Wednesday, April 13, 2005

RTotD – College Eligiblity Rules

Obviously I’m biased on this one, but I really believe the college eligibility rules should be changed. The current rules give a huge advantage to large state schools. The current eligibility rules allow a player five years of eligibility. The clock starts ticking as soon as a player signs up for the UPA. The 2004 Women’s AC All-Region Team consisted of four seniors, two juniors, and a graduate student. The seniors were from UGA, UNC, NCST, and Duke. Three of the seniors returned for a fifth year with their team. As you probably guessed, it’s the kid from Duke that didn’t return. Maybe it’s because Duke costs between 10 and 15 times and much as the in-state tuition at the other schools?

I think the rules should be changed to only allow players to have four years of eligibility--just like the eligibility rules of every other college sport. I think the rule should be that starting with the first time you sign up for the UPA you have five years to play four seasons. This would prevent the UPA from having to grant red shirts because a player who is injured could sit out the college series one year and not appear on the teams roster. Playing a season only means being on the teams UPA Series Roster. I realize at the moment there is a potential logistical issue tracking this stuff as all of the rosters are done by hand. However, next year all of the rosters are supposed to submitted online. It shouldn’t be a difficult thing to track in a database – a player gets five years to play four seasons. I don’t think the rules should be changed right away as many players who are in college now have already made plans to stay in school for 5 years. It’s also conceivable that there are seniors in high school who have made their college decision based on going to a place where they can play five years. I think we should grandfather all of those people in. But the rules need to change. So, if I were running the show, (thankfully for everyone I’m not) I’d say starting with the 2007-2008 season, players that sign up for the UPA for the first time are only allowed to show up on 4 College Rosters in the next 5 years. Is there any reason not to do this?


Noah said...

I just wrote the longest post ever, but it somehow did not go through. So, here's a summary:

A) Cost - ~2900 for a 3 hour class at private schools, ~450 in state and 1800 out of state for public schools. Most 5th year players only take one class, at least in my experience (unless doing grad school).

B) NCAA basketball - not all players are on scholarship. does this give UNC an advantage over Duke?

C) Deciding where to go - Don't most kids consider cost when deciding what school to go to? I know I sure did. High school ultimate players know they might want to stay somewhere for 5 years, so no problem there. A lot of other players don't start until after their first year, so staying for a 5th year might not be the best option (grad school would likely be a better choice).

Ok, so let's assume a rule change is made so that the playing field is leveled for schools with higher tuition. What next?

Should we also limit the amount of funding an ultimate team can receive? Some teams that get $9000/year from their school to spend on ultimate, which is a huge advantage (i.e. players do not have to hold down jobs while playing in order to afford going to tournaments).

Some teams have awesome fields. Should we restrict them to playing on fields of the same quality as GA Tech's astroturf?

Some schools have larger populations (UGA 30,000; Carleton 1,500 or thereabouts). Do they therefore have an unfair advantage that needs to be addressed?

Ok, that's the gist of my much much longer post, without a lot of the explanations and reasoning.

aj said...

A)I'm not saying cost is the only issue, but i do believe the cost factor favors big state schools.

B)I don't think it's quite the same thing. College B'Ball teams (not on probation, like UGA)get 13 scholarships and have a roster of 15. I think it does give UNC an advantage over Duke, but realistically the 14th and 15th men never play.

C)I think students definitely consider money when deciding where to go. Changing the rule wouldn't change that.
My plan would still allow grad students to play. They're just allowed to be on a roster 4 times rather than 5.

I'm not trying to level the playing field based on tuition. The tuition is just one area where the iniquity shows up.

I'm just wondering why the ultimate world has different eligibility rules than the rest of college athletics. I'm assuming it's based on the fact that the UPA saw the need for red shirts but logistically couldn't handle them since rosters are done by hand. Now that the technology exists it makes sense that we should standardize. If there is another reason for giving players 5 years of eligibility that i'm missing, please tell me what it is.

I guess that's the bottom line to me - why 5 instead of 4? Is there a logical reason?

I hate the slippery slope argument - of course i don't want to limit the funding teams receive or divide teams based on facilities.

As for the question of school size - If ultimate grows the way i'd love to see it grow, one day becoming truly mainstream. I don't think there's any doubt that teams will be put into different divisions. That's not to say that some small schools (like Carleton) won't elect to remain in Divsion I ultimate, but most schools of that size probably won't want to play DI.

Really though, my biggest quesiton is why 5 years? It's something that other sports don't do, and i think it causes some iniquities.

Anonymous said...

just found this blog...

The 5 years thing is something left over as a way to grow the sport (5 years means more players playing), pseudo redshirts, and to grow the sport (graduate and go play someplace in grad school, or spend five years building a program, or just keep more veterans in the game). I thought there was something on RSD about it a while back with the exact reasoning.

I would hope as well that with better filing they may change the system.

Point A) gets the real meat of the 5 year issue. Most 5th year players only take one class...are they really even college students at that point? Seems silly to me. (I also thought it was at least two classes...).

I love playing ultimate, and a huge reason I went to grad school was to play another year of college ultimate, but is this really what we (or the UPA) wants to promote? At some level it keeps veterans in the game, but at another it tends to be less about college players and more about young club players willing to make sacrifices to play.

The original eligibility rules were put in place to stop club teams of part time college students going off and dominating. That's mostly gone now and the college game has developed enough that the UPA could reduce the rules.

As for the other comments, I don't think there's a need to level the playing field per se, but I'd agree that 5 years of eligibility gives a disproportionate advantage to large, public schools. I went to Duke for four years, and while we did have a couple players stick around for five years, it was only because of grad school, and had they had the option to stay for five as an undergrad, it never would have happened.


Miriam said...

I don't have a good reason for, "why 4 not 5 years." Just a counter example-

I have coached at Michigan for 6 years and we've never had a player play 5 years on our team(s). The average is about 3 years (many find the sport late).

Then again, UM out of state tuition rivals that of some private schools, so maybe the $$ is playing a factor.

I agree with previous posters that attempting to level the playing field gets complicated. Using that as an arguement for changing isn't so good.

Changing in order to mirror the NCAA is potentially a decent reason. We want to be like other legitimate college sports. Fair enough.

But here's where I get confused. Don't a lot of players redshirt say their freshman year and then play four years? So they are fifth year seniors? They still got that first year to practice and get better. Big state schools could start doing that sort of thing too in ultimate. In fact, they could play those freshmen all year long and then just not enter them into the series. And then you'd be right back at the beginning with big schools having players for 5 years and small schools having them for 4.

parinella said...

At the Board meeting about four years ago, we narrowly defeated a motion very similar to this. National College Director Lyn Debevoise, a product of the expensive private school system, was the driver behind this proposal, while UPA Championship Director Will Deaver, a product of the multi-year state school system, was strongly against it. The Board had spirited debate, but eventually tabled the motion by a single vote. I felt that it needed more research, and there was a lot of it done again after the meeting, but it never came to a vote again.

aj said...

parinella said, "while UPA Championship Director Will Deaver, a product of the multi-year state school system, was strongly against it."

classic dawgs.

Noah said...

I, Noah Eden, hereby dedicate the next year of my life to Will Deaver.