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David De Remer
04-06-2011, 03:40 PM
Watching the NCAA basketball tournaments on ESPN3 I was peppered with ads for the Capital One Cup, an award that claims to recognize success at the highest level.

The award of course is a joke because (1) it only recognizes the 13 "pure D-I" championships for both genders, and none of the 10 National Collegiate championships -- of which women's ice hockey is one. (2) it awards more points for certain privileged sports than others, based on "fan interest, school participation, and other factors." Men's hockey is a Tier III sport in their system.

I heard of this award in September and tried to ignore it, but with all this advertising and seeing that it'll be handed out at the ESPYs and ESPN has created a web page promoting the pure D-I sports (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/feature/index?page=caponecup) and not others, I got fed up last night and initiated the following conversation on the Capital One Cup facebook page.


Me: Why does the Capital One Cup choose to ignore the 10 National Collegiate Championships in which D-I members participate? These championships are not inferior to purely D-I championships -- their national collegiate status only reflects that there are insufficient numbers in D-II or D-III to establish divisional championships. Almost all of these championships are in Olympic sports.


Cap1Cup: Thank you for posting your feedback. What we feel distinguishes the Capital One Cup as the premier award for program-wide athletic success at the highest level is the inclusion of sports with official NCAA Division I Championships. As a result, there are 13 men’s and 13 women’s sports that earn points toward the Capital One Cup. That being said, we certainly recognize and appreciate the popularity and importance of all NCAA sports and the commitment of the student-athletes competing in them and fans who follow them.


Me: I understand the Capital One Cup believes Division I championships are higher level than National Collegiate Championships, but why? Division I athletes compete (and predominate) in all 10 National Collegiate Championships. How does the eligibility of Division II and Division III programs in National Collegiate Championships diminish the accomplishments of Division I athletes in these championships? Your award cannot seriously claim to recognize success at the highest level in NCAA sports when it fails to recognize the accomplishments of Division I athletes competing in women's ice hockey, men's and women's gymnastics, fencing, men's and women's water polo, bowling, men's volleyball, rifle, and skiing.

Moreover, I'm certain whoever in the NCAA created the distinction between National Collegiate and Division I championships would be horrified to find that a corporation has used that distinction to rationalize the view that National Collegiate Championships are lower-level than pure Division I championships. In the NCAA's own accounting of championship history, Division I and National Collegiate Championships are counted together without the slightest hint of difference in prestige between the two: http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/champs_records_book/summaries/combined.pdf


In my mind, clearly their motive was to (1) distinguish themselves from the Director's Cup which does recognize the NC championships and (2) make sure Stanford didn't win every year.

sbkbghockey
04-06-2011, 06:18 PM
Very interesting they don't include women's hockey and men's hockey is a tier iii sport. Also, I remember seeing men's and women's hockey footage in the Capital One Cup ads.

I bet of the 13 mens and 13 women's sports they do include only Football and Basketball really count :p

David De Remer
04-06-2011, 06:58 PM
Very interesting they don't include women's hockey and men's hockey is a tier iii sport. Also, I remember seeing men's and women's hockey footage in the Capital One Cup ads.

I bet of the 13 mens and 13 women's sports they do include only Football and Basketball really count :p
Well right now Auburn & UConn lead the men's standings.

The difference between men's and women's hockey is that the men are considered a pure D-I sport (and all D-II and D-III schools play up to D-I), whereas women's hockey has some D-II schools allowed to compete for the same title as D-I schools without having to "play-up." This distinction means absolutely nothing for the quality of the championship, but apparently Capital One feels otherwise.

My guess is Capital One had no idea what the distinction was between D-I and N.C. and they just saw there were 13 men's and women's pure D-I championship's and decided to go with that. It also allowed Cap1 to avoid the issues of how to count coed titles (like fencing).

zoofer
04-11-2011, 10:45 AM
Also, why doesn't someone, obviously not Capital One, try and equate the athlete and graduation rate of said program, and combine them ....so that maybe either UConn basketball, or Auburn football would have to show that some of their athletes actually went to class.......to base an award strictly on which school won the most championships? C'mon....then just pay the athletes.....sorry, students!

