Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ball State's Women's Program Penalized by NCAA; Dick Gould Interview; Alison Riske Feature; McEnroe Twitter Chat

The NCAA today announced that the Ball State women's tennis program has been given three years of probation for "exceeding playing and practice hour limitations." The NCAA's release also cites the former head coach for unethical conduct for asking the student-athletes to provide false and misleading statements to investigators.

The Muncie Star Press published this article today detailing former coach Kathy Bull's federal lawsuit against the university, filed Monday. Most likely the story was prepared yesterday for publication today, as it refers to a lack of a decision from the NCAA.

A more upbeat college tennis story is this feature on current Stanford Director of Tennis and former men's coach Dick Gould. The author, Dan Markowitz, starts with the premises that dominant teams are good for a sport, and that's why college tennis is suffering, but I'm not sure college tennis is suffering, although there's no arguing with the amazing success of Stanford men professionally in the 70s and 80s, that is not, and will not, be duplicated in today's global game. (One correction: there are actually 7 U.S. men in the ATP Top 100 right now).

Gould is adamant that any player (all the discussion in the article is on men's college tennis) with any academic inclinations at all can benefit from college tennis, and not just for "something to fall back on." He believes even someone like Sam Querrey could have profited from college tennis and that it takes only a year or two to make up the difference in time on the pro tour for those who stay in school versus those who don't.

There are some interesting comments on the post, but it's a bit weird to see Markowitz asking later on why there are no "decent college tennis players." To put the bar at the Top 100, which is admittedly the level necessary to pay expenses and live comfortably, when determining if a player is "decent" is silly.

On the other side of the coin, this Almanac feature on Alison Riske, who decided not to accept a scholarship at Vanderbilt after initially announcing she would, explains her reasons for choosing to go straight to the pros. Playing college tennis would not have been a "ridiculous" decision, as the story implies, but Riske has begun to have success on the WTA tour, and her ranking has steadily risen to the 150s. It's a good feature, revealing Riske as a Dave Matthews fan with a lot of superstitions, who enjoyed every minute of her experience last month at Wimbledon.

For those of you with a Twitter account, the USTA is conducting a twitter chat with General Manager of Player Development Patrick McEnroe Thursday at noon Eastern time. Questions can be submitted to the usta twitter account now.


Frank said...

hmmm. How did the Ball State coach get caught when excess practice time is commonplace?

John said...

Frank - that ('commonplace') is not my understanding or experience. Unless you are talking about football.

Frank said...

Tennis, swimming, etc. I think it's called an "unofficial" captain's practice. It's an accepted way of life for players. And although it's called "unofficial", it really means you better get your ass to practice or else. Universities have numerous antics to get around the rules.