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International Runners at U.S. Schools


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  • International Runners at U.S. Schools

    Walt Murphy’s News and Results Service
    (c) Copyright 2003-all rights reserved. May not be reprinted or retransmitted without permission.

    With the NCAA Divison One Championships drawing to a close, I figured it was now or never if I wanted to share the results of an informal survey I did about the number of international athletes who competed for U.S. schools this past year (X-Country, Indoors, Outdoors).

    The total came to more than 1,100 athletes, with 96 countries represented.

    I’ll leave it to others to draw any conclusions, but it should be noted that not all athletes received a scholarship and not all were heavily recruited “stars”. Some were born or reside in the U.S., but maintain citizenship from another country.

    I hope to post the complete breakdown shortly.

    International Athletes Competing for U.S. Colleges-2003

    Athletes 1127 (Men-610, Women-517)

    Countries 96

    Schools with most int’l athletes:

    25 Southern Methodist
    25 Texas-El Paso
    22 Central Arizona (Junior College)
    18 Arkansas
    18 Idaho
    18 Memphis
    17 Eastern Michigan
    17 McNeese State
    17 New Orleans
    17 Providence
    16 Auburn
    15 Texas-Arlington
    14 Kennesaw State (Div.II)
    14 Northern Arizona
    14 Rice
    12 Arkansas State
    12 Boston U.
    12 South Plains (Junior College)
    11 Arkansas-Little Rock
    11 Butler
    11 Manhattan
    11 Central Methodist (NAIA)
    11 Harvard
    11 NY Tech (Div.II)
    10 Tulane
    10 Alabama
    10 Oklahoma State
    10 Barton County (Junior College)
    10 Seton Hall
    10 Texas Christian
    10 Southern Cal
    10 Wyoming

    Best Represented Countries
    246 Canada
    134 Kenya
    101 Jamaica
    49 Sweden
    41 England
    36 Ireland
    34 Bahamas
    32 Trinidad
    28 New Zealand
    28 Germany
    23 Hungary
    22 Nigeria
    21 Australia

  • #2
    Re: International Runners at U.S. Schools

    I'm glad you brought that up, because it really chaps my butt that foreigners get ANY scholarships. I am NOT a xenophobe, and I think there SHOULD be foreigners on every team, for the diversity. But why do coaches choose the lazy route and get overage, 'already up there' overseas talent that clearly prevents an American-grown athlete from getting financial aid? These same coaches ALWAYS claim they are doing it for some international good will BS, but if we banned them from scoring at conference or nationals they would drop them like a hot potato. Genuine hypocrisy. There are PLENTY of talented American boys and girls who, with some good (aye, there's the rub) coaching, could do very well. I like the foreigners on the teams and giving them a scholarship is great if you are doing it out of the kindness of your heart, but take away the scoring potential and these numbers that we see here would dwindle to a handful.


    • #3
      Re: International Runners at U.S. Schools

      I understand your feelings. Personally, I like seeing top foreign athletes in the NCAA. But I don't think recruiting them should be a substitute for coaching.

      And if you recruit foreigners, be proud of it. Don't say it's because your school is in Lametown, USA and can't recruit the top American kids. That's a cop out.

      As a kid, my heroes were African distance runners, many who'd run in the U.S. I'm often the one guy rooting for them at NCAA Cross when everyone else is yelling at the Americans.


      • #4
        Re: International Runners at U.S. Schools

        it is more often the case that coaches have to work hard to get what they do out of their foreign athletes than otherwise.
        i could not speak for other situations (smu/dallas, etc.) - or even to the ted banks era - but until you try to recruit athletes to el paso, then you just have no idea. i would not even imply that the utep coaches would cop to anything of the sort, but even the college-bound el paso locals (esp. the best and brightest) tend to get out of that town if they can get into and can come up with tuition and fees for schools in other locales. despite that fact, the coaches at utep do a solid job of recruiting and coaching locals. despite the above number, not even half of those qualified for nationals and over half the utep roster is filled with americans.


        • #5
          Re: International Runners at U.S. Schools

          The thing that burns me is all of this is when a coach spends the majority of their recruiting money to get the foreign kids. That money, especially in state schools, comes directly from tax dollars of the kid's parents in the area that the coach ignores. State schools, at least in NY, have to fundraise their scholarship $, so they should spend that pretty much however they want, but the recruiting should be putting money back into the economy of the state that gave it to them to begin with.


