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urklerlay
Nov 7th, 2008, 01:38 PM
Here is an interesting article from the Stanford Daily yesterday re: their non-participation at the ITAs.

http://www.stanforddaily.com/cgi-bin/?p=1214

By: Anthony Nguyen
Published: November 6, 2008

The 2008 Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships begin today at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, but don’t count on the Stanford women’s tennis team to participate this year.

As storied of a history as any program in the nation, Stanford has elected not to participate in this year’s Indoor Championships, effectively ending its fall season earlier than expected.

Though Stanford has the talent to qualify for the Championships, its boycott of one of the toughest tournaments of the season comes with a strong message, according to head coach Lele Forood.

“My opinion is that college tennis has gone too ambitious in our off-season,” Forood said. “We play too much during this period of the year, and we need to start modifying our tennis schedule in the fall. We’re sending a message that we don’t believe this tournament should be in existence anymore.”

The Indoor Championships have been a mainstay in collegiate tennis since 1984 for the women’s side. Initially played in February, the Indoors were moved to the fall season a few years ago, which adds to Stanford’s recurring problems with the fall season schedule. Stanford, which starts school late due to the quarter system, is as a result at a disadvantage entering major tournaments in early October.

With five tournaments scheduled for the sport’s “off-season,” Forood questioned whether it is a healthy decision to push her team when it matters the least.

“I think it’s time when we need people in school more,” Forood said. “When you play Indoors, you leave on a Tuesday morning and miss an entire week of school to play a tournament. It’s gotten a bit out of hand considering we’re in our off-season, supposedly.”

Last year, the Stanford women’s tennis team sent only one player, then-junior Jessica Nguyen, to the Championships. Sophomore Hilary Barte and senior Jessica Nguyen were expected to receive at-large bids to this year’s event, but are not entering. Sophomore Alex Clayton of the men’s tennis team will be the only Stanford player at the tournament.

“Two players had the potential to play the Indoors: Hilary and Jessica,” Forood said. “I think they realized both were taking a lot of econ. midterms this week, and they realized that there’s not a lot of value to playing in the last tournament of the fall. It’s a lot of time off school for, to me, not a large reward.”

As players juggle their academic schedule and getting through autumn quarter, the demands of the fall season have taken a definite toll. With the academic rigor of the Stanford curriculum, Forood said that the negatives of the tournament outweigh any possible benefits.

“I have had some discussions with coaches from other good academic institutions during the All-American Tournament about what should take place during the fall,” Forood said. “A lot of these kids are playing four or five events during the fall, which is ridiculous when our real season is during the winter and spring. It really needs to get corrected, but it’s hard to cut back on these events that have been going for a while.”

Though the Indoors may give the players a few extra matches and some padding in the ITA rankings, Forood believes there is little lost from their absence.

“There’s no obligation to play them initially,” she said. “These tournaments enhance the ranks of the participants, but everything’s shut down in college tennis for the next two months anyway. So, it’s hard to argue that these matches will do anything for these player’s games except improve their ranking.”

Another major issue of a rigorous fall season is the funding behind traveling to each tournament. With the bad economy and lack of ITA funding support, Stanford has questioned whether these off-season tournaments are worth their effort.

“A lot of expenses to fund the players to these events used to get paid by the ITA,” Forood said. “Now it’s a money issue to go to all of these individual tournaments. We certainly have to look at what we must go to before our dual-match season.”

Finally, after a travel heavy 2008 campaign, the Stanford women are less than eager to travel across the country for a tournament that could do more harm than help. Forood believes that travel schedules must be better coordinated in the future..

“I’d also like to see the conference do a better job of scheduling us because we go from one year where we travel just about all the time to this year coming up where we hardly travel at all,” Forood said. “I think there’d be a better balance to have a little travel each year instead.”

As a former Stanford player and coach of 21 years, Forood has experienced everything to do with college tennis. With the best interests of her players in mind, she has sent out a clear message to collegiate tennis: Stanford’s student-athletes are first and foremost full-time students, not frequent flyers.

tucker1989
Nov 7th, 2008, 01:51 PM
Thanks for posting. This is a really interesting article, and I think that, although Forood's reasoning makes some sense, there is something more to the picture. She doesn't think that the tournament should exist, but she still hosts the regional play-in tournament? That doesn't quite match up. The non participation has more to do, I think, with the possible qualification of just two players. In previous years, Stanford has sent 3, 4, or even 5 players to indoors, and this year they didn't receive a single definite bid. Cal, on the other hand, sent 4 players. Stanford's luster has been fading slowly, and I don't think that this will be a good year for them.

form
Nov 7th, 2008, 02:54 PM
I was looking at the qualification/selection process for indoors.

All due respect, who from Stanford (given fall results and then filling in the ranking spots) would have qualified for the 32 singles/16 doubles draws?

Most spots are from Rivi and the Regionals...then a few wild cards. I don't see where any Stanford girls would actually have made it this year?

Boycott or spin?

Tennisace
Nov 8th, 2008, 04:56 PM
While I understand the economic crunch, Stanford does have a ton of money and it's not like other schools are not facing the same problem.

On one hand she does seem to be consistent because none of the Stanford girls are playing the Arizona State tournament, which they play every year.

They complain about the late start every year, but in the past they've done well in the fall so I don't get why it's such a sore spot. And it's not like these girls can't work out over the summer. It seems to me that at Stanford, most girls take the summer off and don't train very much while at Cal, for example, the girls work out over the summer.

Tennisace
Nov 8th, 2008, 05:00 PM
I was looking at the qualification/selection process for indoors.

All due respect, who from Stanford (given fall results and then filling in the ranking spots) would have qualified for the 32 singles/16 doubles draws?

Most spots are from Rivi and the Regionals...then a few wild cards. I don't see where any Stanford girls would actually have made it this year?

Boycott or spin?

Barte would have definitely been given an at large bid and maybe even Nguyen. I think the bottom line is that individually Stanford players are doing as well as they did in the past.

gouci
Nov 11th, 2008, 06:51 AM
Wow over a 100,000 credits! :eek:

Urklerlay how did you get so rich in credits? :lol::worship: