Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Getting Ready for the NCAAs


It's good to see so many stories about the upcoming NCAAs surfacing in the MSM (mainstream media in blogspeak). Some are about programs, some about players, some about coaches. The Miami Herald has this article about University of Miami women's coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews. Yaroshuk-Tews, who is expecting her second child in July, recently became the winningest women's tennis coach in Miami history. Here are the final three paragraphs from the story:

The players said Yaroshuk-Tews has softened since having a child, but she still demands impeccable behavior, top-notch academics, a rigorous fitness regime and overall consistency.

"I love the fact that they come into a program and it's not just about tennis," she said. "It's about academics and growing up as people. When they leave here they're more mature, more independent, more accountable.

"It's easy to have a great season, but it's very difficult to have a great career. That's how I come to work every day and lead my life here, making decisions for the betterment of a program, not the betterment of a season."
USA Today published this story on the University of Virginia men's program and its quest for its first national team title in tennis.

The San Francisco Chronicle turned its spotlight on Stanford's Hilary Barte, who explains why she put her pro tennis career on hold in favor of college. (The actual career high in WTA ranking for Barte was 455).

And finally, Jon Wertheim, who has always railed against foreign players in college tennis, does it again today in his mailbag at SI.com. I too wish the majority of players in U.S. colleges were from the United States, and that the sport of tennis was popular enough and produced enough revenue to assure its continued existence on the college level. I admire coaches who can find and develop talent here in the United States and also incorporate talented players from other countries into a team that broadens the cultural perspective of all its members. That is certainly the ideal and Jon is within his rights to call out programs that don't find that happy medium. If he uses his column as a soapbox/bully pulpit, that's fine. But I notice he did stop short of suggesting a solution, because, in this flattened world, I think he knows there isn't one--at least one that will keep college tennis as a viable option for those who want to use it as another developmental tool. My complete response to his earlier Tennis Magazine column two years ago (sorry, no link available) is here, and it, and my Racquet Sports Industry column from last year, thoroughly covers my thoughts on the topic.

17 comments:

AndrewD said...

Colette,

I've been asking two questions for years - and posting it in the comments section of writers like Jon Wertheim- but have never once come close to getting a sensible answer for either.
First question: If you happily foster a 'winning is everything' mentality, which I believe American junior and collegiate sports in general does, then how can you complain when coaches do everything to win? Why not attack the system which built the need (for foreign players) instead of those who are recruited to fill the need?

End of the day, people truly think that having more foreign tennis players on college teams is unhealthier than the perverse amount of attention given to high school and collegiate football and basketball then they've got their priorities totally out of whack.

andym said...

Wertheim clearly said recruiting foreign players is ok.

His point is that is seems crazy to have college teams made up of mostly foreigners and former pros (I agree). Winning IS everything but that doesn't mean you can't have a limit on foreign players.

Also don't call it a "perverse amount of attention given to high school and collegiate football" - people like what they like.

Man in the Moon said...

instead of a control of foreign players - How about a control with regard to age and pro status.

I don't care if the player is foreign or not -- I care that they are not touring pros and a senior that is 24 is ridiculous.

JayJ said...

A senior that is 24 is not that uncommon in College tennis. How about Amit Inbar the #1 from Maryland who is a 23 year old freshman. That is RIDDICULOUS. How is that possible, I thought there were rules against that kind of age?

Colette Lewis said...

I don't know the particulars of this case, but usually this involves a waiver for service in the military.

Man in the Moon said...

A player who is serving his country via the military - that is fine - that type of player is typically not going pro anyway-- and I would bet there are very few military types that have asked for a deferment for college / legitimate situations are never the problem -

it is the guys who are trying to beat the system - are where the problems occur - players who have played in Europe, Latin America who tried to make it as pros - took the money and then want another bite of the apple and get a free ride for a year or two in college and then try the pro game again.

If you want to go pro -knock your socks off - but don't come back to school looking for a free ride, free matches, training, etc just to get another chance in the pros. You made your choice, now just live with it!!

5.0 Player said...

Dear Colette, I am actually a big fan of yours and appreciate your courage in allowing others to express views that you disagree with. However, once again I don't understand your logic on this subject of foreign players in college tennis.

In today's blog you state: "I notice he did stop short of suggesting a solution, because, in this flattened world, I think he knows there isn't one--at least one that will keep college tennis as a viable option for those who want to use it as another developmental tool."

