Web Exclusives: From the P-Nut Gallery
a column by Nate Sellwyn nsellyn@princeton.edu

For an alternative view of the seven-week rule, see President Tilghman's President's Page in February 26, 2003, issue.

March 12, 2003:

The seven-week rule
More student views

By Nate Sellyn '04

Hey there sports fans, in my last column, I gave you my opinion on the seven-week moratorium. Here, I talked with John Knorring '03, the Varsity Student Athlete's Advisory Committee's wrestling team representative for the past two years, and some other student-athletes.

How do you see the seven-week moratorium affecting athletes this year?

I can't speak for every sport, but I can comment on how the moratorium is going to affect wrestling.

Traditionally, our off-season has been in the spring. There are very few collegiate style wrestling tournaments in the spring, but there are quite a few Greco-Roman and Freestyle, or Olympic style, tournaments. These tournaments allow guys who really want to compete at the national level to find other competitive wrestlers to workout with and to improve their skills.

With the moratorium, we no longer are able to use the wrestling room in the spring to get in these extra workouts.

It is also important to keep in mind that our spring workouts are totally optional. While coach Michael New would like to see every single person in the wrestling room Tuesday through Thursday, there are no ramifications for missing a practice.

There were already rules in place that governed student-athletes out of season time, and these rules were highly restrictive compared to other Division I schools. In fact, Ivy League student-athletes can only practice about a quarter as much as other Division I schools.

If the moratorium remains in place, what do you see as happening?

The Ivy League's competitiveness on the national scene will significantly decline. Part of the decline can be explained by having fewer hours per year to practice and compete, but more of the decline will be the result of losing a significant number of the top scholar-athletes to non-Ivy schools.

I also think that the face of the undergraduate student body will begin to change. Princeton values multidimensionality in its students because it contributes to a more vibrant student life. Having serious athletes on campus reinforces the multidimensionality of the student body.

What should be done?

Now is the time to fight. It is up to the Ivy presidents to realize they made a mistake and to come up with a workable solution.

The Ivy presidents are hearing criticism from students as well as alumni.

Are there are any likely alternatives?

We are actually working on a number of workable alternatives to the seven-week moratorium and we look forward to getting feedback from President Tilghman among others.

What else are you involved in besides athletics?

We practice five days per week for an hour and a half, and we often go on away trips for a few days at a time. However, one does not have to be in the library to get work done.

I find that I am more productive in-season than out of season. At away wrestling tournaments, if you look at other teams between matches, guys are sitting around or sleeping, but if you look at the Princeton section, a majority of the guys are working on problem sets or reading for their classes.

If I had seven weeks off, I know that I would not try to get in a play, or join a club. I think that I would probably spend more time socializing.


And Knorring's feelings are echoed by several other students I talked to:

Allison Cahill '03, women's basketball ... "I'm personally insulted by the moratorium. We chose Princeton specifically for its excellence in academics and athletics. We wanted this challenge. I don't think we need our time and energy regulated for us any more than other Ivy League students."

Andrea Kilbourne '03, women's hockey ... "The decision shows that the presidents place little value on athletics at their universities while they push the Ivy League toward Division III standards. Most students who attend Ivy League schools strive to excel in all aspects of their lives, the moratorium prevents student-athletes from doing this."

- Michael Murray '05, men's water polo ... "The seven week moratorium is going to destroy Princeton athletics. Forcing athletes to take almost two months off during the year will obviously deteriorate our teams' abilities to play at a competitive level, which will in turn hurt the school's recruiting prospects. President Tilghman is trying to end competitive Princeton athletics completely."

Hannah Foster '03, women's lacrosse ... "Nobody has outlined how the presidents plan to gauge the moratorium's success. I'd be interested to hear that. Are they going to keep a log of our hours engaged in other activities? Will they compare our GPA's before and after?

Sonya Mirbagheri '04 ... "I believe the moratorium should be reevaluated on a sport-by-sport basis at the end of the semester so we ensure that Princetonians are not being negatively affected by this ruleÖ. More important, this reevaluation needs to occur so student-athletes are given a chance to voice their opinions, especially because their concerns were not necessarily addressed before the moratorium was put in place."

Pettus Randall '04, USG president ... "The USG is working actively with the administration to explore alternatives. President Tilghman and the current administration are very receptive to more effective alternatives. In addressing this issue, we first must reevaluate the motivations of the moratorium and find alternatives that will not change the structure of Ivy League athletics so dramatically.


You can reach Nate at nsellyn@Princeton.EDU