Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete


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Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby decafan » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:07 pm

This weekend, Nebraska-Omaha's Sami Spenner scored 4406 points at the University of Northern Iowa's Jack Jennett Invitational. Add approximately 22 points to that total for the NCAA 800m conversion (the UNI-Dome is a 200m flat track) and she sits around 4428 on the NCAA descending order list. This puts her in front of the nearest competitor (Kendell Williams of Georgia) by over 120 points (4302). Neb-Omaha is currently sitting out of the NCAA Championships for four years because of their D-1 reclassification. It seems crazy to me that one of the best collegiate pentathletes of all time will never get to contend for an NCAA title just because her school made the jump to D-1.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby 18.99s » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:23 pm

A school has to sit out championships for 4 years when they change to D1? That doesn't make sense. There must be more to it than that, such as them being penalized for violating a D1 rule.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby decafan » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:37 pm

18.99s wrote:A school has to sit out championships for 4 years when they change to D1? That doesn't make sense. There must be more to it than that, such as them being penalized for violating a D1 rule.


No, it's just an NCAA rule for reclassifying institutions. Here is a story link about Sami's situation from last spring in Omaha.com:

http://dataomaha.com/documents/highly-r ... r-ncaa-bar
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby gh » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:42 pm

UC Davis went through the same thing a couple of years back.

There might even have been a rump Nationals, with 4-5 schools in the same boat.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby ATK » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:42 pm

18.99s wrote:A school has to sit out championships for 4 years when they change to D1? That doesn't make sense. There must be more to it than that, such as them being penalized for violating a D1 rule.

Yea that seems way too extreme of a penalty. Anyone know the specific rules on this?
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby unclezadok » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:17 pm

Is there some rationale for this rule or would that be too much to ask of the NCAA?
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby JumboElliott » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:48 pm

I'm sure they don't want reclassification to be a decision made on a whim.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby gh » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:58 pm

the linked story explains the rationale prett well:

<<... NCAA leaders wanted to slow the flood of schools moving to Division I. And they wanted to ensure that new members met a range of rigorous standards, including academic and Title IX compliance…..>>
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby AS » Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:05 pm

Seems very counter-intuitive. They can't compete in EITHER Div 1 or 2 for the period?? Surely that damages programs immensely.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby gh » Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:25 pm

to me, it's a classic example of ball-sport excesses punishing athletes in "individual" sports like track.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby Master Po » Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:22 am

I suppose there is no point in adding another "this makes little, if any, sense" comment, but oh well...

Whatever those 'rigorous' standards are for transition from D2 to D1, it seems that the process should be (a) straightforward, and (b) not involve some sort of penalty, as if the institution did something wrong. If your school meet the 'rigorous' standards, you move to D1; if not, you stay where you are. The logic -- I know that's a high expectation for NCAA -- of "you meet the standards, and you'll get to move, but your athletes should be penalized for a few years just because you pursued this entirely legitimate course of action" still eludes me (other than what gh said -- meant to discourage schools from moving -- but still a dumb way to do it --oh well...).
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby gm » Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:48 am

Having been involved more than I ever wanted to be in a transition process, it actually makes perfect sense. Yes, it penalizes the athletes currently enrolled, but who says those athletes met NCAA 1 standards when they were recruited and started at the school?

There are a myriad of administrative things that have to change at a school to achieve compliance, and it cannot be done in a short period.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby dl » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:57 am

gh wrote:to me, it's a classic example of ball-sport excesses punishing athletes in "individual" sports like track.


Exactly.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby AS » Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:13 pm

gm wrote:There are a myriad of administrative things that have to change at a school to achieve compliance, and it cannot be done in a short period.


But I'm still unclear why, during the time taken to meet these requirements, athletes/schools do not continue to compete at the D2 level?

Is the assumption that such teams have a recruiting advantage (i.e. their 'new' athletes have joined because of the promise of eventual D1 status)?
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby ATK » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:00 pm

gm wrote:Having been involved more than I ever wanted to be in a transition process, it actually makes perfect sense. Yes, it penalizes the athletes currently enrolled, but who says those athletes met NCAA 1 standards when they were recruited and started at the school?

There are a myriad of administrative things that have to change at a school to achieve compliance, and it cannot be done in a short period.

But if the school was planning on moving to D1 wouldn't they recruit in preparation for that? Also if the rule is in place to ensure that the schools meet D1 standards across the board, why recruit below what standards they need to be at?
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby lonewolf » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:03 pm

I suspect recruiting D1 talent before you are actually D1 is difficult...maybe in the last year before moving up but.. otherwise athletes are using up their elibibility in the minors.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby polevaultpower » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:55 pm

Wasn't it 2 years before? 4 years is harsh, it means freshmen have 4 years of no Championships.

