News & ToursNovember 10, 2011

The Syllabus: What happened to recruiting reform?

__THE FAB FIVE

____My look at the top five teams in the country right now

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Men

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1.____Texas (Last week: 1)

Provided it retains the top spot in the final Golf World/Nike Golf men's coaches' poll when it comes out later this month (which is a moderately safe assumption given the end of the fall calendar) the Longhorns will carry the No. 1 ranking over during the winter break. That will mean they will have held the the top-spot longer (in terms of calendar months) than any other men's program outside of Oklahoma State since Georgia in 2008-09

Next event: Fall season over

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2. Oregon (2)

The Ducks have a tendency of having players with low scoring averages but with four guys posting 71.33 or better (Eugene Wong, 68.5;Daniel Miernicki, 70.08;Rak Cho, 70.75;Andrew Vijarro, 71.33) you've got to respect this groups ability to go low. It will serve them well in the spring.

Next event: Fall season over

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3. Arkansas (3)

The first and last time the Razorbacks won an SEC title was 1995. It's not the longest drought of any school in the conference, but 16 years is long enough for many to fans of Brad McMakin's squad who rightfully believe this year's team has the goods to bring home title No. 2.

Next event: Fall season over

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__4. UCLA __(4)

I've been accused by some of having a crush on a certain UCLA golfer. Thus, I promise not to mentioning the sophomore whose initials are __P.C.__in this blurb. Ultimately, experience and depth are the Bruins' two biggest assets. The best thing for this group might be how competitive the Pac-12 conference looks to be this year. Facing lots of tough rivals throughout the spring and into the conference championship will only make Derek Freeman's squad that must tougher in the long run.

Next event: Fall season over

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5. Washington (5)

Under coach Matt Thurmond, the Huskies have had a knack for playing well in the spring, building momentum toward the postseason. No reason to think that this year will be any different, particularly with__Chris Williams__ and Cheng-Tsung Pan leading the charge.

Next event: Fall season over

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Women__

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__1. UCLA __(1)

Sometimes stats are deceiving, but I find these ones interesting. The Bruins' individual adjusted stroke average is 71.78, more than a half-stroke lower than the next best school. Meanwhile, their average drop score is 75.18, more than 1.5 strokes lower than the next best school. In fact, their average drop school is within one stroke of the individual stroke averages of five teams in the Golfstat top 25.

Next event: Fall season over

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__2. Alabama __(2)

Four players posted top-10 finishes this fall and three had top-two finishes with Stephanie Meadow winning at the SEC/Pac-12 Challenge, Jennifer Kirby losing a playoff at the NCAA Fall Preview and Brooke Pancake finish T-2 at the Tar Heel. In other words, this is a balanced squad that isn't afraid to go out and contend for titles. Got to like a group like that.

*Next event: *Fall season over

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__3. Auburn __(3)

I watched the ESPN documentary Roll Tide/War Eagle about the Alabama/Auburn football rivalry earlier this week. Got me thinking that the men's and women's golf teams for the two schools are all nationally ranked and highly competitive. Wouldn't it be cool if they played a head-to-head match play event against each other the Friday before the Iron Bowl?

Next event: Fall season over

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4. Oklahoma State (4)

When was the last time the OSU women's program was ranked higher than the men's program in the Golf World coaches' polls since they were revived in 2001-02? Try May 2003, when the women were No. 4 and the men No. 5. Currently, the Cowgirls are No. 6 while the Cowboys are No. 11.

Next event: Fall season over

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__5. LSU __(5)

Two wins. Two finishes outside the top 10. Shows the potential the Tigers have and the work that's still needed to be in the hunt come the postseason. As a side note, among the things on my list for Santa Claus this year is a pair of sunglasses like Austin Ernst. Of course, I couldn't pull off the day-glow yellow frames quite like the defending NCAA champion, but I'd look like a winner, wouldn't I?

*Next event: *Fall season over

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STAT OF THE WEEK, Part I__

__2

__Number of 54-hole sub-par scores posted by individuals on the Augusta State men's team in their four tournaments this fall (out of 21 played overall). Derek Chang and Taylor Floyd shot two-under 211s at the Royal Oaks Invitational to become the only members of the two-time defending NCAA champions to be in the red. Of the 63 individual rounds played by Jaguar golfers this fall, only seven were under par, all coming at the Royal Oaks tourney.

STAT OF THE WEEK, Part II

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__Number of times that Texas and Oregon men's teams will be playing in the same tournament this spring. The Longhorns and Ducks both are scheduled to compete at the Amer Ari Invitational in Hawaii in February and the Western Intercollegiate in April. They did not play in any of the same events this past fall.

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TWEET OF THE WEEK

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—Alabama senior Brooke Pancake

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RANDOM THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

__Whose PR person would you least want to be right about now:Herman Cain,Conrad Murray or Penn State University?

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WHAT TO WATCH FOR

__[#image: /photos/55ad74c3add713143b425ed2]|||Samantha Marks signing NLI.jpg|||

  • The early period for high school seniors to sign national letters of intent with schools to play golf (along with the majority of other college sports) began yesterday and runs through Nov. 16. What it might have lacked in suspense (most of the top players had announced their verbal commitments long ago) it made up for in hoopla (for a fun look at signing day, check out the AJGA's micro-site.)

