No spring ball?

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No spring ball?

Post by Geezaldinho on Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:24 pm

It was mentioned somewhere...

Here's an article to get you thinking

http://www.examiner.com/soccer-in-national/d1-college-soccer-jeopardy-as-ncaa-moves-to-eliminate-spring-competition

The United States college soccer program stands in jeopardy right now as the NCAA moves to eliminate Division 1 non-championship season competition (spring games) and beyond that, reduce overall competition by 10%.

All NCAA Division 1 sports face a 10% reduction in competition, but the sports targeted for major cuts through elimination of spring competition are soccer, volleyball, women’s lacrosse, field hockey, softball and cross country. Division 1 football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, and men’s lacrosse would not be affected by the elimination of non-championship season competition. Nor would Division 2, Division 3 and NAIA schools be affected.

Non-championship season competition refers to non-countable games, basically springtime development games. All of the extended football, baseball and basketball season is constituted as regular season competition and counts on their record. Soccer already has one of the shortest competitive seasons in the NCAA and by eliminating the developmental games, the NCAA further marginalizes the sport.

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Should the NCAA Resource Allocation Work Group recommendation become binding, spring competition in Division 1 soccer could cease as early as spring 2012 and the soccer playing careers of currently enrolled student athletes might suddenly be derailed. College soccer coaches have voiced almost unanimous opposition to the recommendation and of a survey sent to 12,500 Division 1 men’s and women’s soccer players, 10,284 responded with 93% strongly opposing the elimination of the non-championship season. Also, if spring competition is eliminated, top Division 1 soccer coaches might consider their hard work undermined and leave the college game.

Misdirected academic concerns

The initiative for this proposal appears to come from college faculty looking to cut costs and redirect student focus on academics.

“Many faculty think that athletics are over-emphasized, over-funded and it’s at the expense of the concentration being focused on academics,” said Rob Kehoe, Director of College Programs for National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). “But if it’s about academic performance, why would you be targeting these sports?

There’s nobody on college campuses from the president on down who are complaining about the academic performance of soccer teams, volleyball teams, women’s lacrosse teams, softball teams, cross country runners or field hockey players. In terms of academic performance, statistically, these are some of the top performing students on top performing teams in the country and it’s well known that the students on these teams perform above national average of the student body.

These are not the sports where you’re concerned with graduation rates or grade point averages.”

Spring competition essential to soccer development

Around the world, soccer development is a year-round process and U.S. college coaches have been looking to increase the overall number of games to better prepare college players to compete on a professional level and in international competition. But the elimination of spring competition would likely drive top players out of college and into alternative programs and low-level professional contracts. Where MLS Academies and Homegrown player contracts are excellent options for students not aspiring for a college career, top-level Division 1 programs provide ambitious students with the option of pursuing quality education and a sport and provide MLS with fresh talent via the annual MLS SuperDraft.

If Division 1 soccer development is compromised by the removal of spring competition, young soccer players have to make a critical choice at a younger age. But with professional playing opportunities few and far between, after a few years on the pro track, former student athletes opting out of college might realize first team playing spots are out of reach and also find themselves without a college degree or career path. On the other hand, top soccer talent might choose the college route and be excluded from the professional game due to inferior development.

Division 1 soccer programs are only allowed to award minimal scholarships. For men, there are 9.9 scholarships and for women, 14 scholarships. Typically, many are spread throughout the team via partial scholarships to provide athletic financial aid to more players.

But most soccer players are not on athletic scholarships nor on the first string, so these players depend heavily on spring competition for playing time and a chance to advance in the squad.  While under the recommendations practices would be permitted, there would be no more games, which provide those players a way to advance in the squad.

“In the fall a college soccer team plays 14-16 players in the course of a game and with roster sizes between 25-30 players, most of the players play little or no time,” said Kehoe. “The training and competition in the spring gives opportunity for the players who have played little or no time to get some game time, not only for development purposes, but also to have coaches observe them in competitive game situations to provide assessment towards the fall season.

Many players make their mark in the spring and establish a line-up or rotation position for the fall because that is the stage of the season where the formation of the new team for the new season is developed.”

NCAA decision is imminent

Elimination of non-championship season competition has been proposed and defeated in NCAA legislative process in the previous two years, but pressure to pass it has intensified. The 2011 proposal was, in fact, already recommended but after opposition from soccer, softball, volleyball and other impacted athletic organizations, on November 4, the Resource Allocation Work Group agreed to review it in the coming days.

