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GCAA and NGCA Respond to Possible NCAA Legislation
Legislation could affect collegiate golf playing and practice time.

Nov. 15, 2002

NORMAN, Okla. - The Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) and National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA), in response to possible legislation by the NCAA Playing and Practice Committee, has conducted a survey of its Division I coaches and student-athletes. The legislation proposed by the NCAA could lead to the elimination of the fall collegiate golf season and would limit the playing and practice time of NCAA student-athletes. The responses to these surveys, by both coaches and collegiate golfers, were strongly opposed to the any reductions with regards to practice and playing time. These results, along with copies of the 1,753 individual student-athlete surveys have been forwarded to the NCAA.

"We are pleased with the amount of response by our members and the student-athletes, who would be most affected by any possible legislation," said GCAA Executive Director Gregg Grost. "Obviously, our coaches feel that the current rules in place are working as is indicated by the success both in the classroom and on the playing fields college golf is now enjoying. More importantly, however, is the overwhelming reaction by the young people who actually participate in college golf today."

"We are thrilled by the number of responses that we have received from the membership of the NGCA and feel strongly about the outcry from our coaches that college golf is doing fine right now and doesn't need any changes," added Roger Yaffe, Executive Director of the NGCA.

Traditionally, collegiate golfers maintain among the highest grade-point averages and graduation rates on their respective campuses.

"Given the mission statement provided by the NCAA subcommittee regarding the purpose of this possible legislation, it seems obvious that student-athletes in the sport of college golf do not believe current time demands are excessive," further stated Grost. "We can only hope that the NCAA Board of Directors Task Force and its subcommittee on playing and practice seasons will actually take into consideration the input from the student-athletes it is trying to help."

Both men's and women's Division I collegiate golf coaches were strongly against a reduction of the collegiate golf season with 83 percent of the men's coaches and 76.71 percent of the women's coaches either disagreeing or strongly disagreeing. Student-athletes took and even stronger stance with 90 percent of men's collegiate golfers and 79.73 percent of women's collegiate golfers disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with the reduction. When asked about the reduction or elimination of fall golf competition, 99 percent of the male student-athletes were against elimination with 91 percent disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with the reduction of the fall season. Among female student-athletes 97.18 percent were against the elimination of the fall season and 83.54 percent were against its reduction. Furthermore, both coaches and student-athletes either disagreed or strongly disagreed to the reduction or elimination of out-of-season, during academic year, weight training and conditioning, summer weight training and conditioning, and foreign tours.

Several former collegiate golfers and PGA TOUR professionals have also voiced their concerns over the potential of the possible reduction of the playing and practice season.

"It's wrong to penalize college golfers due to the shortcomings of other sports," said former University of Texas national champion and seven-time PGA TOUR winner Justin Leonard. "The graduation rates and grade-point averages of college golfers are among the best of all sports. There is nothing that needs to be fixed here. Other sports should try and emulate golf."

"My golf experience was enhanced by the team atmosphere of my college years," stated Jay Haas a nine-time winner on TOUR and former Wake Forest All-American Jay Haas. "My two sons now play college golf, and they have the chance to take part in the activities of campus life as non-athlete students do. Taking away the fall portion of the golf tournament season would cause many players to either bypass college entirely, or participate in tournaments away from their college location, which would further isolate them from campus life. Based on our experiences, I don't think that a change is necessary."

"The northern schools have become very competitive with the rest of the regions in collegiate golf and would basically have a five to six week season with very little practice time because of the sporadic weather in the spring," said John Cook, former Ohio State All-American and winner of 11 TOUR events.