This Week in Division III: Jan. 15, 2004


It was mostly good news from the NCAA convention — the Division III membership saw through many of the Division III reform proposals and shot them down. In summary:

  • The grandfathered Division III schools playing at the Division I level that offer scholarships will continue to do so. This is a major victory for college hockey, and it wasn’t even close — the vote was 296 to 106.
  • The Division III game limit will remain at 25 games, not reduced by 10% as had been proposed. This was also soundly defeated, 262 to 151.
  • The Division III schedule will be reduced from 21 weeks to 19 weeks. This was passed by a relatively close margin (238-180) . Ironically, if this does affect academics, it will do so in a negative way — more weeknight games and less time off for most teams, as they try to fit the same number of games into a shorter season.
  • The redshirt rule was amended to permit exceptions for certain academic reasons — international study, co-ops etc. A medical reason is the only other way to redshirt. Players who become academically ineligible must stay away for a full season — no practices, etc.

    Other proposals were passed that reduce non-traditional season activities, which primarily affect sports like baseball and soccer, sports which play some games both in spring and fall. Also, players can now “self-release,” meaning they do not have to be released from their school to talk to a coach from another school about transferring.

    In summary, the good guys won, although you won’t hear Middlebury president John McCardell say so. The Chairman of the Division III President’s Council put this spin on things in the Baltimore Sun: “One is always disappointed when a measure is put up in front of a group and it’s not adopted. We made a heap of our winnings and we won most.”

    Yeah, right. McCardell lost on the issues he and the rest of the President’s Council really wanted: elimination of scholarships and a reduction in games. Most delegates saw through the feel-good, pointless grandstanding and voted accordingly.

    Scoreboard, Dr. McCardell.

    Speaking of Scoreboard

    Here is the list of Division III hockey schools that voted to shorten the season: Amherst, Babson, Bowdoin, Colby, Conn College, Fitchburg State, Hamilton, Hobart, Lake Forest, Lawrence, Middlebury, Neumann, New England, Nichols, Plattsburgh, Plymouth State, Salem State, Salve Regina, St. Norbert, Oswego, Trinity, Tufts, Mass-Boston, Utica, Wentworth, Wesleyan, Williams.

    Here’s the list of schools that voted to take away scholarships from Clarkson, St. Lawrence, Rensselaer and Colorado College: Amherst, Colby, Concordia, Fitchburg State, Hamilton, Hamline, Manhattanville, Middlebury, Neumann, Plattsburgh, St. Norbert, Trinity, Mass-Boston, Wesleyan, Worcester State.

    Scoreboards Again

    It’s time to look at the real scoreboard: what transpired on the ice last weekend. It must have been a tough time for poll voters last Monday. Other than the top three schools in the poll, which were a combined 7-0 while the rest of the poll was only 9-9-1. Consequently, we saw things like:

  • Wisconsin-River Falls managing only a split with unranked Marian but moving up a spot.
  • Plattsburgh tieing its only game of the week (to Williams) yet staying in the sixth position.
  • St. John’s splitting with unranked Gustavus Adolphus but moving up two spots.

    Never dull. A hot team could move from nowhere into the top five by stringing together four or five wins.

    Letters, I Got Letters

    I got a record (for me anyway) number of responses to last week’s column, and I want to thank the readers who took the time to do so. Ones disagreeing with my position on the Division III reforms initially outnumbered the positive ones, but as the week went by, things evened out and eventually went to the plus side by an almost 2-1 margin. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one passionate about Division III hockey — everyone who wrote me demonstrated their passion for the game, agree with me or not.


    Power Ratings

    Here’s the first set for 2004:

    1. Norwich — Coming off a 3-0 week and there’s no letting up.

    2. St. Norbert — Swept Lake Forest to maintain its “best in the West” ranking.

    3. Middlebury — Hosts Bowdoin and Colby this weekend.

    4. Wisconsin-River Falls — Now things get interesting. Lost to Marian, but still hold on to number four.

    5. Lake Forest — Can the Foresters recover from a disappointing weekend? They have to come right back and play UWRF.

    6. Bowdoin — Getting hot, can they keep it up against Middlebury and Williams?

    7. Plattsburgh — Has had trouble scoring goals as of late.

    8. RIT — Was a big 9-1 win over Curry a fluke?

    9. St. John’s — Which team will show up against Concordia this weekend?

    10. Curry — Had a tough weekend, now must focus on conference games.

    11. Oswego — Off for another week.

    12. Wisconsin-Superior — Looks like the ‘Jackets are back on track.

    13. New England — Only two losses so far.

    14. Wisconsin-Stevens Point — Just one loss since 11/14.

    15. Manhattanville — Hot and cold so far.