The Spiral

Corruption. That’s a strong word. How about some more synonyms: dishonest, false, dishonorable, untrustworthy, and deceptive. When we have one specific “tennis rule” in the NCAA rule book (no pros, three-year red shirts, 22-year-old freshmen, etc.) and members repeatedly violate or circumvent it or even aid in falsifying documents and statements, are we corrupt? Have we copied the “money sports”? Has the recruitment of internationals cost us our soul?

The evolution of corruption in college tennis in the last thirty years has a chronology somewhat like this:

  • Early 1970’s coaches begin to vote against limiting internationals.
  • Almost immediately teams with total foreign lineups appear.
  • They win.
  • People imitate the winners.
  • Coaches recruit borderline pros. Amateurism becomes an issue. No way to check. The issue is not policed.
  • Other coaches: Hmmm!
  • Championships, awards, “spoils of war” go to internationals. So does the scholarship money. Simulates the nuclear wars race: “You’ve got one. I’ll get two.”
  • Pro’s become commonplace on college teams.
  • Players on professional teams are recruited although in violation of the amateurism rule.
  • “Mid-year recruit” becomes the “way to go!”
  • Mid-years who don’t pan out are “subtlety fired.”
  • The “tennis rule” is penned.
  • Immediately internationals are advised to defer graduation by one course, play the circuit, take the remaining course, and “beat the tennis rule.”

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