Despite its anticipated benefits, the merger between NYU and the Polytechnic School of Engineering backfired for Poly’s women’s tennis team, effectively disbanding their program.
Poly junior Fatima Khalid is speaking out about the effects the merger has had on her dissolved women’s tennis team.
Back in September, Khalid and her teammates were surprised by the news that their former tennis coach, Victor Caraballo, had left the Poly program due to fear of the merger.
“Our coach believed he would have no job after the merger so he decided to take an offer from another Division II school, leaving us two weeks before the season started with no coach and less than six players,” Khalid said.
Without the right numbers and without a coach to lead them, Khalid and her teammates were forced to face the fact that their 2013 season had ended before it even started.
“What was infuriating was that me and my close teammates had been asked by Coach Caraballo to come two weeks before move-in week during mid-August, and then we ended up not even having a team to play with,” Khalid said.
Poly junior and member of the team Sabrina Pardus said the team had to decide what to do on their own.
“We were given the option to continue our season with a coach that had no experience in tennis or just play on our own time like a club,” Sabrina Pardus said.
Subsequently, the girls decided not to play their final season.
Pardus said some of the girls will try to play for the NYU team next fall.
Poly’s athletic director, Curtis Spence, explained the reasons why Poly could not field a women’s tennis team in the Skyline Conference this season.
“The most important [reason] was that not enough students came out for the team this year. This was partly affected by the merger, because it was difficult to recruit competitive tennis players, knowing the program would be merged with the NYU athletics’ program next fall,” he said. “In addition, our academic schedule at times conflicted with scheduled match dates and times.”
In order to meet Poly’s standards for varsity teams, Khalid and her teammates found out that they had a two week period to field a roster of at least 12 players. But despite efforts to build interest for a women’s tennis team at club fairs and around campus, they ended up with only half the amount of girls.
“We have no shadow program here at Poly for interested recruits so it was difficult to attract any tennis players in the first place,” Khalid said.
After being denied by NYU Poly, Khalid contacted the NYU tennis captain in hopes to try out for the NYU team after hearing about the upcoming merger, but was denied the chance to play in the fall season because the merger only took effect in January.
“I feel it was a lot of miscommunication between both the NYU and [Poly] administration,” Khalid said. We didn’t even hear about the merger until our coach left right before the season started, and the girls and I had little notification.”
As of press time, Caraballo had not yet responded for comment.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 24 print edition. Michelle Tran is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.