This week the Road Not Taken takes a look into the world of the NCAA Division II tennis. This is a NCAA Division that is full of athletes from all around the world. Our first team is the Columbus State University Cougars. And our second team to look at is the Abilene Christian University Wildcats.
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The Cougars of Columbus State University Men’s Tennis vs. The Wildcats of Abilene Christian University Men’s Tennis
The Road Not Taken takes another look at Women’s Tennis programs at the Division 1 Level. Here we have two teams from different conferences and different parts of the country. The University of South Carolina located in Columbia, S.C. is in the SEC. The University of Montana is in the Big Sky Conference and is located in Missoula, MT. The football team competes in the NCAA I-AA level but the rest of the sports participate at the NCAA I-A level.
This week the road not taken goes to the NCAA Division III level and we take a look at two teams from that obscure NCAA Division where the most important thing is academics and athletics is a distant second. At the Division III level all the things people want to point to as being wrong with collegiate athletics are solved. Programs are not run by money and schools have the right perspective on programs–winning is not supposed to be the number one goal. D-III schools compete in athletics as a non-revenue-making, extracurricular activity for students; hence, they may not offer athletic scholarships, they may not redshirt freshmen for non-medical reasons, and they may not use endowments or funds whose primary purpose is to benefit their athletic programs.
Also, under NCAA rules, D-III schools “shall not award financial aid to any student on the basis of athletics leadership, ability, participation or performance”. Financial aid given to athletes must be awarded under the same procedures as for the general student body, and the proportion of total financial aid given to athletes “shall be closely equivalent to the percentage of student-athletes within the student body.”
This week with the “Road Not Taken” we are looking at two teams in very different parts of the country. New Mexico State University is located in the southwest at Las Cruces, New Mexico. Boston University, is located in Boston, Massachusetts. Both schools compete at the Division 1 level.
Ok, here we have two different programs, in two different conferences and two different roads the coaches have chosen with filling their rosters. The Head Coach at Auburn is Eric Shore and he is a good coach and good guy, but look at the roster–all the players except one are foreign. Now let’s take a look at the University of Notre Dame Men’s team coached by Bobby Bayliss (another good guy and good coach) and you see a striking contrast in that their roster has all Americans except for one foreigner.
To me whether you choose to have foreign players on your team or not is a choice you should be able to make as an institution, athletic department and coach. It should not be made by others for you. When this happens it is a mandate. And I have not seen many mandates I like.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim Because it was grassy and wanted wear, Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I marked the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken