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Friday, May 5, 2006

NCAA Div I Team, Individual Participants Announced



The sixty-four teams in each of the men's and women's divisions were announced, as well as the sites for the Regionals next weekend. Aside from the fact that the Illinois men's team was prohibited from hosting due to a recent NCAA ruling on their Native American mascot (details here), there isn't much controversy here. For the women's teams receiving bids, click here; for the men's selections here.

The 64 individual players and 32 doubles teams selected to compete for national titles at Stanford--Women here and Men here--also don't seem to contain any glaring omissions. But I do find it curious that last year's NCAA men's doubles champions, John Isner and Antonio Ruiz of Georgia, aren't seeded. Nor are the runnersup Mark Growcott and Ken Skupski of LSU. Isner is the second seed in singles, and has not only won the NCAA doubles title in 2005, he won it with a different partner in 2004. [UPDATE 5/8: I've been corrected by two readers (see comments). Isner and Bo Hodge were finalists in 2004.] I'd love to hear the argument for denying him seeding this year. Anybody want to take a stab at that one?

Many individual news stories from the college tennis programs participating in the NCAAs can be found at cstv.com.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

well, unfortuantely singles and doubles seeds are strictly based on the wacky computer rankings and isner/ruiz are ranked 9th. the only seed that wasnt based soley on ranking order was helgeson getting the 8th seed over doerner. anyone who thinks ncst, minnesota and penn state are better than usc, and possibly miss state and tenn are just flat out moronic. thats the one thing where selecting teams is biased. they need to use some qualitative analysis when selecting the final 4 or 5 teams, unfortuantely they dont.

Anonymous said...

I don' think it would be fair to seed someone based on previous year's results. I just checked Isner/Ruiz's results for this season and they only have 1 top 10 win (over No. 8, who they also lost to) and a couple bad losses.

Anonymous said...

Isner/Ruiz not being seeded is due to the fact that Ruiz took the fall off to play some pro tournaments. They did not get to play the All American and National Indoors. As far as USC, Miss St and TN not making the tournament is "moronic". I don't think so. If you look at their results throughout the season they were not impressive enough to garner an invitation to the tournamnet. Results don't lie. They just had down years.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm not even a big USC fan, but when you look and see that they lost to Stanford twice 4-3, plus losses to UCLA, Duke, Wash and Cal 4-3, plus a 5-2 loss to UCLA I think its pretty evident they are a good team. Especially with their star player being hampered with a stress fracture all season. I would just like to see the committee seriously take some thought into whether or not some of the lower ranked at-large teams could do that. They're strength of schedule is crazy. 3 of 14 losses 5-2, with 9 more at 4-3. I know they arent a legimate threat to go deep in the tourney, but SOS and final scores should really be looked at. 12 matches were 4-3, nine of which they lost. When you play 11 of 22 matches, exactly half, against teams ranked in the top21 and still have those kind of results it really shows that you can compete with anyone.

Anonymous said...

"Isner is the second seed in singles, and has not only won the NCAA doubles title in 2005, he won it with a different partner in 2004"......He actually lost in the 2004 final (with Bo Hodge I think) to Stanford's KC Corkery and Sam Warburg. Corkery's not seeded either - every year is little different. Using previous year's results seems to go against the collegiate model. It would be kind of like picking Oklahoma football for one of the BSC games this past year, using the fact that they did so good, made the title game in 2004 as part of the justification.

Anonymous said...

Isner was runner-up in 2004, not the winner.

Colette Lewis said...

First, I appreciate being corrected. Thanks for taking the time. As for the Oklahoma BCS analogy, that team changed from one year to the next, this team didn't.
But if Isner and Ruiz are the best team, they'll win regardless of whether they are seeded or not. If they are the second best team, they could be out in the first round. That's why tennis long ago decided that seeding was better for the fans and the tournament.

Anonymous said...

I think it's going to a great year for the NCAAs. If the Stanford men can pull of an upset and reach the quarters against Georgia it should make for a pretty neat atmosphere there. UGA is probably too much for anyone, but you never know. That's why they play the matches. Typically the seeding doesn't matter a lot in the NCAA singles/doubles tournaments. It's a really tough turnaround for guys whose teams have reached the team semis or final. Isner should have a great shot at both titles this year, but it's going to be really tough if Georgia reaches the team final. I think only 3 guys have won the "triple crown" over the last 30 years and there's a reason why. I think that's about 18 singles/doubles matches over a 10-day span.

Anonymous said...

Heres something to think about. Isner/Ruiz were down a set 1st round last year and had to win a 2nd set tiebreak to even stay alive and win that match in three sets, otherwise we wouldnt even be having this conversation. Doubles rankings are so screwed up anyways. Usually the best teams are seeded, but you never know. Gtech's team of north-rajevac arent even in this years field and they were all-americans last year. The same can be said for Doug Stewart of UVA. He's gone from playing #1 since freshman year and being an all-american to playing #3 and not even in the field as a senior. Isner has been unstoppable this year but Ruiz has struggled, so I'm not sure they even deserve to be seeded, regardless of winning last year.

Anonymous said...

Better analogy would probably have been giving Matt Leinart the Heisman based on his 2004 performance. In college sports previous year's results/performance can't really count towards the next year.

Anonymous said...

Dear Collette, I strongly encourage you to read and post a link to Jon Wertheim's collumm whch just came out in this month's Tennis Magazine where he rips the NCAA for allowing the international players to dominate U.S. college tennis. I know that you've posted on this topic in the past and that you understand how important it is. Despite the USTA and NCAA's lame excuses, there really is no justification for allowing the international players to take so many scholarships away from U.S. players. There is no reason why they can't at least limit the number of international players to 2 per team or something like that.

As Wertheim so aptly points out, a tremendous number of our U.S. universities are supported by U.S. citizen tax payer money so those citizens should have a better opportunity for their kids to get scholarships and participate on these college teams, particularly Division 1 teams where the foreign players dominate the most (20 of the top 30 ranked are from outside the U.S.).

Any defense for allowing the vast international influx of players by the USTA and NCAA are illogical non sequiters. And, the defenses are particularly lame when, as Wertheim points out, the European colleges limit the number of foreign players that can get scholarships from their own schools. If they aren't opening their schools, why should we?!

Colette Lewis said...

I have not received my copy of Tennis Magazine, but I had heard that Wertheim would be having a go at this issue.

Unfortunately, it's unlikely that it will ever be available online with the new subscription model that Tennis has adopted, but I certainly will read it.

I firmly believe that foreign players should be held to the same standards of amateurism that U.S. players are, but I'm still not convinced that those that fit that criteria should be excluded from U.S. universities based on their nationality. There's something un-American about that to me.

I've spoken to enough people about this to know that most people want quotas or limits. I do not. But if you want to debate this, please use your name or a screen name. I'm not going to discuss the topic in any more detail than I just have with "anonymous."

5.0 Player said...

I would be glad to debate this issue with you. Call me "5.0 Player."

Your concern that there is something "Un-American" about excluding players based upon nationality is well taken. However, I believe that there are several flaws to that concern.

First of all, we're not talking about a total exclusion of foreign players, just some limit on the number that are presently dominating many top teams. Nobody could be a greater authority on U.S. college tennis than Craig Tiley and Tiley is quoted in Wertheim's essay as saying: "If you want one or two foreigners on your team, OK. But it's gotten way out of control." He is also quoting as saying that "I love college tennis, but this totally disillusioned me."

It is worth noting that Tiley himself is not an American citizen and yet still felt that it was logical to limit the number of foreign players on his, and other, American college tennis teams.

Second, we're not talking about discriminating against a player's ethnic background or race, we're only talking about limiting the number of foreign players who have complete access to all the benefits that citizens of this nation enjoy.

Third, while I agree that Americans shouldn't exclude other Americans, we're not talking about other Americans, we're talking about citizens of a different country and we'd only be excluding some based upon their status as non-citizens. Such exclusion is done all the time by our country in many instances as it only makes sense. We don't allow non-citizens all the benefits afforded to American citizens or we wouldn't have a sovereign nation. We would have to support every person in the world. And, we're not advocating excluding these players from the sport of tennis or from US Tennis entirely; we're only talking about NCAA college tennis. Foreign players could still compete in US non-college tournaments and/or train here if they like. We could narrow the exclusion even further by allowing such players to compete in college tennis, but only limit the number of foreign players who receive scholarships that too many American players are losing out on.

Finally, I don't see the other countries welcoming American athletes into THEIR colleges with scholarship offers. Wertheim's article points out that European basketball leagues have done to us precisely what Tiley, Wertheim and many others are all advocating here. The European basketball leagues have limited their teams to only two non-European players. If it was a free market system where our players were welcomed in other countries, then there might be some argument to an open and fair system. Unfortunately, the present system is clearly not fair to American athletes.

I agree with Wertheim's conclusion in the article: "Where is the outrage?"

Anonymous said...

Dear 5.0 Player,
I agree with everything you have said. I am a parent of a Div. 1 college player and we as americans do have outrage when it comes to how many non-americans are on some teams.
When the american parents of the tennis players get together,we always have a huge discussion about the numbers of non-americans on the rosters. We also get upset when we find out that the non-americans get a bigger scholarship than our kids. So there is outrage.
Most of us just do not know what to do about the problem.

My son told me the foreigners make college tennis more competitive. He dosen't have a problem with it except that he thinks there should be a limit to how many are on the team and that there should be a limit for scholarships. He also said that the coaches have to give scholarship money,because most foreigners would not come to school in the USA with out it. The americans are going to go to school regardless.

5.0 Player said...

I appreciate your support on this issue. In terms of what to do about it, I've done a little bit of research on the subject. The problem seems to be that even if the USTA wanted to do something, it's not in their jurisdiction. It is actually the NCCA that makes the decision and so far they haven't done anything.

Just as I expected, some of the parents, coaches and players in the other sports are also angry as hell about this development where foreign players are taking advantage of U.S. college sports programs at the expense of U.S. kids. The U.S. swimming community recently became outraged when they realized that about half (somethning like 17) of the medals awarded in the most recent Olympics in Athens were won by foreign athletes who were trained at U.S. universities. Those foreign swimmers won those medals for their own countries (e.g., Holland, France, South Africa), not the U.S., and yet they were trained at U.S. colleges for free on scholarships often subsidized by U.S. tax payer money. I think that we in the tennis community should try to unite with the U.S. swimming, diving, basketball and track community to pressure the NCAA into doing something. I believe the President of Vanderbilt University has recently made public comments about this growing problem.

Anonymous said...

Good post, 5.0...The reality is that nothing will probably ever happen NCAA-wise unless it becomes a (big) problem in basketball. And if you look at the NBA (18 percent foreign I think), that may be something that happens.

Anonymous said...

5.O I appreciate your comments. When Wertheim asks, "Where's the outrage?", he would find it at any national level Junior tournament if he talked to the parents. There is a huge constituency out there of parents who see their kids competing for fewer and fewer starting positions in D-1 or D-2 tennis. For every foreigner player on a team, there is one American who is not playing. Zero sum. Period.
I support limiting the foreigners. It would level the playing field, coaches would have to seek out good American juniors to round out their teams.
NCAA is going to be slow to act, but I believe the jurisdiction lies with ITA, which as I understand it, regulates college tennis. An NCAA ruling would have to apply to all sports, which would be welcome in those like swimming (I think Women's Volleyball is equally saturated), but an NCAA ruling would be harder to get off the ground. ITA could start with simply limiting foreigners to TWO.
Two foreigners would still serve to up the level of competition on a team, there would be more Americans playing to benefit from it. TWO would represent slightly less than half the 4.5 scholarships.
Note that many/most of the good college players who went on to succeed at the pro level all seemed to have gone to colleges that have few or no foreigners (Blake, all the others like Paul Goldstein, Alex Kim, etc, who went to Stanford, etc) Schools like Baylor with all foreigners do NOTHING to promote American tennis.
Thanks for letting us rant a bit, Collette.

Anonymous said...

Well I am a former Division I player and am friends with a bunch of them as well. And I know first-hand at the high levels the American kids CAN'T FREAKING STAND IT when the forgeiners come over, not because they are from a different country neccessarily, but because they are so old. Look at Ben Kohleffel from UCLA this year. He's ranked #1 and everbody thinks he's so good. Last year was his first year competing, but he was supposed to be a 5th year senior at the time. This should be his 6th year in college, no wonder he's so good. When plays against americans who are 18-20yrs old they have no chance. Michael Kogan was the runner-up in 2004, well he was 24 when that happened, he didnt go to school for 2yrs while he did his duty in the Israeli army, so his is a case where you have to respect it because he was serving his country, but most others dont have a good reason. Dont even get started about Baylor, the kids who dont get full athletic rides get academic schlorships to make up for it, thats why they are able to keep the talent at a high level. So speaking as a D-I player and who's fellow players say, its gotta stop because our parents have to pay for it because they are always giving them to forgeiners. By the way, I had 4 forgeiners on my team who were good students and I was friends with them all, but it still doesnt change the fact that it needs to change.

Colette Lewis said...

Tomorrow I'm going to post my reaction to Wertheim's column, which I just read.