Category Archives: Women’s Sports

DU Administration’s Pioneers ‘Double Game’ leaves DU student-athletes caught in the middle

As we near Homecoming Weekend, hockey will take center stage but it’s easy to forget that student-athletes have been caught in the middle of the ‘friendly crossfire’ of the Pioneers ‘debate.’

While the DU Administration tries to manage a homegrown crisis, divided between tolerance and intolerance of its own Pioneer nickname, DU’s athletes are caught in the middle. Competing as Pioneers, they give their blood, sweat, and tears for DU, but remain in a direct line of internal fire, as a handful of DU’s senior administrators and a handful of student pawns take shots at the Pioneer name. Continue reading DU Administration’s Pioneers ‘Double Game’ leaves DU student-athletes caught in the middle

Part 1: Pay to Play Laws Threaten DU and Mid-Majors

The State of California unanimously passed its Pay to Play law allowing college athletes to receive compensation for the use of their name, image, and likeness and hire agents, effective in 2023. Ohio passed a similar law last Thursday and a host of other states are contemplating the passage of similar laws. The NCAA pleaded with the California governor to wait on the passage of the law pending a more uniform solution but California moved forward with the passage. Continue reading Part 1: Pay to Play Laws Threaten DU and Mid-Majors

Breaking News: St. Thomas University Invited to Join Summit League

St. Thomas University (Minnesota) will be receiving an invitation to join the Summit League according to The Star Tribune. This move likely thwarts the short term bid by tiny Sioux Falls based Augustana College to join the Summit League.

St Thomas is a Division III school and will require an NCAA waiver to make the jump. If approved by the NCAA, they will join the Summit League in 2021. They were a member of the MIAC (Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Association) but were so dominant there that they were expelled from the league this past season. They currently offer men’s sports in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis and track & field.  They offer women’s sports in baseball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, volleyball and beach volleyball.

The University of St. Thomas is located in St. Paul Minnesota and enrolls nearly 10,000 students, making it Minnesota’s largest private, non-profit university. Their school colors are purple and gray and the athletic teams are called the Tommies.

The addition of the University of St. Thomas was the best option for the Summit League with a wobbly Western Illinois University on the financial ropes. Earlier this year, UMKC received an invitation to join the Summit League to replace the departing Fort Wayne. This move adds stability to the Summit League and brings in a solid, proven athletic program in St. Thomas – even though they are currently a high-level Division III program.

This takes Summit League membership to 10 teams after the departure of Fort Wayne and the addition of UMKC. Should Western Illinois exit, Augustana could possibly fill the void. In the interim, they may be limited to the conference of the last resort, the WAC. The WAC also just added Tarleton State, ugh.


Denver Pioneer Sarah Thomas becomes first to swim four English Channel laps

DU Alumnus Sarah Thomas during her record English Channel Swim/Photos: London Independent

DU Pioneer alumni women simply dominate the world in long-distance feats of human sporting endurance, with performances that leave the most capable far behind. Continue reading Denver Pioneer Sarah Thomas becomes first to swim four English Channel laps

Pioneer Athletics officially off the air

Looking forward to watching DU soccer, volleyball, hockey on TV this fall? Well, unfortunately, DU athletics are now off the air along with the rest of Altitude TV’s programming in its 10 state region if you have Comcast/Xfinity, DISHTV or Direct TV. And, Altitude TV claims that streaming content is not a feasible, economic option to do an ‘end run’ around the Big Three.

Altitude is also the home network for the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, NBA’s Denver Nuggets, MLS’ Colorado Rapids and NLL’s Colorado Mammoth. Should it last that long, the dispute ratchets up on October 3rd when the Colorado Avalanche are scheduled to return to Altitude’s lineup with their regular season opener and October 5th when DU hockey hits the ice.

Altitude’s coverage-area includes Colorado, Utah, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, and Wyoming. DirectTV and Dish Network also provide nationwide coverage for Pioneer Nation so this will impact all Pioneer fans. Continue reading Pioneer Athletics officially off the air

WAC wobbles as Chicago State circles the drain

The University of Denver’s former and short-lived conference, the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), recently added Cal-Baptist to stabilize the ‘conference of last resort.’ Then, Cal State Bakersfield announced its intention to go to the Big West and UMKC recently announced its plans to flee back to the Summit League. The WAC again returns to eight members with the future addition of Dixie State (Utah) to add stability but not necessarily respectability.