It's nice to see these teenage boys and girls get to bask in the glow of signing for a college scholarship (like Samantha Marks from Maitland, Fla., who started things early by signing her NLI to go to North Carolina at 7:01 a.m. yesterday; photo courtesy of the Marks family). After all, it is the culmination of a long and hard journey for many who have put in hour upon hour of practice to achieve this end. Hopefully, that isn't lost upon all of us, from jaded reporters to grizzles coaches. This is the day many of these prospective student athletes have been looking toward for much of their young lives. Congrats to them all.

Meanwhile, it would appear that the present system of recruiting will remain in place for the foreseeable future, which is surprising to many given the clamor the NCAA created this time last year over recruiting and the need to make the process more streamlined for all sports.

Recall in October 2010, the NCAA Division I Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Cabinet wrote a letter to coaches associations in several sports with a letter that expressed their desire to bring all sports under "the same general recruiting model." The letter requested that the associations submit proposals that would spell out "appropriate parameters" for the potential implementation of a recruiting calendar  The subsequent work by many of these organizations, including the Golf Coaches Association of America and the National Golf Coaches Association, to come up with a plan (here is my story from last year on what the GCAA and NGCA voted to submit to the NCAA) to meet the December deadline created a chaotic period and led to some heated debate over what was in the best interest of college golf.

Apparently, though, it was much ado about nothing. Not long after the GCAA and NGCA sent along their proposals, the NCAA sent a letter that said that the matter was being tabled for the time being. Coaches associations were free to submit their plans to the NCAA to have them voted on among the other yearly proposals review in the standard legislative process, but that if they did not act on them and maintained the status quo, there would be no repercussions. Without the NCAA mandating change or the threat of the NCAA making its own unilateral recruiting calendar, the GCAA and NGCA decided to proceed as if the whole thing never happened.

It's an outcome that shocked the coaches associations (as well as a few journalists), many of whom were led to believe by some high placed people at the NCAA that change was imminent.

Perhaps I was fooled into believing the NCAA was serious on this issue a year ago, but at the risk of sounding like the boy who cried wolf, I'd caution everyone from thinking that this matter is done and dusted. It's the understanding of Gregg Grost, GCAA CEO, that the NCAA's current inaction shouldn't be interpreted as the matter being dead. More likely in a coma. Given the rash of other issues that the NCAA has been attempting to address, the idea of a recruiting calendar would seem to be a low priority for the near-term but don't be shocked if it surfaces again down the road. We should all know by now that the NCAA is nothing if not unpredictable.

  • Got some interesting feedback last week regarding my item on the crowded race for Pac-12 men's player of the year honors. Most people appreciated that having 12 golfers in the conference that had either won an individual title or had posted a 71.0 or lower stroke average appeared to be a large number for a single league, but wanted a little more context to see just how different the Pac-12 might be from other major conferences. So I spent a little time trying to crunch the number for the other marquee golf conferences to offer a basis of comparison. As I suspected, the Pac-12 has a clear lead on the rest of the college golf world.

ACC: 5

Corbin Mills, Clemson (win/sub 71.0 avg.); Julian Suri, Duke (win); Brooks Koepka, Florida State (win/avg.); Mark McMillen, N.C. State (win); Albin Choi, N.C. State (win)

Big Ten: 5

Thomas Pieters, Illinois (win); Luke Guthrie, Illinois (win/sub 71.0 avg.); Chris Brant, Iowa (win); Matt Thompson, Michigan (win); Alex Redfield, Ohio State (win)

__Big 12: 8

Jace Long__, Missouri (win); Emilo Cuartero, Missouri (win); Jordan Spieth, Texas (win/avg.); Dylan Frittelli, Texas (avg.); Johannes Veerman, Texas A&M (win); Clement Sordet, Texas Tech (win); Nate McCoy, Iowa State (win); Scott Fernandez, Iowa State (win)

__SEC: 6

Justin Thomas__, Alabama (win); Sebastian Cappelen, Arkansas (win); Dominic Bozzelli, Auburn (win); T.J. Mitchell, Georgia (win); Bryden Macpherson, Georgia (avg.); Joe David, Mississippi (avg.)

  • The field has been set for the Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic, to be held later at El Paso (Texas) CC Nov. 21-22. The field has seven of the top 11 amateurs in the latest World Amateur Golf Ranking. Interestingly Texas freshman Jordan Spieth was invited to compete, unusual considering invitations have usually been reserved for players who have previously earned college All-American honors.

Abraham Ancer, Oklahoma

Todd Baek, San Diego State

Even Beck, Wake Forest

Lee Bedford, Wake Forest

Chris Brant, Iowa

Sebastian Cappelen, Arkansas

Alex Carpenter, Abilene Christian

Alex Ching, San Diego (defending champion)

Albin Choi, N.C. State

Austin Cook, Arkansas

Dylan Frittelli, Texas

Luke Guthrie, Illinois

Matt Hansen, UC Davis

Hunter Hamrick, Alabama

Jeff Karlsson, Kennesaw State

Ben Kohles, Virginia

Jace Long, Missouri

Alex Moore, Oregon State

Brinson Paolini, Duke

Cameron Peck, Texas A&M

Jordan Russell, Texas A&M

J.J. Spaun, San Diego State

Jordan Spieth, Texas

James White, Georgia Tech

Cory Whitsett, Alabama

Pontus Widegren, UCLA

Chris Williams, Washington

Andrew Yun, Stanford

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