But hopefully the athlete in question knew that before signing with that school? :/
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby gm » Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:41 pm

The NCAA tried to move it to seven years (7!) but that was sued away, IIRC.

To be fair, Spenner transferred to UNO from Wayne State after her freshman fall semester and has developed incredibly well at UNO. She was primarily a volleyball player in high school, with some decent track and field marks.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby Bruce Kritzler » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:58 pm

d1 and d2 rules are different - Initial Eligibility(NCAA Clearinghouse), Number of scholarships, Football schools are required to have stadium seating minimum(think it's 35k), Compliance rules vary - So it probably takes 4 yrs. to make all the adjustments.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby polevaultpower » Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:54 pm

Bruce Kritzler wrote:d1 and d2 rules are different - Initial Eligibility(NCAA Clearinghouse), Number of scholarships, Football schools are required to have stadium seating minimum(think it's 35k), Compliance rules vary - So it probably takes 4 yrs. to make all the adjustments.


They start making the adjustments well before the period of ineligibility starts. I used to coach at a school that went DII to DI. You get your ducks in a row first, then sit out a few years, then you are full DI, as I recall (I moved away before they were too far along in the process).

The ineligibility period is something arbitrary set by the NCAA to deter schools from moving up. As someone else stated, a LOT of schools have been moving up, so I guess they wanted to deter more schools.

Now if only the NAIA could figure out how to retain schools :(
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby 18.99s » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:23 am

One would think there are better ways of slowing down the flood of schools wanting to switch to D1. For example, a rule that says no more than X schools per year can switch. If more than X schools apply to change, select the top X based on some mix of sporting and academic criteria.

The administration and evaluation might require applying 4 years in advance of the actual switch, but let them compete in D2 while they wait.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby JumboElliott » Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:56 pm

That wouldn't be fair for the other division two schools, because the school would be recruiting superior athletes on the promise that they'll be competing in division one.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby AS » Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:54 pm

An alternative solution in track and field: why not let individuals from such schools still compete at Div 2 champs (or even Div 1 if deemed eligible) but exclude school from team eligibility?

(i.e. in an 'at large' capacity)
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby polevaultpower » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:08 pm

AS wrote:An alternative solution in track and field: why not let individuals from such schools still compete at Div 2 champs (or even Div 1 if deemed eligible) but exclude school from team eligibility?

(i.e. in an 'at large' capacity)


Because then you have to leave home kids from scoring schools, and that kid who barely qualifies to Nationals could end up scoring points for their team. Also you have issues with finals in many events.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby MJR » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:36 pm

At least the NCAA contests the event and allows support of athletes who want to compete in it.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby polevaultpower » Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:29 pm

MJR wrote:At least the NCAA contests the event and allows support of athletes who want to compete in it.



^^ bitter race walker, in case anyone missed it ;)
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby gh » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:35 pm

see Spenner story, in her own words, now on the front page.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby bambam » Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:30 am

Jay Bilas just tweeted about this and linked to the TAFNews website
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby gh » Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:36 am

I must be out of touch (or don't watch enough hoops). Had to google Jay Bilas.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby polevaultpower » Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:45 am

I totally feel for this athlete. I would love to see her compete at NCAAs. And really, it's not like her school is going to have a bunch of athletes there.

But I don't know how the NCAA can grant her any kind of waiver to compete, without doing so for ALL schools in a similar situation.

That's not the worst idea in the world, those school typically do not have many athletes qualifying for NCAAs, so the impact would likely be small. It's easy enough in the indoor pent, you could just add an extra athlete to the field and tell her school to pay her way, but what happens in a few years when some school has a top sprinter? Do you let them take up a lane in finals?

I'm sure a solution could be arranged, but I can understand why the NCAA doesn't want to make an exception. But I think the entire concept of a school having to sit out 4 years is stupid. If the NCAA doesn't want schools to move up, then just deny them, don't make the athletes suffer.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby gh » Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:50 am

polevaultpower wrote:I….
But I don't know how the NCAA can grant her any kind of waiver to compete, without doing so for ALL schools in a similar situation....