Now, another WAC member is on the ropes. According to an August article in the Chicago Crusader, “Student-athletes and coaches are concerned about the University’s commitment to Division I athletics”. With an interim athletic director, no sports information director, only one trainer for the entire department and no compliance manager, it is now only a matter of time until the Cougars fold their tent. Continue reading WAC wobbles as Chicago State circles the drain

Pioneer Athletics caught in the middle of TV network distribution war

It seems like every year, this financial war dance seems to happen between cable content providers and their associated distribution networks. And, barring an eleventh hour miracle agreement, we will have another one begin to directly and adversely affect viewers starting Saturday night at midnight.

And cable continues to be the only consumer product that is purchased and 80-90% thrown away by the consumer.

Altitude TV is the major television partner and provider for DU athletics, covering men’s and women’s soccer, basketball, lacrosse, hockey, women’s gymnastics, and volleyball. Altitude is also the home network for the NHL Colorado Avalanche, NBA Denver Nuggets, MLS Colorado Rapids and NLL Colorado Mammoth and is currently in negotiations with Comcast/Xfinity, DISH Network and DIRECTV to keep its sports programming channel on those three major cable and satellite distribution platforms.

According to Colorado Hockey Now, “The “carriage” contracts between Altitude TV and Denver and surrounding’s big three cable providers – DISH Network, Comcast/Xfinity and DirecTV – are expiring and the two sides are…not anywhere close to an agreement to re-up with each other.

In the case of DISH, the contract has already expired and Altitude is NO LONGER AVAILABLE right now. At midnight Saturday (tonight), Altitude will vanish from both Comcast and DirecTV if there is no new agreement. Continue reading Pioneer Athletics caught in the middle of TV network distribution war

Puck Swami’s Rapid Reaction: Creech Reorganizes DU Athletics Division

DU Vice Chancellor for Athletics Karlton Creech/Photo Credit: DU

DU’s Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation Karlton Creech has reorganized the athletic department’s structure after 17 months of observing DU’s high-performing athletic division. The changes come following the long-planned retirement of Ron Grahame, Creech’s principal deputy, who is retiring this week after decades of service to DU. 

Joining DU will be three new faces — former Maine Senior Associate Director of Athletics Lynn Coutts; former Miami (Fla.) Senior Associate Athletic Director for Administration Josh Boone; and former Miami (Fla.) Assistant Athletic Director for Annual Giving Emily Boone. Two of these three new faces (Coutts and Josh Boone) will be on Creech’s senior team, along with several promoted DU veteran leaders taking on greater roles under Creech, specifically Deputy Athletic Director and Chief Revenue Officer Brandon Macneill, Deputy AD and Chief Operating Officer Stu Halsall and Deputy AD for Community and Diversity Bob Willis. Continue reading Puck Swami’s Rapid Reaction: Creech Reorganizes DU Athletics Division

Ron Grahame officially sets September 1 retirement date, DU announces

Photo: Courtesy of The Denver Post

As expected, Vice Chancellor for Athletics, Recreation and Ritchie Center Operations Karlton Creech spent his first year observing department operations while making few operational or personnel changes. One of his key lieutenants during this period was Ron Grahame, who acted as Interim Athletic Director following Peg Bradley-Doppes’ departure and currently holds the title of Associate Vice Chancellor & Department Athletic Director. During his long career, Ron provided an experienced and steady hand, especially when it came to DU hockey operations, Denver’s premier sport.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, DU Athletics finished yet another year of incredible success with their 11th Director’s Cup in 12 years.

Now, according to Denver Athletics, Ron Grahame will retire in about two weeks, on September 1st, followed by a handful of other changes within DU’s athletic department. We will have more on Ron Grahame’s storied career and contributions to the University in an upcoming feature but anyone who knows Grahame knows that he put DU athletes first in all of his decisions. A native of Victoria, British Columbia, Grahame was one of the greatest goaltenders in DU Hockey history. He played in the NHL and spent most of his professional career supporting and guiding Denver athletics. He will be truly missed by all at DU. Continue reading Ron Grahame officially sets September 1 retirement date, DU announces