Janet Evans, Placentia’s triple gold medalist in the 1988 Olympics, said Thursday that she may drop out of Stanford if the NCAA adopts legislation that would force her to decrease her practice time.
The NCAA convention in January will consider a proposal that would cut practice time for sports to 20 hours per week during a 24-week season. Another proposal would prohibit college coaches from coaching outside teams during the off-season and from working with their athletes during the off-season.
“It is a significant threat to the success of our athletes at the world level,” USA Swimming executive director Ray Essick said. “If you talk to the people from tennis, gymnastics, wrestling, track and field, among others, you’ll hear the same story that you’re hearing from swimming.”
Evans and other swimmers plan to wear special caps during the three-day U.S. Open that begins today. Swimming USA has purchased about 500 caps with a logo that shows a bar passing through the circled words: “NCAA Restrictions.”
“As an athlete, we’re really upset about what is being proposed,” said Evans, a graduate of El Dorado High School who has a 3.0 grade-point average at Stanford despite spending some 30 hours a week training. “We came to college because we felt we could handle the academic load and swim. If I hadn’t applied to swim in college, I could have taken the endorsements that were available after 1988 and not bother with studies.
“Personally, I feel we can handle the academic loads. I think for governing bodies (NCAA) to be telling us when we can swim, and with whom we can swim is not fair. I think it will put our priority to train for the Olympics and in international competition in jeopardy. It won’t allow us to train for the Olympics the way we need to train.”