Nov 052003
Authors: Vince Blaser

A pool that is not deep enough or wide enough to meet National

Collegiate Athletic Association regulations in a state without any

varsity teams.

Although CSU swimming and diving coach and new water polo coach

John Mattos and the CSU athletic department say the women’s water

polo team could be competitive when it begins varsity play in March

2005, the team will have to start with some competitive


The Moby pool is not regulation size in length or depth. The

NCAA Water Polo Rules state that there must be 75 feet between

goals, 45-feet wide and a minimum depth of 6 1/2-feet.

Campus Television measured Moby pool as 75-feet long and 45-feet

wide. The depth ranges from 10-to-13 feet in the diving area to

four feet around many edges of the pool. The Rams will have to have

goals on the walls instead of floating goals.

“It will put us at a minimal disadvantage when we go into a

proper-sized pool,” Mattos said.

CSU media relations director for the athletic department, Gary

Ozzello, said the Rams will be able to get a waiver from the NCAA

and have matches at Moby.

Kaia Hedlund, chair of the NCAA water polo committee, said that

while the pool is a disadvantage for the CSU team, the NCAA allows

it because it is trying to expand the sport.

“We want the sport to grow,” Hedlund said. “It’s legal for

competitions, but it’s not ideal.”

Jackie Charlesworth, coordinator for Resources for Disabled

Students and co-founder of the CSU women’s water polo team in 1998,

said the low depth hurts CSU when practicing because touching the

bottom is a foul in water polo.

“When you get tired, you put a foot down, even though your coach

will tell you not to,” Charlesworth said. “If you’re consistently

doing something wrong in practice, then you will end up doing it in


Ozzello said that tournaments and other matches played at CSU

would likely be played at the Edora Pool and Ice Center. However,

CSU has not contacted EPIC about the possibility.

“We haven’t (talked to EPIC) at this point, but we will really

soon,” Ozzello said.

Jackie Gold, vice president and co-captain of the women’s water

polo club team, said the club team had played matches at EPIC and

is trying to get a tournament scheduled there. However, she also

said having matches at EPIC is much more costly than having them at


Another problem for the team could be in-state recruiting. There

are no varsity women’s water polo teams in Colorado, according to

the Colorado High School Activities Association.

“It will be a little more difficult (to recruit) in state,”

Mattos said. “(But) there are not a lot of scholarships out there

for water polo teams. We may not be able to get the highest-level

players. Denver University runs all over us as facilities go, but

we’re a better program.”

There are 29 Division I NCAA women’s water polo teams, and none

of them are in the Rocky Mountain region. Mattos said CSU should

have a good recruiting base in California.

But Charlesworth said CSU will have to prove themselves before

high-level recruits come to CSU.

“If I had a chance to play varsity a long time ago, I would have

gone to a California school,” Charlesworth said.

Gold said the club team has some California players with a lot

of talent that have been playing most of their lives.

While a majority of the club players will probably not be on the

varsity team, Mattos is going to come watch the club team soon,

Gold said.

Although the majority of Mattos’ career has been as a swimming

coach, he has been a college water polo assistant coach for a year

and a half and a high school coach for two years. He also played

water polo at CSU in the 1960s.

He said he made the proposal to add water polo at CSU when the

NCAA first announced the requirement that Division I-A football

schools had to have 16 varsity sports by Aug. 1, 2004.

He knew it would have little effect on the finances of the

athletic department. Mattos said adding a sport like women’s soccer

would have forced the department to make cuts in the budgets of

other sports.

“I just don’t think the general public understands the

ramifications of adding ‘popular’ sports,” he said. “How do you

tell a sport that’s working their butt off trying to represent

Colorado State that they will have $10,000 to $20,000 cut out of

their budget?”

Collegian reporter Jason Kosena contributed to this article.




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