There IS a simple and legal solution that I and many others have been advocating for a long time and on this blog. Placing SOME restrictions on the number of scholarships to foreign players IS that solution. It will not destroy college tennis's competitiveness nor college tennis's usefulness as a viable development tool. If you simply restict foreign scholarships to 2 or 3 per team, those teams will remain very competitive and the quality of tennis will remain sky high. The teams would still have about half of their line-up stocked with top foreign players and the other half would be top American players or other foreing players who are not on scholarship. Also, an unlimited number of foreign players can still participate, it's just that not all of them will be on scholarship, just the top 2 or 3 per team.

College tennis would still remain another good development tool for any player who wants to utlize it. Moreover, just like the present situation, those few players (if there are any) like Devarman that seek even a higher level of competition are free to play satellite and other pro tournaments, especially in the summer, if they seek additional competition.

jayj said...

Judging from Inbar's rankings I doubt he was serving in the military for very long. He was ranked 561 in the world in 2006 and in 2007 he was in the 600's in doubles. It is a joke that he is considered a freshman with results like these.

Austin said...

Michael Kogan of Tulane who made the NCAA finals in 2004, losing to Benny Becker served in the Israeli army before going to Tulane for four years. He was either 24 or 25 on the day of the finals match.

If an American who was supposed to be a freshman in 2002 decided he wanted to serve his country after 9/11 and put his/her collegiate days on hold for four years I would have no problem with that even though they would be 26 their senior year. Chris Weinke was 26yrs old when he won the heisman.

College Tennis Fan said...

Every year I find it virtually impossible to find something as simple as the freaking NCAA singles draw. These sites such as collegeandjuniortennis.com, collegetennisonline, etc. almost never seem able to find an easy way for people to find the draw on their site. So far today, tennisrecruting.net seems to direct people to the University of Tulsa site and no draw seems available.

This is bewildering and frustrating to me because it is probably the most basic service these sites should be able to provide. Give us access to the NCAA draw!! And, yet evey year I have the same experience.

Can somebody help me?

tenniswatcher said...

I found it the day it was posted...try ncaa.com. Click on men's tennis and the brackets are right there. Most schools that got into the tournament also give a link to the brackets. Relax.

College Tennis Fan said...

Tenniswatcher said: "I found it the day it was posted...try ncaa.com. Click on men's tennis and the brackets are right there. Most schools that got into the tournament also give a link to the brackets. Relax."

Tenniswatcher, while I appreciate your help, I would also appreciate it if you could lose the superior attitude. Just because you found the draw "the first day it was posted" doesn't make you a better person than me or everyone else who had trouble finding the draw.

My primary point was that the so-called college tennis websites don't have the most important draw of the year which I find bewildering. Also, I'm looking for the singles draw, not the team draw. The school websites that I visited only posted a link to the team draw, if anything, not the individual singles draw.

I am relaxed. Just disappointed.

Colette Lewis said...

The singles (and doubles) draws are not done until much closer to the actual tournament, which begins May 21st.

oldschool said...

I think it has been proven that you can build a successful program with American players, not just Stanford, but Illinois when Tiley was there, and what Texas A&M is doing now. The problem is that it takes work, and a lot of these kids need to be developed over a two or three year period. I just don't think a lot of coaches want to put in that work.

AndrewD said...

'man in the moon' perfectly illustrates the point I was trying to make. Instead of railing against the system he attacks, illogically, the players. The very simple truth is that a player can't 'beat the system', the most they can do is allow themselves to be used by it. If American colleges and universities were not actively recruiting players who had competed on tour (amongst all other types of players)there would be nothing to complain about. Very, very simply, the American collegiate system is at fault, not the players.

I can only surmise that those who continue to target the players, instead of the system, are either woefully misinformed or allowing their prejudices to do the thinking for them.

every year its really easy to find the draw said...

to the impatient guy- why go to the second hand sites when you can go directly to the source? ncaasports.com
and yes, individual draws don't come out until much later...

Man in the Moon said...

andrewd,
my comment was " instead of a control of foreign players - How about a control with regard to age and pro status."

What that means is - for the SYSTEM to CONTROL the AGE and PRO STATUS of the PLAYERS.

In no way shape, manner or form was I saying that the players should police themselves- SIMPLY the PLAYERS WERE THE BENEIFICIARIES of the SYSTEM.

I don't mind debating you on any and all topics, however, in this instance we BOTH ARE SAYING THE SAME EXACT THING.

I thought I made that clear - I will try and be more precise the next time around.