          • #6
            Re: International Runners at U.S. Schools

            the same would apply to recruiting out-of-state americans, no?
            the coach has a salary and a budget to do a job - any restrictions on how s/he does that job are up to the athletic department, school administration, and the ncaa.


            • #7
              Re: International Runners at U.S. Schools

              You have a point, except state universities also receive federal funds (Pell Grants, etc.).

              I don't mind foreign athletes in the NCAAs. It increases competition, which helps everyone get better. However, I do believe national federations should be paying at least half (if not all) the costs of the U.S. training their athletes. No other country would fork over costs to train OTHER countries' athletes, & rightfully so.

              I also thought there were NCAA limits on the number of foreign athletic scholarships? Yet it seems as though UTEP's team is at least 50% foreign?


              • #8
                Re: International Runners at U.S. Schools

                as i indicated above, less than half of utep's roster is comprised of foreigners (and iirc, ibrahim is undergoing the naturalization process); you could see for yourself here: ... roster.htm

                by and large, the foreigners who come to u.s. universities are neither world beaters or olympians nor will they ever be so. expecting foreign federations to pay for any of the educational costs for their b- and c-rate juniors would be like expecting foreign governments to pay for their high school exchange students or for foreigners who get academic scholarships at u.s. universities because u.s. tax dollars end up training their doctors. i can certainly think of many much greater wastes of tax money than educating some foreigners.


                • #9
                  Re: International Runners at U.S. Schools

                  Hey! I am European and I don't like that American track athletes are being paid so much to run in Europe! That money should be given to European athletes so they can have a better chance at making a living in track and field! Waaaaah!

                  I'm not actually European, but that's the same way people sound when they complain about foreign NCAA athletes.

                  Track is not a zero-sum game. It is not as if every scholarship given to a foreign athlete takes away one from an American. Remove the foreign scholarship athletes, most of whom are top notch (otherwise the school would not have gone to the trouble of recruiting them from abroad and giving them a scholarship), and many schools would reduce their scholarship budgets because the smaller number of good athletes would reduce their ability to attract media attention and sponsorship dollars.

                  Similarly, banning Americans, Jamaicans or Kenyans from the European circuit would reduce the money that the meet promoters can make (and afford to pay to athletes), and probably would DECREASE the opportunities for European athletes.

                  It would also be absurd to suggest that non-scholarship foreign athletes should be ineligible to compete, after paying tens of thousands of dollars to attend their school.


                  • #10
                    Re: International Runners at U.S. Schools

                    Good Point about the European meets!

                    And for the poster talking about tax dollars and state schools, I guess this means the private schools on that list can do what they please by your comment?
                    What is the international athlete breakdown for other sports- let's just use swimming, basketball,
                    and soccer for examples. (Just a thought- the number of internationals in American football is probably nil as no one else plays it- how does that fit into the Football vs. Title IX vs. Men's teams being eliminated?)

                    Helen S.


                    • #11
                      Re: International Runners at U.S. Schools

                      Saying that foreign athletes aren't appreciably diminishing home-grown talents' chances of a scholarship is just flat wrong. Coach are still going to use their alloted money to get the best athletes available and then they're going to coach their butts off to get them as good as they can. The Euro meet point is specious as well. The meet promoters are trying to make money and whatever puts butts in seats is what they're after. We're talking about American Universities committing tax-payer funds (at state schools) to help forign nations' athletes improve.


                      • #12
                        Re: International Runners at U.S. Schools

                        Today's SACRAMENTO BEE:

                        "Foreign athletes: Recruit them or not?"
               ... 1333c.html

                        The article says Stanford doesn't recruit outside the U.S.? Ahem, Canadian sprinter Ashley Purnell is among its rising sprint squad. I think they have or have had other foreign athletes too.


                        • #13
                          Re: International Runners at U.S. Schools

                          1127 out of 45,000+ is *appreciable*? it is not even significant.


                          • #14
                            Re: International Runners at U.S. Schools

                            you're saying there are 45,000 scholarships?


                            • #15
                              Re: International Runners at U.S. Schools

                              no, why would i state that?