At end of April, the majority of our athletes on scholarship in the United States are entering the home stretch of the season, i.e. the conference tournaments. As in every knockout competition, major powerhouses are more vulnerable to being ousted by theoretically inferior opposition. The big fish seek to reassert their dominance and gain momentum toward the national tournaments, whereas smaller schools aim to string together several strong performances that get them an automatic bid to the NCAA or NAIA tournaments.

However, not every university is eligible to participate in these conference tourneys year in and year out. In this week’s entry of the VT Sports blog we will look into the potential causes.

  1. Compliance wrongdoings or poor academic level

Greed has led many programs throughout collegiate sports history to use administrative doping in order to gain an edge over their conference foes. For instance, in 2012, the Pepperdine Waves, one of the premier tennis programs on the West Coast, self-imposed a one-year postseason ban and a 25% scholarship reduction after detecting anomalies between 2007 and 2011. According to the investigation, the Malibu-based school failed to comply with the NCAA financial aid limit to across five sports.

In 2013, the UConn’s men’s basketball team was deemed ineligible to compete in postseason for failing to meet the NCAA academic standards.

The Death Penalty imposed to Southern Methodist University’s football program midway through the 80s was arguably the most severe sanction ever enforced. When it was discovered the Mustangs had been paying both players and potential recruits for a decade, the 1987 campaign was cancelled altogether and the 1988 home games were eliminated from the schedule. Formerly a national juggernaut, SMU has been unable to regain its status, having won merely a fourth of the games played since.

  1. The conference does not invite all members to the tournament

On Thursday, April 27, our athlete Jesús Tapiador (Santa Clara University) will play the quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference 2017 Tennis Championship against Brigham Young University at the Biszantz Tennis Center.

Starting last year, the WCC only allows the top six programs in the regular season standings to participate in the tournament. This way, Portland, Pepperdine, Santa Clara, Brigham Young, San Francisco and San Diego will fight for the crown this weekend in the L.A. metropolitan area. On the other hand, Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s, Pacific and Loyola Marymount have concluded their seasons.

Best of luck to Jesús!

  1. The university is transitioning between NAIA and NCAA

Fellow Spaniard Álvaro Terrón has put together a superb freshman season at Auburn University at Montgomery. The León-native won 31 out of 37 matches overall. Nevertheless, he won’t get a taste of postseason play this year. Back in 2013, the Warhawks decided to begin a process to switch from NAIA to NCAA Division II. Such transformation is divided in three stages, which as a whole last at least three years. According to this statement issued by AUM, the institution is set to become a full-time member of the Gulf South Conference as early as in the upcoming 2017/18 season. Notwithstanding, per the GSC’s official website, Auburn’s transition process won’t be completed until the 2019/20 campaign. It’s up to the GSC membership committee to determine whether the Warhawks have made sufficient progress or not.

Text: Pablo Mosquera

2017-04-26T14:13:51+00:00