New Rule may change International makeup of JUCO Sports - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

New Rule may change International makeup of JUCO Sports

By Coleman Swierc

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The face of junior college athletics is about to undergo a major change.

"25% of our scholarships could go towards a foreign athlete, but anyone who wanted to walk on could compete," explained TJC Athletic Director Tim Drain.

But a new rule passed by the governing body of junior college sports will change that.

"25% of the people we certify, period, whether they are on scholarship or not can compete, which in essence eliminates the walk-on foreigner," added Drain.

Simply put, only 1/4 of the roster, can be made up of foreign players.

"It is not an anti-international issue as this is coming out," said TJC head soccer coach Steve Clements, "It is more of a leveling the playing field athletically."

Clements had a majority of foreign players on his national championship soccer team this year.

He says the rule is NOT aimed to exclude them, but to eliminate the vast age difference between foreign and American players.

"Traditionally a lot of your international athletes across the country can be older, so a lot of times you have a 24 year old playing against an 18 year old," he said, "This helps to level that field."

"It is the person that has gone out and has graduated high school, then tried the professional, and they may not be professionals," added Drain, "Then they come back and compete so you get 24,25,26 year old freshman competing against 18 year olds."

But like all rules, there are drawbacks, a team maxed out on foreign players would have to turn away international players that wanted to tryout.

"Where ever, it does not matter, but you pay your own way to school then are denied then be denied the opportunity to play, I'm not sure I'm in favor of that," added TJC tennis coach John Peterson.

"To have a student pay their own way to go to your college, then not even have the opportunity to try out because of where they are from, that is an issue," added Clements.

If not changed, the rule will take affect in August 2012, leaving coaches to ponder what their team will look like next year.

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