I think that's the disconnect: making this about schools rather than about athletes. I think they can/should review on a by-athlete basis, and Spenner's academic circumstances, I would posit, demand that she be treated differently than everybody else. Doesn't mean there aren't others who don't deserve the same, but this one-size-fits-all mentality is cruel & unusual punishment.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby JumboElliott » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:04 am

bambam wrote:Jay Bilas just tweeted about this and linked to the TAFNews website

I used to count myself as a big Jay Bilas fan, but now all he does is bloviate about the NCAA and officials, and it's been a real turnoff.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby JumboElliott » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:13 am

I'm sorry, but she knew the score when she got into this. She should be lucky that she didn't go play at UNO for a couple years and then get her sport dropped like what happened to their football players.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby aaronk » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:19 am

I'm taking a hard-line view on this.....as I do most things!! :evil:

I say this to the NCAA bigwigs (or lard-asses----choose one!):

Let Sami compete or
have all T&F competitors and teams....

BOYCOTT the 2014 NCAA Championships!!

This is a SHAMEFUL and COWARDLY and plain old STUPID act on the part of the NCAA!!!

Let her in, damn it!!!!!
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby gm » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:29 am

gh wrote:
polevaultpower wrote:I….
But I don't know how the NCAA can grant her any kind of waiver to compete, without doing so for ALL schools in a similar situation....


Spenner's academic circumstances, I would posit, demand that she be treated differently than everybody else.


There aren't any other "exercise science" programs in the NCAA? I read through the UNO catalog and it didn't jump out at me as anything particularly exclusive/different.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby gh » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:35 am

the other part of that equation is that she had a full ride: she's supposed to hope she can find a school with her chosen major that's going to offer her that? That ups the ante.

To say nothing of the problem one frequently seems to have in transferring schools: getting full credit for courses already taken.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby polevaultpower » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:42 am

There is some merit to gh's point. I attended three universities. I transferred to the third after seven semesters at the other two schools.

Transferring sucks. If you transfer out of the state (or to a private school), you end up needing totally different general education requirements.

I did two years at University of Florida, took pretty much all gen-ed stuff. When I transferred to University of Georgia, I needed a whole additional semester of gen-eds. My anatomy and physiology classes were not considered core sciences, because they weren't on some stupid list, so I had to take a class on weather and a class on computer programming. I also had to take an additional history class, an additional writing class, and political science.

When I transferred to Lindenwood, having been a semester and some change away from graduation at Georgia, I suddenly needed another semester of gen-ed classes. I had to take two literature classes, a religion class, and another history class. They were going to make me take a foreign language class, some appeal I made was denied, but the staff turnover there was such that I was able to appeal again to some new person and got that granted. I also was supposed to take some intro to Economics class, because the more advance Macroeconomics class that I had taken did not cover Micro, and if I took Micro, those two classes would combine to meet that one requirement, and then I would still need one more business elective, so I ended up working out a deal with the head of the department where I independently studied Micro, took and passed the final, and he waived the requirement.

Anyway, that's a long way of saying that transferring this late in her college career would likely be a real PITA for Spenner, academically. Even if other schools offer great exercise science programs, you end up with all kinds of weird BS like I described above, and believe me, that is just scratching the surface as far as the academic bullshit I went through at Lindenwood...
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby polevaultpower » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:49 am

I never had problems getting credit for my classes already taken, largely because all three schools were on the semester system. If you try to transfer between schools when one school is on quarters and one on semesters, it gets trickier, you often do lose credits.

Also, different schools line up their classes differently. For example, at Florida, I took Human Anatomy with lab, and Human Physiology with lab. At Georgia and Lindenwood, they did A&P 1 and A&P 2. Fortunately, since I took BOTH classes, I was able to get credit for A&P 1 and 2, but had I only taken Anatomy or only taken Physiology, I would have been screwed in a transfer.

I also got lucky, I took some honors writing class at Florida called "Writing and Love" where I remember watching movies about Gandhi, Ali and learning about the Zone Diet. Fortunately, Georgia and Lindenwood accepted that in lieu of English Composition 1.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby bambam » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:11 am

gh wrote:I must be out of touch (or don't watch enough hoops). Had to google Jay Bilas.


In addition to being a former Duke hoopster and ESPN basketball television analyst, he has been very outspoken about his dislike of the NCAA and the way they treat athletes.
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Re: Best Pentathlete in NCAA Can't Compete

Postby decafan » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:39 am

JumboElliott wrote:I'm sorry, but she knew the score when she got into this. She should be lucky that she didn't go play at UNO for a couple years and then get her sport dropped like what happened to their football players.


Very compassionate response. Cold and offensive. And why do you think she knew the score? You believe she could have predicted that she would take on a new event and become one of the best in America? Or can we maybe assume this was a very happy surprise for her and her coaches.
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