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Monday, September 22, 2008

ETS's Olivares Wins Southern Intercollegiate Title; Illinois Wants to Win with Americans; USTA Board Nominations Announced

The Southern Intercollegiate, held in Athens, Ga., is a very prestigious title, and for the first time since 2004, it wasn't a University of Georgia Bulldog who captured the trophy, but rather Enrique Olivares of East Tennessee State. In 2005 and 2006, John Isner won it; last year it was Nate Schnugg, but although the 2008 NCAA MOP was in the field again this year and seeded No. 1, he fell in the quarterfinals to Reid Carleton of Duke. Georgia's Jamie Hunt and Javier Garrapiz also lost in the quarterfinals. For the full account of Olivares's win over Kentucky's Bruno Agostinelli, click here. Olivares is from Venezuela, as are both ETSU coaches, and the 11-man roster has nine different countries represented.

At the University of Illinois, the foreign players on both the men's and women's teams are in the minority, in fact each has only one on the current roster, and IlliniHQ.com thought that was interesting given that tennis has the highest percentage of foreign athletes among the NCAA Division 1 sports. This story is the result. Head coach Brad Dancer is quoted as saying:
"It's very simple. We recruit only domestically because we really believe in our system of player development. We feel it's a winning philosophy. I do think what we're doing is the right thing."

Women's head coach Michelle Dasso's program isn't at the same stage as Dancer's, but she hopes to follow the same philosophy.

"I want to build a winning program," Dasso said. "If I'm not getting quality players, down the road I wouldn't be against one or two international players. But I'm not going to look to saturate the program."

It's a complicated issue, the preponderance of foreign tennis players on U.S. college teams, and no one at Illinois is looking for protection from those who don't share their philosophy of developing U.S. players. If they continue to have success, maybe they will convert some of those who look overseas first.

The USTA Board nominations were announced today. Lucy Garvin will lead the board as Chairman and President beginning in January.


love-tennis said...

Kudos to Illinois!!!!

New_AR_Hacker said...

not rain on Illinois parade but when you are a Top 10 school, American players flock to you, unlike ETSU or other smaller State cools.
Very similar to Stanford and others who are always at the top the Top American players will come.
Kudos to Illinois, but it obviously helps their case being a powerhouse.

John said...

Good for Iiiinois !!
What about a top school like UCLA ? Have You guys seen their roster ? I think maybe one or two American players ?

love-tennis said...

Look at Baylor.

Austin said...

UGA has that all-american image, but they have always relied on non-Americans to help them bring home the title.

Ole Miss another that is out of control. Cant believe Devin Britton is heading there. Shocking to me they landed a top ranked American even though that school is such an American style college.

Stephen said...

It seems most of the top programs have consistently relied on foreign players in their line-ups (especially at the top). The only notable exceptions I can think of are Stanford, Illinois, and Vanderbilt.

Most of the top-10 schools have half or more foreign players in their line-ups on a regular basis.

Are there others I'm forgetting about?

Jeremy said...

WAY TO GO ILLINOIS!!! I LOVE TO HEAR THAT!!! Someone said that a lawsuit would be present if they tried to exclude foreign players from entering U.S. colleges...anyone know anything about that?

either way: Kudos to Illinois.

love-tennis said...

I used to think I was the only one who felt that way about the foreigners taking the scholarship spots. After talking a bit about it with my tennis friends, I find that most US people feel that way. Aren't those our tax dollars paying for it? I would be ok for one scholarship going to a foreign person but some of the colleges have so many.

In some ways you understand why the coaches do it. They are under such pressure to win. They can't get the very top US players so they go outside the box.

Jeremy, I don't know about a lawsuit---maybe that is true and that is how it all started.

Man in the Moon said...


I do not have a problem with "foreigners" playing college tennis as much as I have with professionals playing collegiate tennis.

If the rules are: you can not play collegiate tennis if you accept money for playing tennis-that is where the problems occur.

If my children wanted to attend Oxford, Cambridge or the U of Paris they would certainly be allowed to attend school and possibly accept a scholarship (academic or atheletic)regardless if they were from the USA or outer Mongolia.

The problem - it is up to the specific university to check if the player (foreign or domestic) is a pro player not if he / she is American or not.

In other words- control the professional player not where he / she is from.

Man in the Moon said...


I forgot to address the US TAX DOLLARS question.

