MIAA sanctions spike Kalamazoo tennis' 79-year title streak

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Branden Metzler and the Kalamazoo College men’s tennis team are closing in on an outright Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association title.

This spring, Kalamazoo College's men's tennis team won its 79th consecutive Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship.

On Thursday, the streak came to unceremonious end, when the MIAA vacated all of the athletic programs' conference wins — regular season and postseason — over a four-year period for the 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

That means the tennis streak is technically over at 74 years, with no competition taking place during World War II. All 18 Kalamazoo teams also will be ineligible for MIAA postseason play in 2017-18, but individuals will be allowed to compete in cross country and swimming and diving.

The NCAA found in 2016 that Kalamazoo committed major infractions in recruiting and financial aid.

Kalamazoo appealed the decision, and the NCAA denied it in October.

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“The MIAA presidents and I worked diligently throughout this academic year to determine firm, yet fair sanctions that communicate to our members, and the entire NCAA Division III community, that NCAA financial aid infractions of this magnitude will not be tolerated,” MIAA commissioner Penny Allen-Cook said in a statement.

“We are confident in Kalamazoo College’s leadership and commitment to a high standard of compliance with both the NCAA and the MIAA. As the oldest and most stable DIII conference in the country, the MIAA and our membership will work toward mending bridges that will continue to enhance and solidify the MIAA.”

Said Jeffrey Docking, Adrian president and chairman of the MIAA Presidents' Council: “The MIAA greatly respects Kalamazoo College and its president, Jorge Gonzalez. We are pleased to have this situation behind us so we can look forward to building an even stronger conference for our student-athletes."

The decision does not vacate individual championships, nor does it change opponents' records or award championships to opposing schools.

Kalamazoo won the men's tennis championship outright every year but three during the streak, sharing with Hope in 1962 and 2003, and with Hope and Calvin in 2013. It's the longest conference-championship streak in college athletics.

Tuition at the private liberal arts college costs $54,766 annually. Kalamazoo said it fixed its financial-aid issues once the NCAA issued its ruling.