Moving boys’ tennis to the fall would force it to compete with soccer for players

Published 9:54 pm Thursday, August 5, 2004

By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
For most area high school coaches, a court of appeals ruling that many of their sports must switch seasons doesn't have a profound effect. It simply means their teams will be playing at a different time of year.
For Buchanan boys' tennis coach Steve Bender, the change could mean the loss of up to three-fourths of his players.
The court's decision, which the Michigan High School Athletic Association says it will continue fighting, would move boys' tennis from the spring to the fall. Niles' coach said he likes the idea because his team could play in warmer weather.
Bender, however, sees a problem with the switch. The move would put boys' tennis in the same season as soccer. Bender estimated that 75 percent of his tennis players also play soccer.
Bender said practices wouldn't interfere with each other. He runs his practices right after school, while Felty, who doesn't work at Buchanan, holds his practices later in the evening.
The problem, Bender said, would be coordinating the game schedules.
Senior Ryan Skene is one of the athletes who plays tennis and soccer. He said the competing season would divide the two-sport athletes.
Skene said if the season change does happen, he would try to play tennis and soccer at once. Bender said playing both sports simulatenously would be very draining for the athletes.
Skene said, while he would love to continue playing both sports, he thinks it would be a difficult task.
The court of appeals mandated the season switch because it said the current set up discriminates against girls. Bender said he completely disagrees with that logic and likes the unique season schedule that Michigan has now.
The ruling would also move girls' basketball to the winter, when the boys play. Bender, who used to coach girls' basketball, said competing at the same time as the boys' takes the spotlight off the girls' team.