Silly NCAA Tennis Rule

*Disclaimer this is my personal space and doesn’t reflect the views, values, or beliefs of any college or colleague.

Here is another fun NCAA rule that just went into effect. There was a question if current student-athletes could be a coach during a tennis match. Note at the moment this is only a D1 rule and doesn’t apply to D2 or D3 (at least not yet)

1.  Rule I.N.3 “Who May Coach”  Specifically – Designating players as coaches.  NCAA has determined that this is in violation of NCAA By-Laws. 

NCAA Interpretation: Yes, staff agrees with the conference analysis that an individual may not assume the rolesof student-athlete and student assistant coach concurrently, therefore a student athlete may not bedesignated as a coach.

11.01.5 Coach, Student Assistant.[A] . A student assistant coach is any coach who is a student-athlete who has exhausted his or her eligibility in the sport or has become injured to the point that he or she is unable to practice or compete ever again, and who meets the following additional criteria: (Revised: 1/9/96, 1/12/04 effective 8/1/04, 3/10/04, 5/26/06, 8/11/09, 4/29/10 effective 8/1/10, 8/7/14, 1/15/16 effective 8/1/16)

  1. Is enrolled at the institution at which he or she most recently participated in intercollegiate athletics;
  2. Is enrolled as a full-time graduate student within his or her five-year period of eligibility (see Bylaw 12.8) or is enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student in his or her first baccalaureate degree program, except that during his or her final semester or quarter of the degree program, he or she may be enrolled in less than a full- time degree program of studies, provided he or she is carrying (for credit) the courses necessary to complete the degree requirements;
  3. Is receiving no compensation or remuneration for coaching duties from the institution other than the finan- cial aid that could be received as a student-athlete and expenses incurred on road trips that are received by individual team members; and
  4. evaluating prospective student-athletes off campus or scouting opponents campus and does not perform recruiting coordination functions (see Bylaw 11.7.2)

Funny thing about this bylaw is that student-athletes are allowed to act as coaches in “team sports”. For example in baseball/softball student-athletes can be the 3rd base coach. However the NCAA considers tennis an individual sport and it now as ruled that student-athletes can’t coach.

I think this is a bad rule. In tennis there are six matches going on at once. It simply isn’t possible for a single coach to be on all six courts at once. Further some facilities are split and it may not be possible to be in the same building as some of the student-athletes.

One thing I like doing is putting student-athletes on court to coach. By acting as coaches they are contributing to the team, they learn about the game, and it helps them become better players and more receptive to coaching when they are playing.

Also in D3 it is rare to have a full compliment of three coaches. Most often it is a single coach or if a team is lucky maybe an assistant coach. I don’t see anything wrong with having a player act as a coach.

Additionally at the NCAA D1 level this is going to create a situation where major programs will gain a significant competitive advantage. Not a lot of teams are able to travel with a head coach, assistant coach and a volunteer coach.

NCAA bad rule

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