Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
This is a story from a UCLA rowing newsletter that I receive.
Most people don't know, but a lot of the college rowers actually have never rowed before. There are few high schools with rowing programs, so they usually start out with no experience. Now, the collegiate rowing landscape is changing. The major rowing powers, like Cal, Washington and the Ivy Leagues, are finding it increasingly difficult to stay competitive by using only on-campus recruiting to field their teams. These schools now place a big emphasis on recruiting high school oarsmen, with particular emphasis on foreigh rowers, many of whom as incoming freshmen have already competed at the highest level of international competition. Because there is such high demand for high school oarsmen of this caliber, these schools make liberal use of scholarships to attract proven rowers. For example, the winners of the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA - rowing is not governed by the NCAA) in 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2007 did it with 7, 7, 5 and 4 "pro" rower imports.
This year our cross-town rivals, the University of Soul Corrupters, pulled off a feat that went beyond the absurdity of this practice.
Estonia won the Under-23 World Rowing Championship in 2007. In January of 2008, the U$C men's rowing alumni donated over $100,000 to bring to U$C six members of that world championship boat, together with two spares and their Estonian National Team Coach. These oarsmen were then enrolled in the English Language Program at U$C's Rossier School of Education). Through the grapevine (three middle-class and irrelevant alumni) one of their motives was to field a crew that could beat UCLA.
Their first race in 2008 was the San Diego Crew Classic, a major event with basically a Varsity division and a Club division (in which UCLA rows). U$C tried to enter their crew in the Varsity division, but the stewards of the Classic would not allow them, so they had to compete in the Open division which they won by over 4 boat lengths!
Furthermore, the U$C crew (whom I will now refer to as the Estrojans) was not allowed to race UCLA in a dual meet because they never received their eligibility from the Pac-10! So, at the end of May, the Estrojans went home...without having race in a single collegiate event!
Now, imagine being a senior at U$C, coming into your final season, thinking you can finally make the varsity boat, only to have the Estrojans take your place. Sure, other schools are doing it...but those rowers are enrolled as full-time students! My crew was beaten in 1994 by a Washington crew in which the rowers all pretty much sounded like Aahnold. No problem for me, as long as they're students. I mean, our own UCLA tennis team does this liberally. But, bright as they are, U$C didn't even bother making them eligible, or enroll them as full-time students! Brilliant! Their alumni raised about $500,000 for crew last year...and this is the scam they came up with!
Anyway, just a little story for you, about TrOJans sullying everything they touch. Just to let you know, by contrast, each UCLA oarsman must pay roughly $600/year in order to row, and the balance of the annual operating budget must come from donations. This is what is keeping the team alive, until hopefully some day they become a scholarship sport again. So, if you should feel so inclined, please follow this link to make a tax-deductible contribution! At least you know where it's going...