David De Remer
05-03-2011, 02:25 PM
My letter to Mechelle Voepel:

There is a serious inaccuracy in your column (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/columns/story?columnist=voepel_mechelle&id=6465035) on the Capital One Cup.

You claim that the Capital One Cup merely divides sports among Division I athletic departments into three tiers. However, there is a fourth tier -- sports that do not count at all.

Sports which are classified as National Collegiate Championships rather than pure Division I championships are not counted in the Capital One Cup, even though they represent the highest level of NCAA competition in these sports. The difference between these championships and pure Division I champions is purely administrative -- Division II and Division III programs are allowed to compete for them without "playing up" provided there is not a championship in their own division. The NCAA records (http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/champs_records_book/summaries/Women.pdf) counting schools' national championships lists D-I and NC championships together and makes no distinction.

The Captial One Cup's solution to the problem of Stanford winning titles in some warm-weather sports like men's and women's water polo wasn't merely to give these sports a lower weight as your column suggests, but to avoid counting them at all. For you to fail to mention this is outright deceptive.

The Capital One Cup's greatest injustice is in the discriminatory treatment between men's and women's ice hockey. Women's ice hockey is classified as a National Collegiate Championship, even though only three Division II schools that do not "play up to D-I" compete for the title, and none of them play a full D-I schedule. Practically this means no difference between the prestige of NCAA men's and women's ice hockey, but it's a stark difference for the Capital One Cup, where men's ice hockey counts and women's ice hockey does not. The Capital One Cup listing of sports implies a pairing between field hockey and men's ice hockey, as if only the former were appropriate for women to play. Notice that women's ice hockey's total and average attendances surpass those of field hockey. I never imagined women's ice hockey would ever get this kind of treatment in the 21st century and then have it endorsed by you and Brandi Chastain and Lisa Leslie. It's despicable.

brookyone
05-03-2011, 02:42 PM
My letter to Mechelle Voepel:

There is a serious inaccuracy in your column (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/columns/story?columnist=voepel_mechelle&id=6465035) on the Capital One Cup.

You claim that the Capital One Cup merely divides sports among Division I athletic departments into three tiers. However, there is a fourth tier -- sports that do not count at all.

Sports which are classified as National Collegiate Championships rather than pure Division I championships are not counted in the Capital One Cup, even though they represent the highest level of NCAA competition in these sports. The difference between these championships and pure Division I champions is purely administrative -- Division II and Division III programs are allowed to compete for them without "playing up" provided there is not a championship in their own division. The NCAA records (http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/champs_records_book/summaries/Women.pdf) counting schools' national championships lists D-I and NC championships together and makes no distinction.

The Captial One Cup's solution to the problem of Stanford winning titles in some warm-weather sports like men's and women's water polo wasn't merely to give these sports a lower weight as your column suggests, but to avoid counting them at all. For you to fail to mention this is outright deceptive.

The Capital One Cup's greatest injustice is in the discriminatory treatment between men's and women's ice hockey. Women's ice hockey is classified as a National Collegiate Championship, even though only three Division II schools that do not "play up to D-I" compete for the title, and none of them play a full D-I schedule. Practically this means no difference between the prestige of NCAA men's and women's ice hockey, but it's a stark difference for the Capital One Cup, where men's ice hockey counts and women's ice hockey does not. The Capital One Cup listing of sports implies a pairing between field hockey and men's ice hockey, as if only the former were appropriate for women to play. Notice that women's ice hockey's total and average attendances surpass those of field hockey. I never imagined women's ice hockey would ever get this kind of treatment in the 21st century and then have it endorsed by you and Brandi Chastain and Lisa Leslie. It's despicable.
I hope you can let us know if you get a response. I hope you do and would be interested in what she might have to say. The others as well if she were to pass your letter on to them. She should, but I guess I wouldn't count on it. It's discouraging that the female athletes mentioned apparently aren't more concerned and supportive of college athletics for sports outside of those they themselves participate in...or ALL varsity sports for the female student athlete.

