 shooting, including 3 of 14 from beyond the arc. He has pulled down 13 rebounds, including two offensive caroms to go along with five assists and two blocks.
Wright and the Tigers sit at 1-6 and are scheduled to compete next Tuesday, December 10th against Monmouth. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Coach Trish Brown and the Stonehill College women’s basketball team are off to an impressive 6-2 start. Sure, their lone setbacks have come against Bentley and Molloy, but they have been fun to watch, especially in their last two contests against Assumption College and Franklin Pierce.
Emily Bramanti, who played locally for Westford Academy, credited all of her teammates in their most recent win against the Ravens for stepping-up and making plays when needed.
Bramanti concluded her team’s eighth contest with a team-high 16 points.
Stonehill hosts Saint Anselm College on Saturday before heading to Daytona Beach Florida two weeks later to compete in the Daytona Beach Shootout.
Finally, the Babson College men’s basketball team scored an exciting and impressive win last night over Amherst College. Frank Oftring, who grew up in North Attleboro, Massachusetts netted a career-high 30 points in the win to go along with 10 rebounds.
Babson’s Andrew Jaworski finished with 23 points with four of those points being recorded during the final 30 seconds of the second half.
Babson, which is 12-3 against the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) dating back to the 2016-17 season, will look to continue its early-season momentum this weekend when they compete in the New England Big 4 Challenge at Salem State University.
I’m getting ready to head back to warm and sunny Florida so I’ll be writing from the Sunshine State next week.