December 21, 2002

Is it time for Mount Union to move out of Division III?

More news about: Mount Union
Dan Pugh and Rob Adamson celebrate Mount Union's seventh national championship.
Photo by Pat Cummings, D3sports.com

By Pat Coleman
D3sports.com

SALEM -- It had been a nice couple years.

Before the past few weeks, the rumbling had stopped. But come December, just like in 1999, the call from fans was clear.

Mount Union should move out of Division III.

This is a request that doesn't make any sense, frankly. The people who think Mount Union can play Division II football the way Johns Hopkins plays Division I lacrosse or Colorado College plays Division I hockey don't realize that the NCAA won't let schools "play up" a level in football or basketball.

The people who think Mount Union should move up to D-II in everything don't understand the financial outlay it would take to do so. It's more likely those people haven't even considered Mount's other sports at all.

Where was all this negative feeling last year, when they barely beat Bridgewater in the Stagg Bowl? Or in 2000, when they were coming off a season-ending loss from the previous year and were held to 10 points in the title game?

Fact is, it should be fun to chase Mount Union. Every coach that has brought a team to Salem the past three seasons to play Larry Kehres' squad has talked about how it's an honor to play the best team of the era. To get to the title game, you'll have to go through Alliance.

Besides, who knows? Mount Union faces an offseason where it loses Rob Adamson and Dan Pugh on offense, and unlike when Chuck Moore graduated after the 2001 season, having a seasoned Pugh to step in, the probable 2003 starter averaged fewer than five carries per game.

"I think there are some relatively significant changes that we'll experience next year," said Kehres. "There were glimpses of those changes this year, when we played without Rob. We played with a slightly different style, and that could be our trademark next year."

The Purple Raiders also lose eight starters on defense, including Hula Bowl-bound cornerback Chris Kern. And Don Montgomery, Mount Union's defensive coordinator, could take the head coaching job at Marietta. It's apparently his if he wants it.

But even that might not prove a blip on the purple radar, as four starters return on an incredibly talented offensive line and wide receivier Randell Knapp has come into his own. The biggest pressure the 2003 Mount Union squad will face might be from themselves.

"Our football team this season had sort of the daunting task of trying to play as well as the others," Kehres said. "It's hard to be recognized as a great team unless you win all your games, and they did."

With all due respect to teams like UW-Whitewater, Baldwin-Wallace and OAC up-and-comer Capital, I fully expect to see Mount Union playing in the national semifinals next year, going after its 55th consecutive win, breaking its own record.

Is that considered balanced? No. Does the dominance lessen people's general interest in Division III? Probably. But is it fair? Yes. Many have griped about it and some have tried to do something about it, but nobody has proven that Mount Union does anything illegal.

So, as long as Mount Union doesn't suddenly start offering athletic scholarships, they belong in Division III as much as anyone else.

It's up to you other 226 to catch them.

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
TBA
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
TBA
Endicott at Framingham State
TBA
UW-Platteville at George Fox
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Kean at Christopher Newport
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
Live Stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Norwich
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
1:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Alfred State at William Paterson
1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Alma
1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Olivet at St. John Fisher
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
1:00 PM
Hobart at Brockport
1:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
The Apprentice School at Methodist
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
Live Stats
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Westminster (Mo.)
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Live Stats
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
Live Stats
2:30 PM
Lawrence at Presentation
4:00 PM
La Verne at Puget Sound
Live Stats
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Averett
6:00 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
7:00 PM
Marietta at Denison
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Illinois College at Rose-Hulman
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
7:00 PM
Anderson at North Park
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats
7:30 PM
Hanover at Centre
8:00 PM
Willamette at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
8:00 PM
Sul Ross State at UT-Permian Basin
Dec. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 49, at St. Thomas 35
@ Salem, Va.
Box Score Recap Recap Photos