Private universities are not subsidized by US taxes.

State universities do recieve money from the state - for in-state students (subsidy) -- not really a factor if the player is from another state - or another country for that matter.

love-tennis said...

Man on the moon, thanks for the scholarship info--that is interesting.

Regarding the foreigner topic, I guess it bugs me a little bit because in my mind, they say they are from 'e.g. Russia', come from 'Russia', take a scholarship from a US college, go back to 'Russia', and then when it comes time to play the Fed Cup/Davis Cup/Olympics, they are 'Russian'. Wait? Didn't they just use the U.S.? Even though their education and their tennis has been developed in the U.S., they are Russian through and through, with little credit given to the U.S.

If they stayed in the U.S. and used their education towards U.S. purposes, I'd be ok with it.

Overall, God or whomever you believe in, created us all equal but there is something about using the United States for athletics/education and then bragging that you are from the other country, that just gets me.

Stephen said...

New_AR_Hacker -- Illinois used to have a very weak tennis program until Craig Tiley took over. He built the program by developing middle-tier juniors into all-Americans. Then he used that success to later sell elite recruits.

It is much easier to win by bringing over 22-year-old foreign players with pro tour experience than it is to actually develop players. It doesn't take a whole lot of skill or work to coach these teams like Baylor, Mississippi, or UCLA that are made up of foreign ringers.

Man in the Moon said...

love-tennis & Stephen,

love-tennis-- interesting thoughts,

especially your following comments and I quote " Didn't they just use the U.S.? Even though their education and their tennis has been developed in the U.S., they are Russian through and through, with little credit given to the U.S."

It is a 2 way street --well didn't the US use the "foreign player to win championships, etc.

The player received a scholarship so the university could win (emphaisis added).

I still look at the situation globally (emphasis added) -- If my sons received a track scholarship to play for Oxford for 4 years -- they still would be American thru and thru and play for the USA in the Olympics,etc. Just because you go to school in a country and received benefits from that country -you gave that country something also-CHAMPIONSHIPS.

Stephen / love-tennis --
the problem is not that the players are from another country - it is that they are PROFESSIONALS (emphasis added) THAT IS WHAT THE PROBLEM IS. PROFESSIONALS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO PLAY COLLEGIATE SPORTS - so what if they are from another country --

What bothers me is- players such as the the cousins Amritraj - who were born in the USA, learned tennis in the USA as juniors, played in all the USTA junior championships, trained as kids from the age of 3 thru and including their college years- took tons of wild cards in the juniors, college and ATP pro's FROM THE USTA and then declare that they will play for India -- now that is not nice- however, they are certainly entitiled to do that. I don't think they have any intergrity in that regard.

And at the end of the day - it really didn't help them one bit -- to play for India -- because they just couldn't cut it in the pros as Americans -wore out their welcome and then tried to see what India could do for them.

They certainly will not receive any more Wild Cards from the USTA and they don't deserve any, either.


tennis-hacker said...

The toughest part of tracking foreign players isn't the fact that they have been playing professional tournaments, but the "club" matches they get paid to play. That is a big problem and illegal, if those playes want to play college tennis.

American players have to follow an amateur system growing up, whereas foreign players do not UNTIL they want to play college tennis.

The NCAA needs to find a better tracking system for up-coming/current colleigate players who have/are playing club tennis in Europe. That is a HUGE problem.

Side note: Amateurs cannot even play a match in World Team Tennis, the American version of club tennis in Europe.

love-tennis said...

At Winter Supernationals, I was talking with several girls about where/why they committed to certain colleges. Some of them commented that they did not like or appreciate the fact that certain colleges had so many foreign recruits and did not consider going to that school for that reason.

The 'professional' level of the foreign recruits did not seem to scare them, rather I think they just wanted to be comfortable with kids who were like them and spoke English, be it right or wrong.

Man in the Moon said...

tennis hacker

I was including "Club Matches" and yes the players get paid and paid handsomely for the club matches throughout Europe.

That clearly is a violation of the NCAA rules- and it is not as difficult to trace as one would believe.

Rosters are available if one knows where to look - I just don't know how hard a coach who wants a top foreign player will look.

The NCAA is not going to spend too much time investigating non revenue producing sports- for goodness sake the revenue producing sports have so many violations it is hard to keep up.

Club Matches are a problem but not insurmountable.