Thursday, June 26, 2014

We're No. 44, And No. 1

TigerBlog thinks he watched more of the College World Series than he did of the NBA and NHL playoffs combined.

That's not really saying much, since he hardly watched any of the pro playoffs. He definitely watched more of the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament first round than he did of all three of the other events combined.

The College World Series ended yesterday, as Vanderbilt defeated Virginia in the decisive third game 3-2, snapping a tie game on a home run in the eighth inning from John Norwood. It was the first NCAA men's championship in Vanderbilt history, and the school's only previous NCAA title was in women's bowling.

In case you don't have a calendar or a calendar app on your phone, yesterday was June 25. Or, in other words, it was long after school ended and graduations were held at basically every college in America.

So is it a good idea or a bad idea to extend the season so long after the players are no longer in school? Graduation at Vanderbilt, for instance, was May 9; the last day of finals was May 1.

TigerBlog isn't sure.

On the one hand, the point of college athletics is that they are representing the school as students as well as athletes, and there is supposed to be a balance between the two, or at the very least in some cases the appearance of a balance between the two.

The fall sports seasons now get going on most campuses before classes begin, but at least they are looming in the near future

In the case of playing long after school has ended, there is no academic component of any kind. And in this case, it's going on for nearly two months after that academic component has ended. Actually, going back to Vanderbilt's academic calendar, the players could be enrolled in summer classes, which began June 3, though there is no requirement that they are. TB wonders how many have been doing so. He'd guess the number isn't high.

The reason for doing this, of course, is the weather. Why play huge baseball games in April when May and ultimately June are much more conducive to it?

All of this takes TB to his favorite sport, lacrosse.

Exactly four months to the day before the College World Series ended, TigerBlog stood on a field at Manhattan College and shivered while Princeton defeated the home team 14-8. Gametime temperature was 28 degrees; by the time it ended, it was about half that.

The NCAA lacrosse championships for the men and women are both held Memorial Day weekend. Would it make more sense to start lacrosse season later and go into June for the championships?

Forgetting things like academic calendars and the lacrosse culture and the history of having the final on Memorial Day, it would make unbelievable sense weather-wise at least. Most of the lacrosse world plays, what, 80% of its games before the Northeast spring turns consistently favorable.

Maybe it's worth trying. TB doubts it will happen. If anything, it's likely that the opposite will be true, and the season will continue to start earlier and earlier.

Anyway, the last out of the baseball game last night also meant the end of the athletic year of 2013-14 for college athletics.

Though the final standings won't be announced until tomorrow, Princeton will be 44th in the final Learfield Sports NACDA Directors' Cup standings, which use NCAA championship participation and finish to rank the top programs in Division I, Division II and Division III. Once again, Princeton will be the highest finishing Ivy League school.

In addition, Princeton will also be the fourth-best among teams not from the five power conferences (SEC, Big 10, Pac 12, ACC, Big Ten), behind Louisville, BYU and, of all people, Denver.

This year is the 21st year of the Directors' Cup, which has had several different sponsors during that time. Princeton has finished in the top 50 18 times.

The 2013-14 year is also the 18th time in those 21 years that Princeton has finished first in the Ivy League.

TigerBlog always loves to look at the standings and see the teams that finished directly behind Princeton, because those are usually schools that devote much greater financial resources - and fully funded athletic scholarships - to athletics.

This year, Princeton is No. 44. Who's next?

No. 45 is Missouri. No. 46 is Illinois. No. 47 is Purdue.

No. 48? Harvard.

It will all become official when the final standings are released, probably tomorrow. The NACDA people had to wait until the end of the athletic year to do so.

And now it's over.

Long after the academic year.

TigerBlog thinks it might be worth trying it for lacrosse.

1 comment:

Victoria Rosenfeld, Princeton Sports Dietitian said...

My sentiments exactly. Princeton excels in academics, arts, and in athletics! To all those who think we don't compete or write off the Ivy League, think again.