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Old 11-13-2012, 01:09 PM   #6
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 150

Try and work with your coach about getting a redshirt. There are, of course, a lot of rules in place for that and they sometimes depend on your division. FORTUNATELY you're not dealing with an injury or surgery, so that saves a lot of messy work for everyone! ---> Each sport has different rules in determining if you're granted a medical redshirt. Believe it or not, even if you have a season-ending injury or major surgery you can still be denied a medical redshirt! It comes down to crazy fine print and "legal-eese" sometimes. Things like number of games/matches/events you've played, if you've started, how far into the season, number of practices, number of matches completed in a percentage relation to the length of the season [i.e. you may have only played 4 matches but be more than halfway through the season], and in some cases it can even come down to the number of minutes you've played. Confused yet? It gets better. On top of that, you have to make sure your coaches, athletic trainers, doctors, surgeons, athletic directors, etc. are actually familiar with not only the redshirt petitioning procedure, but your specific sport. That also requires *you* to be aware of these things and keep everyone on track and sometimes hound them. Documentation and filing periods are essential! But, that a whole other can of worms. And I'm not even going to get into the NCAA policies for what qualify as "pre-existing" or "same/new" injury diagnoses.

But like I said, fortunately this isn't your case. You know ahead of time and therefore have time to prepare this. Also, if you talk and check with your compliance director, you may not even have to redshirt since everyone is allowed the 8/10 semester rule. (Well, there are sport specifics once again - but that's the gist of it.) Of course that would require 4.5 - 5 years for you. So I guess it's up to you to evaluate how important tennis is to you in that regard. Also keep in mind that it is very possible to play tennis while you're in graduate school, pending eligibility. So that 5th or extra semester doesn't have to be a "waste" just for sports. Work with your coach, academic advisor, athletic director, and most importantly with whomever is in charge of the NCAA compliance policies and procedures.

I know nothing about you other than you're a sophomore tennis player at a D3 school who only speaks English and wants to study abroad next fall. Soooo it's kind of hard for me to make judgements and give real advice in that context. But in a weird way the vagueness also makes it easier... if that makes sense.
My input: Ask yourself how important tennis is vs. your education and get an honest answer. I'm making an assumption so forgive me if I'm wrong (but I'm only adding it to try and help you): based on your user name you're a guy. So your NCAA season is spring. Therefore studying abroad in the fall eliminates you from the "off" season - training, invitationals, duals, tourneys. How important are those to you? I'm not sure the level of player you are, but those can be important times for some players in racking up valuable points toward your division and/or national ranking. Those are all things to take into consideration. It may be a big thing for you or it may be nothing. I don't know. Hypothetically, if you went abroad there are plenty of options for keeping yourself in line (but of course require the dedication and will). You don't need gyms and stuff to stay fit. Take some bands and you can get a killer workout in 20 minutes. You can use the time to really improve the cardio or endurance or agility. There's really no limit. The university you go to may have sports teams there you can join. Sometimes it's ok for students to practice with the team, but of course not play. Or just make friends who play. I'm not sure how much of a natural athlete you are, but take up other sports! Basketball, volleyball, swimming... whatever it is use it as a time to enjoy being out of the rigors and confines or a set tennis regimen and also set your mind to realizing the cross training helps you enjoy sports more, can improve hand-eye, you'll learn other footworks, etc. That all carries over on the court and can really give you an advantage actually. The hitting... depending on you as a player it may not be a big deal. Some people need to hit every day to feel ok. Some players could go a week or more without it and go back out fresh after a good warmup. Don't worry about that. Shadow swings in your room alone may sound foolish, but it's a great time to improve and reinforce, or *correct* and *add*, to your timing, contact point, kinetics, body positioning, balance, etc.
** My real 2 cents for what it's worth... After coming up with your answers, go after what you want without second thoughts. You have a lot of options here. If you have the ability to take an entire year off tennis with no penalty (8/10 rule) then you have an entire year to study abroad if you want! If you choose the semester, it's possible to come back refreshed, a more dynamic player, etc. and you'll have almost 2 months after the start of spring semester to get yourself together before competition and maybe still be in the lineup. If that's important to you, maybe you could be a doubles player to start out the season and then go from there. I don't know your situation but consider all your options. Talk to your coach, academic advisor, and anyone else to cover all your options. If your school has a grad school, it could be possible to walk out of there in 5 years with a BA/BS, MBA/MA/MS/MEd/etc., 4 years of tennis, and a year of study abroad! Or other alternatives like 2 BAs/BSs, 2 minors, etc. If you choose only the one semester and don't get playing time in the spring, talk to your coach about being an "assistant" coach and helping out in those regards. KILLER resume addition.

I'm very familiar with the policies and procedures for a couple of reasons - haha! Some good and some not so good. So if you have any questions just message me and I'd be glad to help.
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