Birmingham-Southern, welcome to D-III

Birmingham-Southern fans, coaches, student-athletes:

Welcome to Division III.

We don’t harbor any delusions that you want to be here. From the outside, Division III doesn’t compare very favorably to Division I. But let’s be honest: Birimgham-Southern wasn’t a Division I power, and the trip from Division I mid-major to Division III isn’t as far as you might think.

Your school is giving scholarship money to more than 200 people solely based on athletic ability. When that stops, your institution will be able to redirect that money to award need-based or academic-based aid. That will raise the level of the student body and, in fact, will increase the value of your degree.

You may not think much of your likely new fellow conference members, but let’s be honest — it’s not like the Big South is populated by well-known names. High Point? UNC Asheville? Radford? Winthrop? Rhodes, Trinity University, Austin College, Colorado College and others have stellar reputations, and they are not based on being on the 13, 14 or 15 line every March … or by being the brainchild of a televangelist.

Coaches and administrators: I expect you have no desire to be in Division III. If you are at all conflicted about the Division III mission, I would suggest leaving. You can’t be half-hearted about Division III. It’s a challenge. But if you’ve ever faced a halfway-decent Division III program you know one thing: This is not glorified high school ball.

A further discussion of the issues is posted in our Q&A with Birmingham-Southern president David Pollick.

17 thoughts on “Birmingham-Southern, welcome to D-III

  1. In the coming months B-SC students will likely learn some home truths: D3 venues, including the scorned Augsburg, feature highly competitive teams with very good athletes — and don’t have the baggage of obscene monetary outlays found in D1.

  2. We invite you to read some serious discussion about the BSC decision on the original blog.

    We also note that your 2001 NAIA Baseball Championship occurred during the D-1 provisional years in the “ramp-up” to D1.

    I am ecstatic for you. You will be proud of your accomplishments in D3. Moreover, you will likely have more athletes competing when you have completed your move to D3.

    There isn’t anything in D1 that rivals the D3community on these (the and web sites.

    What’s more, get ready for your tailgating parties when football starts. With all of that Alabama football talent that is 3″ inches too short and 0.3 secs too slow to play for Auburn or ‘Bama (or Troy State for that matter), you can still strap the helmet on for another four years!

    Welcome aboard!

  3. The Birmingham Southern to the SCAC must be a done deal, why else would they announce the adding of football at that time?

    So I am guessing it will look like this:

    Austin College-Colorado College

    Millsaps-Birmingham Southern

    Does that mean the conference will go from 14 conference games to 16? It would appear so. How does that change the conference tournament? Still an eight team event? Does it become a six team event with division champs getting byes?

  4. The next question that is deserving of its own post is how quickly will Birmingham Southern adjust their academic standards for prospective student-athletes and in particular for basketball players? Might BSC have a huge advantage over other SCAC schools in admissions? Now obviously they have been stretching in the past because of their D1 status but if they come up a bit in standards are they still way out of line with the rest of the SCAC?

    The conference should look into this closely before they jump on the promise of another football membership.

  5. Wow. Sorry for all of the posts.

    Further thinking made me realize that the 16 game schedule wouldn’t work with travel partners because it would lead to teams in a division not playing the same number of home vs away games. This is assuming a 16 game model would mean home and home vs division opponents and playing each cross-division opponent once.

  6. Good afternoon, Carl. I think that President Pollick has set that dynamic in motion, the dynamic to reflect the academic standards of the peer institutions in the SCAC. If I may suggest what I read between the lines, the commitment is to an academic program such as the Centennial Conference, MAC and SCAC schools that he mentioned.

    BSC may try to improve some diversity numbers and maintain some of the international students, but he is opening up some funds for “need”. I think that it is the faculty who will maintain the academic standards. On the current timetable, BSC doesn’t compete in the NCAA until 2011-2012. IMHO, the scholastic “underachievers” are likely to transfer to a less difficult school at the first chance.

    The outside metrics, e.g., USN&WR, the Princeton Review, etc., are still evaluating the school. To quote a fellow poster, ceteris paribus, I think that BSC makes the transition as smoothly as can be expected.

