Was Krikorian Wrong to Rest His Starters?

The ACC and NCAA slapped fines and a suspension on Florida State Women's Coach, Mark Krikorian on Friday.  His crime?  He felt the NCAA post season tournament was more important than the regular season ending ACC Tournament so he rested many of his starters.  In fact, he left nine of them at home and traveled without them.  Click here for a news article.

Florida State are ranked #11 in the country and I suppose have a legitimate shot at making the Final Four and possibly winning the National Championship.  They have suffered through lots of injuries this season and I guess he figured he needed to rest his players or let them recover from their injuries in time for next weeks first games of the post season NCAA Tournament.

A point worth mentioning here is that not all is equal with regard college soccer and preparations for NCAA Tournament.  Some conferences don't have a season ending tournament.  Stanford for instance, who are ranked #1, play in a conference that doesn't have a season ending tournament.  So their players get a whole weeks rest while others are playing competitive games in their season ending tournament risking fatigue and injury.  Another benefit to not playing a season ending tournament is it gives another full week of preparation and training.

Here's where I stand on this.  I'm with Mark Krikorian.  Without doubt, the number one goal of his team for the season would be to win a National Championship.  Second would be to make the Final Four.  After that it would be to finish top of their conference regular season standings and in fourth place would be to win the conference season ending tournament.  So I would do the same as he did and rest some of my more important players so that the team would have a better chance of success in its bid for a National Championship.

If the NCAA want to fine or suspend Krikorian, then they should make it a level playing field and insist all teams play in a season ending conference tournament.

Another way to look at it is with the EPL teams that also play in the Champions League.  For instance, If Man U are playing Fulham on Saturday followed by a Champions League semi final on Wednesday against Real Madrid, there is no doubt that Ferguson would rest his stronger players and save them for the semi final game.  Therefore, he isn't putting his strongest team on the field.  The same goes for Chelsea and Arsenal.  They have all done it many times over the years.  Why?  They have to prioritize and decide what is more important to them and that is all that Kirkorian did.  In fact, just take a look at the teams that Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal put on the field for FA Cup and Carling Cup games.  They are mostly reserve players.  In fact, Arsenal make a point of putting mostly young players in their line ups for these cup games.

So is there a difference in what Man U, Arsenal and Chelsea do to what Krikorian did.  Not in my mind.  A coach has a responsibility to his team.  His team has their number one goal of a National Championship and he is doing what is best for their chances to win that National Championship.

Now don't get me wrong, if it was a situation where a coach fielded a weaker team so they would obviously lose to help another team out, then I don't agree with that.  But this is clearly not that type of situation.  No other team gets to benefit because of Krikorians decision other than his own.

In my opinion, the ACC and NCAA are wrong.

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