[These work groups, assembled through new NCAA president Mark Emmert, are comprised of representatives from conferences, schools (typically presidents from schools), some athletic directors, some sport association representatives, and some student athletes.]

“Our assumption is they’re preparing recommendations in advance of the NCAA convention on January 11-15,” said Kehoe. “The expectation is that the workgroup recommendation will be discussed and decisions will be made on them by the Board of Directors in conjunction with the NCAA convention.”

Competition alternatives would test NCAA

It’s logical that if Division 1 soccer was compromised in this way and spring competition eliminated, those affected soccer players would be afforded alternative ways to train and compete through relaxation of certain NCAA regulations, but no such provisions were included in the proposal.

“At this point, the NCAA legislation prevents that, but that’s one of the statements we put in our position statement that was sent to the resource allocation work group – a point on demand to play,” said Kehoe. “With aspirations, college players are probably going to demand the opportunity to play. Either from the professional aspiration level or in preparation for the fall season of competition in college, they want to play, they want to compete because they want to be prepared to achieve.

I would assume that would be the next thing, alternative sources for training and competition, which would be opening a whole new avenue of discussion with the NCAA.”

If this recommendation is approved, Kehoe said, “It is likely that there would be movement toward that end.” However, although the recommendation could eliminate 2012 spring competition, it would take till April 2013 to get action on a proposal for alternative training and competition.

“It would have to go through the next legislative process and the next legislative cycle begins the following August,” said Kehoe. “Proposals are submitted in the summer and the proposals are made public in the middle of August. Then they go through a whole decision-making process, discussions and reviews. Then there’s a first vote on legislative proposals at the NCAA convention in January, then there’s a period where people can comment and suggest overriding legislative decisions and then there’s a final vote in April.

So April 2013 would probably be the earliest if there was an alternate opportunity to fill the competition gap.”

US Soccer: two steps forward, one step back

Overall, the recommendation appears a misguided attempt to improve academic performance by targeting the wrong sports, sports with academically high-performing students instead of sports like football and basketball, which have a long history of academic violations. Reduced training will limit Division 1 soccer players’ ability to play the pro game and discourage good players and students from attending college, which allows them to contribute to society after their playing career is over. Beyond that, players with already high grades might find themselves with more free time than they’re accustomed to.

“If you have players that have eight months without competition opportunities, what happens to their discipline?” said Kehoe. “In a campus situation, they’re going to be bored and involved with the scourge of the college campus, which is substance abuse and relationship abuse issues. The sport serves as a deterrent from being involved in things that are irresponsible, illegal activities that are very prevalent on college campuses.

“These kids aren’t going to go to the library more. Why would they? They already have good grades.”

For more about the crisis in college soccer, complete with interviews with the United States’ top Division 1 coaches, read the ultimate analysis, College Soccer at the Crossroads.

Resource Allocation Work Group proposal

Post-Presidential Retreat Updates
November 11, 2011
 
NOTE: For the working groups other than Resource Allocation, the October 28 update document remains current. We intend to send an update next week as well, following the November 16 meeting of the Collegiate Model: Enforcement Working Group.  
 
Resource Allocation Working Group
 
Presentation to Board: January 2012
Chair: Michael Adams, President  
University of Georgia
 
Vice Chair: Ann Millner, President
Weber State University
   
DEVELOPMENTS
 
The Resource Allocation Working Group held a teleconference on November 4, 2011. The next teleconference has not been scheduled as of this time.
 
EXISTING INFORMATION
 
The Resource Allocation Working Group held a teleconference on November 4 to review draft recommendations regarding the minimum number of sports required for Division I membership and limitations on non-coaching personnel; the group also discussed revisiting recommendations that have been made to date. The working group:
 
1. Decided to revisit approved proposals to verify that the recommendations correlate with the enduring values that include: academic and athletic student-athlete success; the collegiate model; amateurism; and competitive equity among institutions of similar commitment to collegiate athletics.  The approved proposals to be revisited are:
 
a. Elimination of non-championship segment competition.  The sports with non-championship segment competition are cross country, field hockey, soccer, softball, lacrosse and volleyball.   
 
b. A 10 percent reduction in regular-season competition for all sports.  Note: if the Division I Board passes the elimination of non-championship segment competition, credit would be given for non-championship reductions.   
 
c. Eliminating all foreign travel.
 
d.  Reduction of:

FBS football scholarships from 85 to 80.  
FCS football scholarships from 63 to 60, with 80 overall counters.
Men's basketball scholarships from 13-12.
These scholarships would be apportioned to other women's sports.
In addition, the working group requests that the Committee on Academic Performance (CAP) consider incentives that would allow institutions above a certain APR score to maintain FBS football scholarships at 85, FCS scholarships at 63 (with 85 overall counters), men's basketball scholarships at 13 and women's basketball scholarships at 15.  
2. Reviewed proposals regarding limitations on non-coaching personnel.  Five proposals related to limitations on non-coaching personnel were discussed.  The working group supported a proposal from the Division I-A Athletic Directors Association, which provided for maximum allowable non-coaching personnel for FBS football and men's basketball. The working group directed NCAA staff to work with the DI-A Athletic Directors Association to refine the proposal and to work with FCS institutions to develop a proposal for non-coaching personnel for FCS football.
 
3. Proposals for a change to the minimum number of sports required for Division I membership were on the agenda, but were not discussed. This agenda item will carry forward to the next meeting.

FOLLOW US SOCCER EXAMINER AND LE EISENMENGER ON TWITTER AND SUBSCRIBE TO EMAIL ALERTS.



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Re: No spring ball?

Post by A_Fan on Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:42 pm

It just kills me that football gets 85 (possibly reduced to 80) scholarships. That's nearly 4 players at every offensive and defensive position. No other sport gets such an overabundance of scholarships. It seems like pretty low hanging fruit if the Universities really want to cut their athletic budgets.

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Re: No spring ball?

Post by Geezaldinho on Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:51 pm

it gets more amazing if you follow the resource Allocation Group's documetation along with other committees.

Their proposal includes ALL sports. so... no Football Spring Ball, no extra games for Basketball. ( last weekend's UP men's tourney counts as one game).. and it includes a 10% reduction in ALL seasons.
So in soccer, that means 18 game max in the regular season, which the big conferences might like just fine because of their tiring post season tournaments.

the thing is, another committee, (forget which, but maybe the committee on academics) wants to reward the revenue sports with re-instatement of their games and out of season competition if team's grades stay above 930.

in principle, i'm all for it. but they aren't extending the argument for non revenue sports, so apparently they only care about the academics in the money sports.

I say if it is good for football(which half the ncaa doesn't even play) and Basketball, the same principle should apply to all sports.

As a point of information, if you check out the UP women's soccer team, they have had a perfect 1000 APR every year on Garrett's watch.



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Re: No spring ball?

Post by PurplePrideTrumpet on Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:53 pm

I put up the link in another thread. I'm surprised you hadn't said something earlier. I'd heard some whispers from Chris and others on the net but that's the first actual article I've seen on it.

I know college sports run on money but I thought they'd have a little more respect for the "small time" sports like soccer.

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Re: No spring ball?

Post by Geezaldinho on Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:26 pm

PurplePrideTrumpet wrote:I put up the link in another thread. I'm surprised you hadn't said something earlier. I'd heard some whispers from Chris and others on the net but that's the first actual article I've seen on it.

I know college sports run on money but I thought they'd have a little more respect for the "small time" sports like soccer.

Yeah, when I looked for it I couldn't find it. Sorry.

For you curious folks who have tons of time on your hands, here is what is being discussed.

http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/DI_MC_BOD/DI_BOD/2011/October/Board%20Combined%2010.27.11.pdf

Better yet, make time. It's important.

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Re: No spring ball?

Post by ChrisAWK on Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:40 pm

It doesn't look good from some in the know I've talked with. NSCAA, I believe, distributed a massive survey to all coaches and players, who almost uniformly disapproved of the proposed changes. From what I hear though, it's fallen on deaf ears, with a lot of folks hell bent on driving the legislation through.

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Re: No spring ball?

Post by PurplePrideTrumpet on Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:00 pm

ChrisAWK wrote:It doesn't look good from some in the know I've talked with. NSCAA, I believe, distributed a massive survey to all coaches and players, who almost uniformly disapproved of the proposed changes. From what I hear though, it's fallen on deaf ears, with a lot of folks hell bent on driving the legislation through.

From the article above, it was 12,500 men's and women's players, with about 10,000 responses, 93% of which opposed the changes.

On the men's side, so much for college soccer being a way for guys to develop before entering MLS or other pro leagues.

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Re: No spring ball?

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:18 pm

What makes the reduction in games by 10% even more interesting is, with 20 games per team (actually, the average number is slightly less even when including conference tournaments), according to what the NCAA once said, there are not enough games to make the RPI a good measure of how teams have performed. (In one publication, the NCAA stats staff said the RPI worked best with 25 games or more.) Now, they're going to reduce the number to 18?

