Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Division I NCAA Controversy

Not sure how many of you are aware of this but there is a big controversy after the release of the NCAA D1 Tennis brackets last night. Ole Miss, who is currently ranked #2 in the country has to travel for their regional to rival LSU who almost beat them in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals. Ole Miss went undefeated in the SEC as well as winning the SEC tournament. On top of all of this, they lead the nation in average attendance with 582 fans per match. For the last 40 years, traditionally in D1 the top 16 Men's teams have hosted their regional, and then those 16 winners would converge on one site to play out the Final 16. This is the first time in recent memory that the regional hosts rule has been changed. Meanwhile, plenty of other teams are being flown to sites.

Baylor is also a victim ranked at #6 in the country. They have to travel to Tulsa to play their regional against a Golden Hurricane team who has the #1 singles player in the country and was ranked #15 pre-season before slipping into the 20s. The NCAA strikes again and it seems the same rule that keeps 3 top 10 teams in the same regional in D3 is now spreading to D1.

I was thinking about things and in theory, UC Santa Cruz could completely tank their season, lose every match against a ranked team, finish last at Indoors and be in the same position they are right now. CMS is in a similar situation. They could lose every match and then just win SCIACs. We knew the NCAA fate of these two teams at the beginning of the season. What are they playing for? The goal is to win NCAAs, so why are these teams even playing their season when they know where they will end up? At least Ole Miss and Georgia don't have to play each other in a regional. D1 has it better than we do, and these travel restrictions are a travesty in my eyes.

I understand that the NCAA has restrictions, but D1 tennis is taken very seriously. To run the table in the SEC and Big 12 respectively and not be rewarded is outrageous.

As a final note, the host of the D1 Final 16 is Texas A&M University. If Mississippi gets by their regional at LSU, guess who they play in the Round of 16. That's right, Texas A&M.

I've been following D1 action a lot lately so I'd be happy to discuss with anyone.