Loop-hole lets older athletes compete

Matt GadSports Writer

International student-athletes are coming to the United States to compete in NCAA Division II athletics and are being granted full four-year eligibility.

These are top-notch amateur athletes who spend a few years playing professionally, or semi-professionally, and then they come here for four years of college and competition. Well, they are not here for the education, just the four years of NCAA eligibility.

At last month’s national championships for men’s and women’s indoor track and field and men’s and women’s swimming and diving, 20-year-olds were competing with opposing talent almost a full decade older than them, something both head track and field coach John Wallin and head swimming and diving coach Tim Quill find insane and unfair.

“The top two or three in every event is going to be a foreign athlete,” Wallin said. “At least that is what it seems like now.”

Wallin said there seems to be more foreign student athletes in the swimming and diving sector, he also said scholarships and other financial incentives may contribute to these programs bringing athletes like these on board.

The athletic department at Southern is unable to provide programs since the public school money needs to be divided up with a handful of schools, whereas other parts of the country may have less public schools in the area or get loaded with private colleges and universities and are able to form a completely be a dominating force.

This issue seems unfair since they are competing with much younger, and typically unexperienced talent. Quill said there are rules currently in place that simply allow this in Division II athletics.

“It is sad,” he said. “There are certain rules you apply to — 10 semesters, five years to complete four years of eligibility…but it is unfair and it is apples and oranges to put a 27-year-old up against our 20-year-olds.”

Quill said when he was at the championship meet, he was with a lot of people who do not see a problem with the rules that are in place, but he maintains the belief that the entire practice of these rule is simply ridiculous.

It is just as simple as you are reading it to be: these are unfair match-ups. Division II needs to get a committee together to study this issue. It is unfair to so many, especially the athletes in their proper age and class brackets who are getting their opportunities at top places, championships and All-American honors taken away by those who are older and only just came across the world to begin their NCAA careers.

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