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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pepperdine Bans Post-season Play for Men's Tennis, Two Other Sports; Bouchard Named to Canada's Fed Cup Team; Paige a Two-Sport Star

Pepperdine University today banned its men's tennis, volleyball and baseball teams from post-season play this year after the school discovered irregularities in its administration of financial aid. The school has reported its findings to the NCAA, and while that governing body investigates, Pepperdine has decided to keep the three teams out of post-season competition.

The men's tennis team, ranked eighth in the country this week, has two seniors on the roster, Stuart Keplar and Alejandro Moreno, who will not get another chance at the West Coast Conference or NCAA tournament. The conference also supplied the scenario for the conference championship coming up later next month, which will decide the automatic NCAA berth, now that Pepperdine has instituted this ban.

The conference explanation mentions the baseball team is not eligible for the NCAAs, but doesn't spell that out explicitly for tennis, but I believe that's just an oversight. A ban on post-season competition would certainly be expected to include the NCAAs.

The women's tennis team at Pepperdine is not affected. It goes without saying this is a huge loss for the sport, the athletes and the program. While this seems a drastic step, if it can help in averting NCAA sanctions, it may prove to be the most prudent approach.

The complete release can be found at Pepperdine's website.

In somewhat happier college tennis news, UCLA has announced that former Bruin Marcel Freeman has been selected for induction into the ITA Collegiate Hall of Fame. There are usually 8-12 inductees every spring, and the full list has not yet been released, but individual mentions pop up here and there. Quoting from the UCLA men's tennis newsletter:

Marcel was the 1982 ITA Player of the Year and the 1982 Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year. He was a four time All-American from 1979 to 1982. The ITA Hall of Fame Enshrinement Banquet will be May 25th held during the National Championships hosted by Stanford.

Recent Copa Gerdau champion Eugenie Bouchard has been named to the Canadian Fed Cup Team, which plays Slovenia in July. The 17-year-old from Quebec, on the team for the first time, will join Rebecca Marino, Stephanie Dubois and Sharon Fichman in trying keep Canada in World Group II after a loss to Serbia in February. See the complete article from the Ottawa Citizen here.

I had heard in Mobile that Nolan Paige was playing high school basketball and this article from the USTA New England website confirms it. Paige, a junior, also plays high school tennis at Hopkins School in New Haven, Connecticut, and this spring the team will be going for its second straight New England Preparatory School Athletic Council "B" title. Paige won the New England section's US Open National Playoff last summer.

Speaking of the US Open National Playoffs, two of the sectional qualifying tournament entries close next week: the Southwest on Monday, April 4th, and the Eastern, which had one of the biggest draw sizes last year, on Wednesday, April 6th. See the website for more information.

16 comments:

collegetennis said...

colette
does not that mean Pepperdine mens tennis will not be competing in singles or doubles in the NCAAs

Steve said...

They will be

Dusty said...

Financial aid issues...the NCAA should take a look at all the major programs for violations in this regard. When 4.5 scholarships aren't getting the job done, look to the financial aid office to pick up the slack.

collegetennis said...

To dusty.... ditto.... dont get how both UVA and A&M have such huge teams for mens. Not suggesting they are not playing by the rules but it is interesting question...

john said...

Financial aid issues -- is going on in a lot of top schools . The NCAA needs to investigate the matter asap .. It is completely out of control and these top programs getting away with it .. Thanks for opening this serious problem .

Colette Lewis said...

@John:
I have no knowledge of the exact problem at Pepperdine or other "top" programs. Financial aid/scholarship $ is not something shared with me by players, parents or coaches. But if you know of abuses, you are free to report them to the NCAA yourself. They don't have the staff to investigate all schools all the time, and rely on self-policing, but if you have evidence of inappropriate financial aid, you should do more than just post a comment on a website.

Dusty said...

As someone who has seen it go on personally as coaches walk players to the financial aid office on their official visits, it is obviously a major problem at top universities. The problem is those who work for the NCAA do not know what to look for and havent experienced anything first hand as student-athletes themselves. And what college player is going to want to rat other players (friends) and universities out? It isn't the job of the players to do this. The NCAA should have the smarts/resources to pursue these matters especially when it is so easy to see in college tennis where there is a consistent top 5-10 programs. And you cannot rely on coaches/AD's to "do the right thing". They have salaries/bonuses/etc on the line. Just a thought for all of you.

love-tennis said...

Instead of all these innuendo's what exactly do you all mean by them "using the financial aid office?" What do you mean? They get financial aid over someone equally qualified? Say exactly what you mean please.

All kinds of kids get financial aid, tennis players or no tennis players, so what exactly do you mean?

Dusty said...

Financial aid office working with athletic department to guarantee almost full-ride to those who are not financially qualified. It is a way of getting more than 4.5 "scholarships" in a sense. It is giving money to a top player and disguising it is financial aid when they can afford tuition. Understand?

Texastennismom said...

Or when the team has exceeded its number of scholarships. I tutored athletes when I was a grad student and the use of financial aid in this way was a perfectly open matter, much to my surprise I recall.

polyanna said...

dishonesty in college athletics?
dishonesty in tennis?

no can't be....

Big Picture said...

If people are going to come on here and make statements with such generalizations about cheating they almost always dont know what they are talking about completely. Does some cheating go on? Yes. As much as Dusty and Texastennismom imply. No. What hasnt been discussed is 2 things.#1(Academic scholarships do not count toward your 4.5 tennis scholarships. Many tennis players do well academically and get scholarships this way) #2) Many states have scholarships for in states kids that qualify as well. The California and Texas colleges get many extra players this way as do other schools as well. Also all colleges have their on admission standards that prospective students have to meet. Some schools are obviously lower than others. Its not cheating. When you people throw out these general statements make sure you tell the whole story and know the rules otherwise you are being very misleading much like the liberal media in todays world.

ToAll said...

Those of you who have no inside information and no idea going on at Pepperdine have no right to speak. Particularly when making accusations. Both the athletes on the mens tennis team who are receiving financial aid are not on full financial aid, and one of them is not on very much. Dont be so quick to judge a program that prides itself on its integrity forgoing multiple players over the years because the athletic department thought they wouldnt be eligible only for these same players to end up at other schools with 3 or 4 years of eligibility.

collegetennis said...

to big picture...you say "Many states have scholarships for in states kids that qualify as well. The California and Texas colleges get many extra players this way as do other schools as well." If that is allowed doesn't that put other colleges that dont have access to those state scholarships at a disadvantage. Seems to give those schools an unfair recruiting edge...

Fair and Balanced said...

Big Picture said: "...you are being very misleading much like the liberal media in todays world."

Nice try! The media is clearly "right wing" biased, not liberal biased, as the Republicans own entire right wing news channels such as Fox News which only employs right wing commentators. The liberals don't have that advantage.

fairplay said...

What is wrong with giving financial aid to a student-athlete who qualifies for it? As long as the school uses the same criteria for all prospective students --regular students or athletes-- I see no problem. And as long as the school does not give any money under a false pretext or more than the athlete's financial situation calls for.
It would be a completely different matter if the player were to get a (full) scholarship AND financial aid on top of that. Even if the student-athlete would qualify for financial aid, it wouldn't be fair and would certainly be against NCAA rules, I suppose.