Tennis team cleared of allegations

by Evan Sporer / Beacon Staff • October 6, 2011

, Beacon Staff/strong

divDays after former tennis coach John Nestel filed complaints with two athletic organizations accusing Emerson’s 2010 women’s tennis team of illegal lineup stacking, officials cleared the college’s name.Nestel resigned suddenly last Wednesday, a few hours later, and lodged complaints with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) and the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) alleging the team separated its top two players into separate doubles teams in order to gain an unfair advantage.Angel Prinos, the ITA director, said the coach has the discretion to pair the players however he or she wants, but there is no restriction on how the players are paired. From there, each “entity”-- or doubles pairing--has to be ordered by strength.

“In singles, a singles lineup should be played in order of ability,” Prinos said. “If you consider a doubles team as one entity, you have three doubles teams, and the strength of the two players combined to create that doubles team determines which pair is one, two, or three in your lineup.”

The ITA, as well as the GNAC, are the two bodies that Nestel filed the accusation with. The GNAC could not be reached for comment. Prinos declined to comment on Nestel’s specific case.

“That’s not the way I understand the rule,” Nestel said in a phone interview.

Nestel’s claim was that by splitting up its top two players, Emerson’s 2010 women’s tennis team tried to gain more points by playing better athletes against lesser opponents. However, while the team did use its number one and two singles players in separate doubles pairings, that is not a rules violation, according to the ITA.

“The way that I know the rule, it says that [the lineup] has to be by ability,” Nestel said. However, the coach did tell the Beacon that the claim he filed with the ITA was ruled not to be a violation, and said the ITA said Emerson had not committed lineup stacking.

Mason Astley, Emerson’s 2010 women’s tennis coach, could not be reached for comment. However last week Astley told the Beacon that he had not knowingly broken any rules.

“I don’t think our singles lineup dictated our doubles,” said Will Abeles, captain of the 2010 men’s tennis team. “Some people just don’t play well together.”

Since Nestel’s resignation, the women’s tennis team has gone 2-1.

/div

div

emSporer can be reached at evan_sporer@emerson.edu. Follow him on Twitter /emem@ev_sporer.  /em

/div