Mid-Season Expansion Update

The first half of the 2022/23 NCDA season was certainly a memorable one, with teams like Michigan State, jumping out to a commanding 6-0 start with several dominant wins, JMU, showing that last April’s Nationals run wasn’t a flash in the pan and that they once again look to be title contenders, and Akron, perhaps finally taking that long-awaited step into the top 8 and beyond. But that’s not all that has happened this season.

On a League-Expansion note, we’ve made some progress as well, and have already welcomed some new faces into the league, with hopefully more to come. The following is an update on how things stand from the Director of League Expansion Wes Peters.

Welcome to the NCDA, Concordia University-Wisconsin!

To date, we’ve had one new team play their induction matches and have since played 6 total, and that is the aforementioned Concordia University-Wisconsin. All credit due to Founder, Captain, and President, Connor Knott who got their club up and running in record time. Connor first messaged the league in late August just as the semester was getting started, and had his team practicing just one month later. While they’ve definitely faced their share of roadblocks with the university’s unique approvals process, struggling to get practice space on campus, and the bumps that typically come from playing your first matches as a team, CUW is a massive success story in the league this season.

Welcome back Chips…. and more?

Speaking of success stories, we’ve seen the resurgence of the Chips of Central Michigan University. After a disastrous lack of a hand-off from their previous team president last season, Josh Rudzinski and now-Captain Jakob Donnelly, have done a wondrous job getting the club back in good standing with the university, and even playing matches at the Dr. Peter Broe Classic (and winning two!) to finish the semester. Though Josh graduated in December, CMU will look to keep the momentum going by attending their first Michigan Dodgeball Cup in three years, and hopefully attending Nationals as well.

CMU isn’t the only existing club attempting a comeback this season, as both of the University of North Georgia and Georgia Southern University appear poised to face off this spring and hopefully make the trip up to Athens, Ohio for Nationals as well. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on these two clubs. Both are active on campus and practicing, let’s hope they can get traveling.

Potential New Teams

While we’ve welcomed 1 new team, and are on the cusp of welcoming back our 2nd and 3rd member teams, there are also a number of leads for brand new teams on the horizon!

PSA: Please reach out to any and all friends you may have at the following universities. The quicker we can grow these teams and get them competing, the better. Please ask your teammates to do the same.

First, we have the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. President Charles Cardenas has been working diligently to get the club approved on campus and start practicing. Unfortunately, they were unable to secure reserved court space for their first year as a student organization, and so there have been some massive hurdles for Charles & his club. They plan to be practicing this semester, however, and we are very optimistic that we will see them play their induction matches shortly thereafter, and if all goes well, attend Nationals in April.

Next, we have Emory and Henry College who have popped up on our radar very abruptly (much like CUW). They seem to have somewhere between 4-6 students committed to their club currently and are in the approvals stage on campus. Soon-to-be President Colin Coerr has already made an Instagram page for the club, and intends to have them approved, practicing, and traveling for matches this semester. We’ll see how things shake out soon hopefully.

Our third hopefully soon-to-be is have Northern Kentucky University. Much like UC, this has actually been a goal of mine for a couple of years now with things finally seeming to align. NKU is also on the cusp of being approved as a club sport on campus, just needing to jump one last hurdle and we should be good to start practicing this semester. I was able to find soon-to-be President Will Strong by connecting with the local high school baseball coach in the city I live in near the end of their season in May (Quick plug to reach out to local HS baseball teams for recruiting by the way), who raved about Will as a great leader and teammate. Consider NKU another team that if everything breaks right should be playing their induction matches this semester

The last team to highlight that seems poised to (re)join the NCDA, are the Cardinals of Ball State! COVID certainly did this organization zero favors as they went defunct as a club as a result of the pandemic, but fear not, they are looking like they will rejoin the league in about one year. Freshman Caleb Keeton has gone through the process of registering the dodgeball club once again in Muncie, Indiana, and has been in contact with us to learn more about the NCDA & the style we play. Sadly they do have a one year probationary period that the university’s club sports department imposes on all new clubs before they will be able to travel, but keep an eye on them to begin playing matches again this time next year!

Help Wanted! Ask Your Teams if Their Friends Go Here:

From here, things do admittedly get a little less certain on the side of new clubs starting. We have some solid leads at the following universities, but all are in need of assistance. We would again ask that you reach out to your friends from back home, and have your teammates do the same, to see if they have any friends at these schools who may be interested in playing collegiate dodgeball and helping start these clubs. The same goes for ANY friends who go to universities we don’t have clubs currently at of course, though these are the current leads that we have:

Iowa State University (ISU)
– Iowa State has been a very recent development, but we have an active student who is a transfer from WMU’s dodgeball club. Anna Moellenbeck (Miami University alumni) has volunteered to help get the club going and coach. Hopefully they are able to get things moving quickly.

Georgia Institute of Technology (GT)
– UNG founder and alumni Kyle Dattelbaum works at the university and would happily assist getting the club started, just need interested students.

University of Toledo (UT)
– BGSU alumni Gabe Carrington lives in Toledo and intends to coach a team there, needs help finding interested students.

University of Dayton (UD)
– Active student needs teammates to get things started.

University of Notre Dame (ND)
– Active student needs teammates to get things started.

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
– RIT is actually still active as a club on campus, however they have not been considered “competitive” for years but are considering rejoining the NCDA.

Always More to Do

While we as a league are happy to hopefully be welcoming a number of new teams in the next year or so, there is always more to be done, and we can’t do it without all of you.

We have a referral program in place, which you may have noticed when you completed the individual waiver for participation earlier this season. The short of it is, if you successfully refer us a student who ultimately gets a dodgeball club started at school that currently does not have an active club, you and the club you play for will be financially compensated.

If you or a teammate of yours has a friend or family member who you think may be interested in starting a club at their school, please do not hesitate and email Wes Peters at Wesley.Peters@ncdadodgeball.com.

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