What I see looming, though, is a different problem. I hear "Title IX" being chanted over and over on the sidelines of the NCAA discussion of this issue. Maybe those PITA lawyers will nix it. (The Geez probably will recognize that acronym, since he's of the appropriate vintage.)

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Re: No spring ball?

Post by Geezaldinho on Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:46 pm

I don't think the Pacific International Trapshooter's Association will get involved.

But if they don't cut BCS football 10% the US attorney might have a say. That office is already about had it with both the NCAA and the concept that football funds everything and must be exempted ( it doesn't).

And there is already prescedence that this was tried and failed in Florida. In 2009 the Florida high schools tried to cut all sports but football and competitive cheer by 20%. They were stood down by attorney and former Olympic swimmer Nancy Hogsheads-Makar who threatened a civil rights lawsuit. She is The attorney who was appointed by the courts to oversee the rewriting of UNC's harassment policies in the Dorrance case.

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2009-06-06/news/title_1_girls-sports-equity-title-ix

The thing is, I don't see the BCS tolerating cuts to football.

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Re: No spring ball?

Post by Geezaldinho on Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:36 pm

In a case of chutzpah I haven't seen since " read my lips- no new taxes", the NCAA is floating the idea of year round football at the same time it wants to cut Spring ball " in the interests of safety"

Like playing two games a weekend ( something even pros don't do) is safe.

Should College Football Be Year-Round?
Date: November 20, 2011
Author: John Infante
Categories: Bylaw Blog
Skip to comments
Concussions in football are reaching a critical stage. Players, especially in college football, are getting bigger and faster at a rate that helmet technology seems unable to keep up with. Force equals mass times acceleration. Get something big enough moving fast enough and run it into a person, and you generate more force that we can disperse and shield someone’s head from.

Now though, a new problem is coming up. A study has raised the potential that football is becoming so violent that you do not need to suffer a concussion to experience the long term effects:

The scans of the injured player showed as much damage as his teammates who endured routine levels of contact, suggesting to Bazarian and Zhong that extreme hits that made athletes’ vision foggy and eyes starry – telltale signs of concussions – weren’t necessary to cause damage to their brains. Instead, it suggested the hits players endured play-to-play and week-to-week could accumulate and affect the brain’s health. Imagine linemen colliding after each snap, a running back getting bumped while powering through a hole, or linebackers finishing off a play. Those plays – the bedrock of game action – could be adversely affecting a player’s health over time, the results suggested.

The science here is just getting started, but if this research is confirmed and reveals a widespread problem, there would need to be a fundamental change in how football is organized. Rules to prevent head-to-head collisions are of limited value if big hits are only part of the problem. One option would be to remove routine contact from football, but at that point it would be a different sport.

Instead, the challenge should be to look for ways to mitigate this damage caused by regular jostling. One common sense idea would be more rest in between games. But to have more rest, you need either fewer games or a longer season. A slightly longer season would yield another bye week or two, but what if the idea of a football season played in the fall was thrown out in favor of one played over the entire academic year?

A season played over the entire academic year would also mean changing practice limits. 20 hours of athletic activity over six days a week would be quite the grind over an entire academic year. The limits would have to be somewhere between the in-season limits and the offseason limits, something along the lines of 15 hours per week, maximum of 4 hours per day, and two required off days per week. Hopefully a longer season also reduces the pressure on student-athletes to engage in voluntary activity, which adds on another 20 hours for the average FBS student-athlete.

A competition schedule might have teams playing every other week, with the occasional game on back-to-back weeks and/or two weeks off (so half of the teams aren’t one schedule and half on the other). Even with a playoff that adds games beyond the current maximum of 14, there would be periods of extended rest.

A number of ancillary benefits are possible as well. A steady practice schedule that includes fewer hours per week of athletic commitments could help academics. A longer season frees up television slots on the weekend, reducing the number of midweek games. With games every other week, coaches might have better work-life balance and more time to recruit.

Tradition would definitely be thrown out the window and there’s a chance that year-round college football would not be as great a commercial success as it might seem given the public’s seemingly insatiable appetite for the sport. But if we’re serious about the health and welfare of student-athletes, any idea that maintains the core of the sport and reduces long-term damage needs to be explored.

