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Friday, June 13, 2014

Nilsson Leaves Mississippi State Men for Pepperdine Women; More on USTA's Lake Nona Site; Townsend Given Wimbledon Wild Card

Per Nilsson, who has been men's head coach at Mississippi State for seven years, has been named women's head coach at Pepperdine. Nilsson, who was the men's assistant at Pepperdine from 2003-2007, will take over from Gualberto Escudero. Escudero led the Waves for 37 years, and he will remain at Pepperdine as associate head coach. Nilsson's departure from Mississippi State is covered in its release, and his arrival in Malibu is covered in the Pepperdine release.

In other college news, Idaho has hired Mariana Cobra as women's head coach. She replaces Myriam Sopel, who left in January for University of Texas-El Paso.  Cobra was previously at Northern Iowa.  LSU has hired Georgia men's volunteer assistant Tristan Venables as assistant to Julia Sell in the women's program.  Steve Smith, a long time private coach in Tampa (and father of Connor Smith) has moved to Raleigh and will be serve as the volunteer assistant for the men's program at North Carolina State.

The USTA Florida publishes a blog called Game Changer and a recent post goes into great detail about the new USTA facility to be built in Lake Nona, outside Orlando.  It mentions bidding for the NCAA tournament (which has been already been awarded for Division I through 2018) and a multitude of other items of interest in Player Development.  When the announcement was made last month, I didn't understand how the sections were going to benefit from this as far as junior development goes, but here's how it's explained:

The 17 USTA Sections throughout the country will be able to take advantage of the Team USA Area. The eight hard courts and eight clay courts can be used by USTA Section coaches and players to work on their own, or collaboratively with USTA Player Development. In the winter, USTA Section coaches and players in northern climates who would find local indoor court costs prohibitive could fly down to Orlando for a week or two to use the facilities at no cost.

There's much, much more, so if you are interested in the project, you can read the blog post here.

All of the wild cards to Wimbledon have not yet been awarded, (here's the earlier wild card announcement by the club) but word is leaking out today of some others. Taylor Townsend tweeted the following earlier: 

Reports today have additional wild cards going to Vera Zvonareva of Russia, Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain and Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic.


5.0 Player said...

In my opinion, the University of Michigan's pick of Adam Steinberg as their new head coach is a pretty cynical one. While Steinberg was very successful I figured that Michigan would refrain from picking the coach of a program that has had so many NCAA violations, particularly after Michigan's experience with the Fab 5 in basketball where they had to vacate so many of their achievements due to NCAA violations. Mr. Steinberg's bio on the Pepperdine website has something like 4 asterisks where it mentions that they had to vacate all their wins for 4 recent seasons due to NCAA violations. Perhaps they determined that Mr. Steinberg was not responsible for these violations, but they did happen on his watch. It seems they are motivated to win at all costs.

John said...

MALIBU, Calif. - The NCAA Committee on Infractions released its final report today on self-reported violations by Pepperdine University. Many of the penalties issued to Pepperdine were proposed by the University and agreed to by the Committee on Infractions.

"Since discovering our internal compliance issues and self-reporting them to the NCAA, we have fully cooperated throughout the review process," Pepperdine President Andrew K. Benton said. "We are confident we have made the corrections and improvements that will allow us to continue to successfully compete in full compliance with NCAA policies."

Said Director of Athletics Steve Potts: "At Pepperdine, we are committed to the highest standards of academic and athletic excellence and Christian values. Integrity, accountability and a strong culture of compliance with NCAA rules fall within that commitment. It is important to note that these NCAA compliance issues were self-discovered and self-reported. There was no intentional misconduct on the part of any coach or staff member and appropriate corrective measures have been taken to ensure that these types of mistakes will not be repeated."

One area of the violations related to the miscalculation of transferable hours for progress-toward-degree requirements for transfer student-athletes. Another area was the over-awarding of financial aid in the sports of baseball, men's tennis, men's volleyball, men's water polo and women's soccer. Those teams surpassed NCAA scholarship limits due to institutional need-based aid being improperly categorized under NCAA rules. Additional findings were that Pepperdine did not seek reinstatement for an ineligible student-athlete, did not maintain squad lists and did not execute a certificate of compliance.

Since discovering these unintentional violations, Pepperdine has strengthened its oversight and compliance processes, including bringing on two experienced individuals to its compliance staff, and making a commitment to continuing rules education university-wide.

When the grant-in-aid violations were discovered in the spring of 2011, Pepperdine immediately self-imposed a one-year postseason ban for the three teams that were over-awarded but were still in the middle of their seasons: baseball, men's tennis and men's volleyball. The postseason ban was for only the spring 2011 season. These teams were eligible for 2012 postseason events and are eligible for all future postseason events.

Pepperdine further proposed the following penalties, which were accepted by the NCAA:
•Three years of probation beginning with the 2012-13 academic year.
•Annual reports to the Committee of Infractions detailing the results of Pepperdine's new policies and programs.
•Scholarship reductions for the five aforementioned sports through the 2014-15 season.
•The vacating of all wins and team accomplishments during the 2007-08 through 2010-11 academic years for the sports of baseball (including an NCAA Championships appearance in 2008), men's tennis (including West Coast Conference titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and NCAA Championships appearances all three years) and men's volleyball (including a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament championship in 2008 and an NCAA Championships appearance in 2008), and the vacating of the individual records of the student-athletes who competed while ineligible.

Sanctions added by the NCAA's Committee on Infractions include public reprimand and censure, the establishment of a rules education program that will be comprehensive and campus-wide (a process that already began this past school year) and certain reporting requirements to the NCAA.

The case was resolved through the summary disposition process, a cooperative effort where Pepperdine and the NCAA's investigative staff submitted the case to the Committee on Infractions.

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