Saturday, May 05, 2007

Radcliffe Frosh Get Their Due; UCF, Not So Much

The Harvard Crimson published an article on the Radcliffe freshman light eight. It's a nice story with a couple of interesting points - the boat is comprised of all [six] recruits [a reader notes the article got this wrong], keeping the boat together is part of the Radcliffe way, and only one rower from the varsity eight graduates this year.

I think it's pretty significant that Radcliffe was able to bring in eight recruits this year. It obviously bodes well for the future of the program. When these freshmen mix in with the varsity next year, most of whom return, a pretty fast boat should result.

UCF, meanwhile, published a presser on the women's rowing team. In this case, however, it's really the heavyweight women's rowing team. It's a nice story about the recognition they're getting this year, but never mentions the lightweights. Not a problem if it wasn't for the fact that the heavies are treated as the whole team.

This story leads to the dark underside of the NCAA's involvement with rowing - the distorted boat priorities. Several of last year's fast lightweights have been brought into the heavyweight group. I haven't followed the heavies, but I believe one or two lights have been in the 1V. One might think that the others, who are spending time in the 2V or lower, would get released back to the lights to make a run at a national championship at IRAs. Thanks to the NCAA championship format, however, the program is forced to prioritize the heavy 2V above the light 1V, keeping the lightweight rowers out of the lightweight boat. Maybe you're thinking that it won't be a problem for IRAs since the heavies' season will be over by then? Sorry, if UCF heavies go to NCAAs, as it looks like they will, by NCAA rules those rowers who attend will not be allowed to race in another championship. It's sad to see a boat that had a real chance at challenging for a medal at IRAs torn apart simply to fill out a 2V so UCF can bring an entire team to NCAAs.

Just another example of how the NCAA works for the good of all female college athletes.


Anonymous said...

The article inaccurately states that they all are recruits. 6 of the 8 were recruited.

Anonymous said...

they are all experienced though.

Anonymous said...

the Radcliffe way? Interesting. Didnt the black and white have a frosh in the stroke seat for the majority of last spring?

JW Burk said...

They certainly did. I should've qualified that statement with the "new" Radcliffe way. I'm not being cynical, it does sound like they've re-thought how to manage the novices.

Anonymous said...

It mentioned in that article that lightweight rowing usally doesnt have that many recruits...I'm pretty sure Wisco has at least 8 coming in next year, plus a cox.