These ideas are a long way off though. First more study is needed to confirm this phenomenon and measure the extent of it. Assuming it is, the NCAA and researches should figure out a way to test different competition and practice schedules to see if it makes a difference. Perhaps a shorter season with a longer offseason is better. Or perhaps the key is to reduce cumulative damage by having longer periods between each game. And if that’s the case, the membership should be prepared to take even the radical step of playing football in the Spring.

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Re: No spring ball?

Post by DaTruRochin on Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:42 pm


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Re: No spring ball?

Post by fan from afar on Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:04 am

Wow. I'm glad I didn't let my kids play football. Why would any parent allow it?

I can't see that extra rest would make much if any difference. The damage to the brain has already happened. If additional rest could repair the injuries, it would do so with the retired players, and it would do so during the off-season.

Don't allow your kids to play football!! Get them into futball.

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Re: No spring ball?

Post by DaTruRochin on Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:05 am

fan from afar wrote:
Don't allow your kids to play football!! Get them into futball.

While I agree wholeheartedly, I would be remiss in not mentioning this too:
http://articles.boston.com/2011-04-24/yourtown/29469461_1_taylor-twellman-galaxy-goalkeeper-steve-cronin

Although the risk in proper football isn't there on every play as in the pointyball version, it is most definitely a risk (Haha, I unfortunately speak from personal experience)

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Re: No spring ball?

Post by fan from afar on Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:14 pm

Interesting article. I guess I was wrong in my previous post about extra rest not making a difference.

When I was coaching, I did pre-high school boys for a long time and then a girls high school team for several years. I was leery from day one about headers, and I did very little "header" practice. That is especially important with younger kids. With my boys team, the ball was still on the ground most of the time, so head collisions were extremely rare. I never had one with my teams. Many, maybe most, of the girls on my high school team didn't like heading. We practiced it a little, for very short periods of time, but if a girl didn't like heading, I did not push it. I never saw a head collision. I guess it first becomes a real factor in the college game.

It seems to me that some sort of head protection might be in order. I have no idea whether any research has been done on this - whether a partial helmet might make a difference. You certainly would not want something like a football helmet, but maybe something to partially protect the head where it hits the ball on a header. One of the licensing clinics I attended was run by a former English pro. At one session on heading, he did a demo which really wowed everyone - smashed a header into the goal from distance. He had been hesitant to do the demo, he said, because all the years of heading in his younger days had left him with occasional headaches. It's the one part of soccer I question, but I don't have an answer - it's such an important part of the game.

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Re: No spring ball?

Post by DaTruRochin on Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:09 pm

Yeah... It is a huge issue, and if you ban heading, good bye free kicks, corner kicks and anything else that relies on defensive/offensive heading or anything of that matter. It would change the very nature of the game, and make it more like a game of foosball without the rods going through the players sides.

The heading of the ball is an issue when you are younger and your brain is still developing, but as you get older, you are susceptible on headers from fists and other heads more than the ball itself just because of the increased athleticism. The other thing is once you have one nasty concussion, it doesn't take much to get another one, just a header, or even a 50-50 collision that wouldn't normally affect you can trigger it.

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Re: No spring ball?

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:58 pm

As long as this thread has veered off into concussions, I think the more significant information is in this article published by the NCAA: http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/ncaa/resources/latest+news/2011/november/rochester+study+suggests+concussive+effects+of+cumulative+hits?&utm_source=delivra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NCAA%20News%20Direct

Current research, although apparently not conclusive, seems to be saying that in terms of eventual outcomes, regular head banging that does not result in concussions can produce just as much brain trauma. This is pretty disturbing.

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Re: No spring ball?

Post by fan from afar on Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:29 pm

Another good article.

It is indeed disturbing. I wonder if "regular head banging" will be shown to include heading a soccer ball on a regular basis. VERY disturbing. I think the sport could find a way to deal with the occasional head-to-head encounter, but this would be something else. And, I wonder how the results will turn out when they do a third test after 6 months to see if things have healed. That might actually be the most important result.

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Re: No spring ball?

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:01 pm

According to a poster over on BigSoccer, it appears the NCAA has put discussion about not allowing Spring games "on hold." Since the proposal under consideration involved the non-revenue sports and appeared to have a disproportionate impact on women, I'm guessing that, in part, the lawyers said, "Whoaa, here, Title IX, Title IX ...." Plus, maybe the near 100% opposition from the athletes themselves had an impact.

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Re: No spring ball?

Post by purple passion on Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:32 am

According to the University of Washington women's soccer page on the Huskies website, the University of Portland women will play a spring game against the Huskies on April 1 at 3PM at the Huskies.

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