TESTING AMATEURS

By Staff

Athletic Management, 17.6, October/November 2005, http://www.momentummedia.com/articles/am/am1706/wuamateurs.htm

The Baylor men’s tennis team has had phenomenal success recently with a roster dominated by foreign players. At the same time, the team has endured allegations from opposing coaches about whether all Bear athletes are truly amateurs. For the past three years, one week before the start of the NCAA Division I tournament, Baylor has been asked to respond to inquiries about its players’ pre-college competitive experiences.

Distracting disagreements about whether a player is a professional should die down beginning in the fall of 2006, however, when every freshman and transfer student who wishes to compete at an NCAA Division I or II school must be approved by the NCAA’s Amateurism Certification Clearinghouse instead of by the individual school. “Over the course of the last few years, our membership schools have expressed concern over how the status of amateur student-athletes is determined,” says Bill Saum, Director of Memberships Services and Amateurism Issues at the NCAA.

“One school may have deemed an individual to be an amateur, and another a professional,” says Ron Wellman, Athletic Director at Wake Forest University and NCAA Division I Management Council Chair. “The Clearinghouse will produce much more consistent results.”

Saum says the Clearinghouse staff is set to begin taking applicants in early January. All applicants will fill out an Internet-based questionnaire, and certain answers will trigger a series of more specific questions, such as whether the applicant has ever competed against professionals, signed a contract, or if any of their teammates received money for competing.

“We intend to trust the registrant,” says Saum. “But if people are less than truthful, our staff has a good base-knowledge of both domestic and international professional teams, and we intend to learn even more.”

For more information on the Amateurism Certification Clearinghouse, visit: www1.ncaa.org/membership/ach/index.