  7. Carl, concerning your Post #6, the sixteen game schedule might work with a pair of neutral site games, or rotating the inter-division games and playing only 4 inter-divisional games, as the ASC tried about 4 years ago.

    An alternative would be to count only the intra-divisional games towards the division standings. The inter-divisional games would help to fill out the schedule with “in-region” opponents.

    As it stands now, in the first 2 years (2007-08 and 2008-09), the games with BSC do not count in the NCAA calculations. We have gone thru that in the ASC with UT-Tyler.

  8. I agree that the President has certain goals that are apparent but as I read the articles this morning the move by BSC seemed to be much more about finances and less about academics. After all, as the school was quick to point out, their teams were doing pretty well in the classroom and their student-athletes were graduating at a rate above the normal student.

    Now normally most smaller Division I schools will not stray that far from their average admissions profile for non-revenue generating sports. That is why I made this a basketball specific issue.

    There are currently four JuCo transfers on the BSC roster and one student who graduated from Eldon Academy in Michigan. Now I am not saying that JuCo transfers are all bad students coming out of high school, but in D-1 men’s basketball that is generally the case more times than not. Eldon Academy has an interesting history. Again, no judgement on every kid, just the average kid.

    If some of these kids struggled to qualify out of high school that would put them very far from the average SCAC student-athlete. BSC could drastically improve the bottom end men’s basketball player’s academic profile and still be well off of the norm for the SCAC.

    Now, I am NOT saying that this is definitely the case. I am just saying the conference should not jump too quickly at a 12th member that fits geographically and adds another football program. Make sure it is the right fit. The conference doesn’t have to have another football school and the University of Dallas is unquestionably a good fit academically.

  9. Odd. I read the first two questions of the Q&A and come away with a completely different perspective:

    D3: What were your impressions of BSC as a Division I school?
    DP: Probably the best Division I program I’ve ever seen in terms of integrity, quality of coaches, athletic director, quality of performance, simply superb. It graduates student-athletes at a higher level than the rest of the student body. We have a very strong academic profile so all of our kids are graduating at a very high rate, with very strong GPAs, but the athletes fit right into that profile. There was no deviation at all.

    D3: It sounds an awful lot like a Division III school.
    DP: The college itself matches that profile, we’re 1,300-plus students, a Phi Beta Kappa institution, we look like the ones you’re familiar with, the Gettysburgs, Dickinsons, F&Ms, from Pennsylvania, and from here, Sewanee, Rhodes, Trinity, Austin College and Southwestern.

  10. Wilburt, when the SCAC added Austin College in 2005, they stated that they wished to become a 2-division 12-team conference. My only concerns would be whether DePauw wishes to stay, whose position may have been stabilized with the move to divisions, and whether Oglethorpe will continue as a member. The split to divisions is certain to help their travel budget as well. Oglethorpe’s endowment is the lowest of the SCAC members. There are now 8 football playing members on schedule for 2007, plus BSC’s announced program.

    IMHO, this effectively ends any speculation about adding affiliates for football, and forces University of Dallas to re-assess their hopes for an invitation to the SCAC, since their leaving the ASC in 2001.

  11. The reason I ask is since the SCAC doesn’t need another football school, there shouldn’t be a problem with UDallas joining the SCAC and Fisk rejoining the SCAC (Hypothetically speaking of course :). Why not have 2 seven team divisions in order to further reduce travel budgeting problems? The more the merrier…

    Trinity TX
    Southwestern TX
    Austin College TX
    Colorado College CO
    Rhodes TN
    Hendrix AR
    UDallas TX


    Millsaps MS
    Birmingham Southern AL
    Oglethorpe GA
    Sewanee TN
    Centre KY
    Depauw IN
    Fisk TN

  12. It would be interesting to hear David Pollick’s response, if any, to Melnick’s column ….

  13. wt, I weighed in on the Scarbinski and Melick columns on the Football Daily Dose blog.

    As an outsider, it is amazing to see read what the reporters were writing versus what the columnists were saying. IMHO, the reporters were giving hard facts and the columnists were giving pure “knee-jerk” emotion.

Leave a Reply