By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor
A year after signing the nation’s No. 1 ranked recruiting class, LSU’s women’s tennis program has come under NCAA investigation, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation have told Tiger Rag.
According to sources, NCAA investigators have spent time in Baton Rouge this summer looking into allegations that LSU co-head coaches Julia Sell and Michael Sell had provided improper benefits to prospective student-athletes that would violate the organization’s bylaws. The accusations include setting up improper practice sessions and supplying unauthorized equipment and services to prospects during visits, among other alleged infractions.
The sources spoke to Tiger Rag on a condition of anonymity because the investigation remains ongoing.
NCAA spokesperson Emily James declined to comment in an email.
“Due to rules put in place by our membership, we cannot comment on current, pending or potential investigations,” James wrote.
LSU officials also declined to comment.
None of the players who comprised LSU’s top-ranked 2016 recruiting class remain in the program. Jade Lewis, the No. 7 player in the 2016 class, according to TennisRecruiting.net, spent a single semester on campus, before turning pro this summer after receiving a $500,000 offer from the Seed Foundation, a New Zealand-based organization that funds promising tennis prospects. Rebecca Weissmann transferred to the University of Southern California during the summer after spending her freshman season with the Tigers, and Raveena Kingsley, ranked as high No. 1 in the nation by TennisRecruiting.net, turned pro after signing with LSU, never attending the university.
Another highly ranked prospect for the 2017 class, Alexandra Bozovic of Australia, will not attend LSU this year, opting instead to turn pro, several sources told Tiger Rag. There is no roster for the 2017-18 women’s team available at LSUSports.net.
LSU hired Julia Sell in 2012 and promoted Michael Sell to co-head coach in 2015, after the latter served as a volunteer assistant for three seasons. The program has reached four straight NCAA Tournaments, advancing to the second round in each of the past three seasons. Julia Sell’s overall record at LSU is 77-64 (23-42 SEC) in five seasons. LSU’s 2017-18 season begins Sept. 16 at the James Bonk Invite in Cary, N.C.