David De Remer
05-03-2011, 07:23 PM
Thanks brooky. Will do.

Here's a follow-up I just wrote on the facebook page:


Fun facts: Women's lacrosse D-I sponsorship fell from 39 to 33 programs in its first 10 years as an NCAA sport, but 20 years later it is an 89-team strong "Tier II" Capital One Cup sport. Women's ice hockey and women's water polo, excluded from the Capital One Cup, have been far more successful in 10 years of NCAA status -- ice hockey growing from 20 to 35 programs and water polo growing from 23 to 32 programs. But if the women's Capital One Cup grows in importance and excludes water polo and ice hockey, will these sports be given the same opportunity to grow as women's lacrosse? Will athletic directors funnel their resources towards Capital One Cup sports at the expense of others? Shame on Brandi Chastain, Lisa Leslie, and Mechelle Voepel for breaking glass ceilings for women and then helping to build a new one beneath them.

http://www.ncaapublications.com/p-4213-1981-82-2009-10-ncaa-sports-sponsorship-and-participation-rates-report.aspx

David De Remer
05-13-2011, 02:13 PM
I posted the following today for a Brandi Chastain Q&A Monday:

Dear Brandi, you've described your Capital One Cup service as "a pleasure and an honor...to help sports outside of just women’s soccer get the headlines and the attention and the validation that they deserve." If so, how can you endorse an award that ignores Division I female athletes and quite a few Olympians competing in NCAA ice hockey, water polo, fencing, rifle, skiing, bowling, and gymnastics?
One reason I post here is the Capital Cup facebook page has actually been deleting some of my recent wall posts!

brookyone
05-13-2011, 02:59 PM
I posted the following today for a Brandi Chastain Q&A Monday:

One reason I post here is the Capital Cup facebook page has actually been deleting some of my recent wall posts!
Nothin' like a little censorship in the good old USA. I've been hearing quite a few stories lately about that particular social network deleting personal info, postings and complete group pages of members. Do you suppose your Facebook commentary is deleted by Capital One reps as they may not appreciate the marketing value of your contributions?

David De Remer
05-14-2011, 12:44 PM
Nothin' like a little censorship in the good old USA. I've been hearing quite a few stories lately about that particular social network deleting personal info, postings and complete group pages of members. Do you suppose your Facebook commentary is deleted by Capital One reps as they may not appreciate the marketing value of your contributions?

I respect their right to maintain their Facebook fan page as they see fit. It looks to me like they deleted everyone who started a wall thread on their facebook page -- even if it's someone whose criticism they supposedly "welcomed" and responded to (they did so for my first post, but since ignored my response and subsequent posts). They are not deleting my responses to questions and wall posts that they initiate, however.

It seems like there's a decent chance to get Brandi's feedback, since the facebook page is not getting a lot of activity. If Brandi gives the same canned response I already received, "What we feel distinguishes the Capital One Cup as the premier award for program-wide athletic success at the highest level is the inclusion of sports with official NCAA Division I Championships" then it would imply she doesn't believe women's ice hockey is worthy of attention and validation given her previous quote. We'll see.

David De Remer
09-01-2011, 11:19 AM
Hooray! The Capital One Cup has finally made the right decision (http://www.capitalonecup.com/news/press-releases/2011-2012-season-kicks-off.html) to add National Collegiate championship sports, including women's ice hockey. Last year the award naively only counted sports with pure D-I membership (D-I schools or those formally playing up to D-I). It's particularly absurd in the case of women's ice hockey because the teams classified as Division II for the sport have never played a schedule eligible for selection. Not to mention, men's ice hockey gets counted and women's ice hockey doesn't.

I still don't like some aspects of the award, but to omit sports based on a fairly arbitrary NCAA classification was indefensible. Athletes in these sports regularly win Olympic medals, but they weren't good enough for the Capital One Cup? I'm glad they listened to feedback and improved the product for next season.