By: Mack Drake/GCU Staff
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Tinajero
As college athletic conferences around the nation continue to mull the fate of upcoming fall sports, there is no uncertainty regarding collegiate bowling.
A return to the lanes will have to wait.
Earlier this week, the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) decided to delay the fall season until January 1, a move that will have a ripple effect on university bowling schedules across the country.
“We agree and support the USBC’s decision,” said Grand Canyon University Bowling Head Coach Ben Canfield. “In our circumstance, it actually helps us. We aren’t allowed to participate in any sporting events here until January, anyway, so we wouldn’t have been able to bowl in the fall season even if this delay had not been announced.”
The USBC also announced several other alterations to the upcoming bowling season. Among the biggest is an elimination of Tier I events. All tournaments will be weighted as Tier II events, meaning the extra ranking points up for grabs at exclusive Tier I tournaments will be put on hold for this season.
The Lopes normally compete in two Tier I events in Las Vegas in December .
“Theoretically, having all Tier II events should help us,” Canfield said. “Based on our location, we aren’t able to get out to as many Tier I events as some of the other schools in the country. Having them all weighted as Tier II tournaments should give us a good chance of achieving a higher ranking than we ever have.”
The list of USBC changes also includes a reduction in tournaments, resizing from the normal 10 tournament-layout to a more compressed six-event schedule.
“Right now, our schedule is kind of up in the air,” Canfield said. “I’ll be entering my 10th year involved in college bowling, and we’ve always gone to the same events and locations pretty much every year. It will be weird not going to some of the events this year.”
Although the Lopes, abiding by GCU guidelines, can’t practice as a team until at least October, Canfield has continued to provide guidance for returning bowlers.
“I’ve had phone conversations with a few of our bowlers to discuss what to work on while we’re all separated,” Canfield said. “We’re doing the best we can to develop as a team considering the circumstances we’re all in.”
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