I brought to a popular Facebook forum a question:
Should college bowlers be allowed to compete in outside tournaments and earn cash prizes? Or should it be against school policy like in NCAA sanctioned teams? Why or why not?
This forum is a common platform for bowlers in the United State Bowling Congress (USBC) to discuss and debate bowling topics among each other.
This question didn’t cause debate or arguments, but there were beliefs on both sides.
A coach at Muskingum University in Ohio agrees that student-athlete bowlers should be able to participate in tournaments outside of team meets.
“There is very little money in college bowling,” the Muskingum coach stated, “as long as they are not bowling professionally, let ‘em at it.”
Athletes in NCAA bowling programs can only bowl in outside tournaments if their school does not recognize their team as a sanctioned sport but as a club, and if their school season has ended.
Many mentioned in this discussion that with rising tuition and little funding to school bowling programs, students should be able to bowl independent from their school. The tournament they bowl in could be used for extra practice to improve skills on various lane conditions, earn money to pay for school, and to pay for equipment to be used in school sports.
Former collegiate bowler, Kody Perrie, says “limiting them is stupid,” giving them the opportunity to practice and improve their game off school time and off their dime should be looked upon positively.
Perrie makes a good point.
Colleges and Universities make next to nothing off sports such as bowling. Allowing these athletes to bowl would only enhance their skills and, in turn, do nothing to negatively influence or harm the school or it program.
Calumet College’s own women’s bowling coach, Randy Vania, believes that independent bowling should be permitted.
“I’m all for free market. If students can make money off their bowling, good for them.”
He acknowledges that, like football in larger schools, the sport makes money for the school, but not enough to make a significant difference.
Utilizing their abilities during independent bowling is wonderful practice for many conditions – on the lane and in tournament settings.
As long as they are not professional, schools should permit outside bowling.
The NCAA and NAIA have one policy in common; you cannot professionally compete while participating in collegiate sports.
This is true for all sports across the board.
The difference with bowling and other sports is the definition of ‘professional’.
According to other sports it’s making money by playing your sport. In bowling, you are only considered ‘professional’ if you have your PBA card. The PBA card displays your status as a bowler. PBA is an acronym for Professional Bowler Association.
If a student wants to get their card, they would have to forfeit their spot on the school team.
Calumet College of St. Joseph had this occur just a few years back. A student-athlete was doing so well with his game that he quit the school team and acquired his card.
The majority encouraged outside bowling if the bowler remained amateur, but a few expressed opposing opinions to the majority; but those with minority beliefs didn’t provide reasoning behind their opinion.
The people who participated in this discussion approved of established NCAA club and NAIA rules – bowling independently should be permitted with amateur status.
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