THE SIZE OF THE ELEPHANT ON THE COURT (127)H.

There are some new terms floating around on the American college/university sports scene. Two that are linked are “The autonomy movement” and “The Power Five”. Perhaps a clarification is in order. Boiled down in simple terms, these will mean money is now in charge of college sports. Who knows how it will all unfold. Speaking for my sport, tennis, and others non-revenue sports, (aka everything other than football and men’s basketball) this may not be all bad. Here is another disguised new term: “Preferred Walk-on”. Simple definition? “We prefer not to give you a scholarship”! Or, “does not play”. Rare exceptions granted, those six to seven guys at the end of the bench don’t play much basketball, and get less money than that playing time. The same is true in college tennis. The money goes to the top six or seven players. And more to the one player than the sixth. Stated simply again, the aid flows to the top of the lineup. At the end of this article there is a link to recent column from the New York Times. It professes a commitment on the part of the USTA to college tennis. What is not included in the column is the enormity of American college tennis scholarship aid given to international players. Though I am somewhat encouraged by the mood today, it is late in coming and almost surely related to the abysmal lack of top pro Americans. This, in turn, affects the whole health of the game of tennis in the USA. I have fought this imbalance since 1970. Look the recent blog articles and the books I have written. But I’m about “out of gas”. I am firing me last bullets. And I write this hoping some younger tennis enthusiasts will jump in the fray. It ain’t easy. But youth is a great advantage. AND TECHNOLOGY. My sons say I’m on the other side of the digital divide. But I’m savvy enough to know the data is there to expose just how rampant the discrepancy is. The college season is drawing to a close for 2014/2015. All divisions (NCAA 1,2,3 and JUNIOR COLLEGES, and the NAIA) have playoffs with a conference, then regional, then national tournament. Here are some technology available data worth examining: 1. Remember the “preferred walk-ons of tennis (most often Americans) get little aid. Therefore when examining the percentage of aid given to internationals check school websites for hometowns of the top six people that play in “big matches”. Example: Four of the top six are international? 2/3 of the aid goes to those guys! 2. What are those percentages for the top ten teams in all divisions. Want a real shocker? Check that stat for the last ten years. Women too. 3. What are those percentages for the conference, then, regional, then national winners. The higher you go, the higher the percentage. Betcha so! 4. Here is another kicker: Conference,Regional, and National tournaments will have awards (team champs, runner-up, all-conference, all-regional, all american, mvp, freshman of the year. Check where these hail from. Americans rarely are on those lists There is a lot to be learned. I don’t have any skin in the game now. Just a love for the game and our kids. Hoping for a “worker-bee” disciple. LET ME KNOW AND GOOD LUCK. nytdirect@nytimes.com (REMEMBER TO CHECK THIS)

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