Thursday, May 14, 2020

NCAA D-I Dead Period Extended to June 30; Akron Drops Women's Tennis; Contreras Wins Fed Cup Heart Award; ATP Feature on Rinderknech; UTR Event on Succeeding in College

The NCAA announced yesterday that its dead period, which prohibits in-person contacts between a college coach and a potential student-athlete and their parents, has been extended. Previously set to expire on May 31, the dead period will now end after June 30. Coaches are not allowed to make home visits, and recruits are not allowed to make visits, official or unofficial, to campus during this dead period. The complete release by the NCAA Division I Council is here.

Akron, a member of the Mid American Conference, announced today that it was dropping three sports, including women's tennis. This is the first Division I school to drop a tennis program since the suspension of competition in March (D-I Wisconsin-Green Bay has suspended its men's and women's teams indefinitely). Men's golf and cross country are also being eliminated, with 23 men and nine women affected by these cuts. Unfortunately, and unusual in a situation like this, Akron is not honoring these athlete's scholarships if they wish to remain at the school without competing on a team, but they can't renege on scholarships for incoming freshmen.

Unfortunately, the current financial situation does not allow the University to be able to continue to offer and provide athletics scholarships to current student athletes in the sports of men’s cross country, men’s golf and women’s tennis moving forward. However, the University is required to provide the agreed upon scholarship to the incoming student athletes that had previously signed an offer for the upcoming year should they matriculate to The University of Akron.
Akron's announcement is here and the Frequently Asked Questions are here.
Former Vanderbilt All-American Fernanda Contreras was named on of four winners of the Fed Cup Heart Award, with the 22-year-old, who represents Mexico, selected for her performance at the Americas Group 1 event in February. According to this Fed Cup article, Contreras won six of eight matches in singles and doubles in that competition, "alongside [USC alum] Giuliana Olmos, including the third-set tiebreak that sealed victory over Paraguay and a place in the Fed Cup Play-Offs, where they will host Great Britain." Contreras is the third generation of her family to represent Mexico in Davis Cup or Fed Cup. The $2000 charitable grant she won will go to the Mexican Association for Aid to Children with Cancer.

France's Arthur Rinderknech, the former Texas A&M star, has had his climb up the ATP rankings halted by the pandemic, after his title at the Calgary Challenger moved him up to 160. In this feature from the ATP, Rinderknech reveals that his mother, although asymptomatic, did contract the virus.

UTR hosted a virtual event today, with Parsa Nemati the moderator, entitled "Pathway to Becoming a Successful College Player."  Featured were Jordan Angus of Great Britain, who played at Mississippi State and San Diego and coaches at Eagle Fustar Academy now, and Katarina Adamovic of Serbia, who played at Oklahoma State and is now the assistant coach at Cincinnati.

Angus and Adamovic talked about how they ended up at their respective schools, with both emphasizing that knowing what you want to accomplish before you enter a program is crucial to making the right decision.

"I knew what I was looking for," Adamovic said. "I wasn't looking for a school in a nice city, and again, I did not know about conferences, I did not know what Power 5 is, so for me it was more about what can I get from that school and what can I offer to that school. I never visited Oklahoma State, had never been to Stillwater before. But luckily Chris (Young), the head coach of Oklahoma State, he flew down to Serbia to watch me play in a tournament. He spent two or three days and the next thing I knew, I committed to Oklahoma State....Luckily I had a great connection right there on the spot with Chris, there was something about him and we clicked, and in a couple of months, I was in Stillwater."

Angus's advised current student-athletes in the recruiting process now to be considerate and polite, regardless of whether they are interested in the school.

"Just don't burn bridges," Angus said. "You'll get some kids very polite, happy to talk, even if they are not going to commit to your school, they'll send you a nice message, reach out to you. Then you get others that either don't reply or are kind of rude. In my case, I loved my coach and I loved my teammates, but I still transferred from Mississippi State, and I needed help to transfer from other coaches and other people I knew. If I burn bridges, I limit my options....Make sure you stay in contact, stay polite whether you're going to go to that school or not. You never know when those people are going to come back into your life, give you something that could really benefit you going forward."

Nemati will be hosting another virtual event next Thursday, featuring two former American collegians on the same topic: Ronnie Schneider(UNC) and Shelby Talcott(Iowa). Registration for all UTR events is here.