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Mkenya Daima
RE: What's to stop a college team from recruiting a team of 13:20-13:50 guys from Kenya?

Just wow... wrote:

Seems like a simple strategy to crush everyone else at XC. Are there any rules against such an approach? Is it cost prohibitive? Are there too few scholarships to allow it to work? Is XC just too irrelevant in collegiate sports to make it worthwhile? It looks like Alabama was trying something like that. My thought is that most schools would not go this approach simply because it would take the joy and challenge of coaching and developing kids to the get to next level out of the equation, but that may be a bit naive. I certainly don't think guys like Mark Wetmore or Chris Fox would want to just inherit a bunch of 13:30 Kenyans.

The TOEFL, SATs, US Embassy, Common App, and many other things you've never heard of!

Most Kenyans who crush the SATs are not even close to being in any sporting shape, while almost every Kenyan who can run that fast cannot handle the arduous process of getting admission into a US college. The TOEFL is the first such barrier (Test of English as a foreign language, which is offered either in far away Nairobi or online, both of which are inaccessible to folks deep in the Rift Valley).

The second one is the SAT, which just like the TOEFL, is prohibitively expensive and inaccessible to most of the best runners.

And then comes the effin Common App, which is a crazy thing to go through if you are stuck in the middle of nowhere with not even a 2G connection, which is the case in most rural places - certainly the case where I grew up, and we have a bunch of Olympians and World Junior and Youth champs.

And even if somehow someone manages to get through all these, one has to go through the US embassy and convince them to let one into the US. Getting an appointment at the US embassy is also super expensive ($200) and they try all manner of things to prevent folks from getting visas. You have no idea how difficult it is to get to the US even when you are an accomplished and academically-gifted person in Kenya.

A few generous Americans have done some work helping Kenyans get to top American colleges through such programs as the Kenya Scholar-Athlete Project, KenSAP -, but none of these programs have yielded any significant, Chez-type runners at the D1 schools. They actually have had only three D1 runners out of 160 students over the 10 years of operations, and all of them were mediocre even at their respective Conference championships. Harldy any could make a final.

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