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Arkansas Tennis Pulled The Biggest Snake Move In College Sports History and I LOVE It - Schedules 6 Matches In One Day Against A Terrible Opponent So They Can Hit .500 By Morning And Make The Playoffs

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THE COMEBACKThe NCAA as an institution has some rules and regulations that cause one to scratch their head and furrow their brow. (See the infamous “cream cheese on a bagel” violation.) But the intricacies of recruiting and eligibility requirements pales in comparison to what the Arkansas women’s tennis program was able to accomplish over the weekend.

In college football, we know that a team becomes bowl-eligible when they reach six wins on the season. In tennis, a team has to be .500 or better over the course of the season to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. In order to achieve that record, the Arkansas women’s tennis program traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to play against Tennessee State after they were eliminated from the SEC Tournament.

They didn’t just play one match, though. Not two, either. Not three. Not four. Not even five. Arkansas played Tennessee State in SIX CONSECUTIVE MATCHES on Saturday, winning all six of them to bring their record to 16-16 and tournament eligibility.

This is a phenomenal story, and that’s not something you can say every day for college women’s tennis. In fact it may be the first time that Barstool has ever had the words women’s tennis and phenomenal in the same sentence.  But it is, quite possibly, the biggest…and best…snake move that we have seen in college sports.  It is finding loopholes at its finest.  It’s the SEC at its finest.  It’s rule exploitation at its finest.  And I love it.

Arkansas women’s tennis scheduling 6 matches, in a row, in ONE day, against Tennessee State, a cupcake opponent who they could easily steamroll, so that they could get their 10-16 record to .500 and be eligible for the playoffs.

Last Word on Tennis provides much needed added context:

The primary reason Arkansas scheduled this unreasonable day of tennis was their incredible run of matches toward the end of the season. They finished the regular season an unimpressive 7-15, with a 3-10 mark in conference. However, this may not be as bad as it seems; they play in the SEC Conference, which boasts five of the top ten ranked teams in the country. They entered the postseason SEC tournament as the #11 seed out of 14 teams. Arkansas also finished the regular season strong, defeating #35 Tennessee in their final match.

They proceeded to play by far their best tennis of the season at this point, winning three consecutive matches en route to the semifinal. The road to the semifinal included victories over #19 ranked Auburn and #7 ranked South Carolina. In the semifinal, they were able to put up a decent fight against #9 Florida, though they did not come out on top. Similar to the NCAA basketball tournament, the selection committee (at least unofficially) tends to have recency bias, with an emphasis on postseason tournament play. Arkansas likely felt that with these impressive wins to finish off their year, they would have a legitimate shot to play in the NCAA tournament. However, they still were only 10-16 on the season, and needed to get to .500 by Sunday, April 22nd, the last day of the season.

Incredible.  I fucking love the dumbass NCAA and their stupid ass rules.  And another one?  Arkansas doesn’t let its programs play on the road in-state, lest it benefit a smaller in-state school (the horror!)  So that’s why they had to travel 500+ miles to Tennessee to get this done (also, Tennessee State stinks out loud apparently.)

And Tennessee State?  They got paid.  What do they care about getting steamrolled.  They got a nice fat check to buy some new rackets and maybe some trainers to improve the team for next year.

Win win for both of them, meanwhile another L for the NCAA and the insanely awful way they run their organization.

Do your thing Arkansas women’s tennis, and wave to the haters.  Don’t hate the playa, hate the NCAA’s game.

PS,

State gave them a little scare at the end there!

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[via The Comeback]