About the Awards
All-American Sailing Team
Since 1967, ICSA has recognized the achievements of its sailors through selection to the ICSA All-America Sailing Team. Sailors are recognized for their competitive excellence in the following categories:
- Skippers in open events (men or women)
- Women’s Skippers in open events
- Crews in open and women-only events
- (Honorable Mention honors are awarded in the first two categories)
In addition, the recipients of the Everett Morris Memorial Trophy for College Sailor of the Year, the Quantum Women’s Sailor of the Year, the Robert H. Hobbs Sportsmanship Award and the James Rousmaniere Award for Student Leadership are also included as members of the ICSA All-America Sailing Team.
In 1983, Sailing World Magazine began recognizing outstanding crews for enthusiasm, dedication, and talent. In 1995, ICSA voted to change the designation to “ICSA All American Crew” and upgraded the honor to full recognition as a member of the ICSA All-America Sailing Team.
Criteria for Selection to the All-America Sailing Team
The ICSA annually confers All American honors on competitors who demonstrated outstanding performance in competition during the year.
The All-America Selection Committee consists of one representative from each of the seven ICSA Districts. In selecting All Americans, the committee considers the competitive record of each candidate. This record consists of each candidate’s individual results in Intersectional competitions and in District and North American Championship competitions, if any. In determining the quantity and quality of a record, the committee has particular regard for the following factors:
- How the record compares to those of fellow competitors
- The quality of competition in which the record was achieved
- Results achieved competing with different skippers and crews
- Whether the record spans the Fall and/or Spring seasons
- How the record compares to those of All-Americans selected in previous years
The committee does not consider the following factors:
- Candidates’ records in previous years
- Candidates’ records in non-college events
- The diversity of teams and districts represented
The committee selects All-Americans in the following categories. The number indicated are the maximum that may be chosen in a year. The committee is not obligated to select the maximum.
- Up to 18 Coed All-Americans (skippers) and additional Honorable Mentions, together totaling not more than 25
- Up to 10 Women All-American (skippers) and additional Honorable Mentions, together totaling not more than 15
- Up to 20 All-American Crew with selection based on the following:
- Competitive record, judged in a manner similar to that of a skipper (as above)
- Demonstrated leadership (may consider seniority)
- Demonstrated outstanding body mechanics and boat handling skills
- Proven ability to improve of the results of the skipper(s) with whom he or she sails
How All-Americans Are Selected
June 27, 2001
From time to time, discussion erupts concerning some aspect of inter-collegiate sailing. Ordinarily, I refrain from any broadcast comment, but occasionally reply directly to individuals. However, some of the recent comments about the All America Sailing Team selection process contain enough incorrect information that I feel compelled to respond in general.
First, the All American Sailing Team is selected by a committee of seven individuals, one representing each of the seven ICSA geographical Districts. It is not a committee of three coaches from two coasts. In the early years of the Team selection, not every District was represented on the committee. In recent years, a consistent effort has been made to ensure the broadest representation.
Second, very few people who have not served on the committee have even the faintest idea of the amount of preparation throughout the year that currently precedes the many hours of deliberation that then occur during the ten days of the spring championships. Full and complete records of skippers and crews are compiled, distributed, and discussed by the members of the committee. Individuals move up and down the various lists until the final selections are made. No system could hope to be perfect, but the current one used by the committee strives to give every candidate full and complete consideration.
Some will note that, in recent years, a few teams may have multiple honorees while some whole Districts may not have anyone selected for the Team. The charge of the committee is to select the best collegiate sailors of the year, wherever they may come from, based on competitive achievement. If one looks at the results of the three recently completed ICSA championships (Women’s Dinghy, Team Race, and Dinghy), one cannot escape the fact that the best performances are by teams from only a few Districts. While the leaders of ICSA sincerely wish that the level of competition might be more even throughout the country – and have, indeed, been investigating ways in which to foster greater balance – reality cannot be ignored.
Some assume and state with assurance that the winner of any ICSA championship is, or should be, automatically selected a full All-American. In earlier years, such assumption and statement had some basis in fact. In recent years, that is not the case. The following is the result of a quick bit of research:
- The 1983-4 winner of the Sloop championship was selected as an Honorable Mention.
- The 1997-8 winner of the Coed Singlehanded Championship received no honor.
- The 1999-0 winner of the Men’s Singlehanded Championship received no honor.
- The 2000-1 winner of the Men’s Singlehanded Championship was selected as an Honorable Mention.
- The 1999-0 winner of the Women’s Singlehanded Championship was selected as a Women’s Honorable Mention.
- The 2000-1 winner of the Women’s Singlehanded Championship received no honor as a Women’s sailor (but was selected a coed All American based on her record in coed competition).
- The 1999-0 B-division skipper on the winning team of the Women’s Dinghy Championship and low-point skipper in her division was selected not as a Women’s All American, but as a Women’s Honorable Mention
- The 2000-1 B-division skipper on the winning team of the Women’s Dinghy Championship and fourth in her division received no honor.
That is a fairly impressive list of winners of ICSA championships who were not chosen as All Americans, and it is a reflection of the fact that the committee does a very thorough job of examining entire records and requires a record of consistent excellence against the very best competition for selection. In earlier years, such complete examination of records was not possible and this may have contributed to the seemingly “automatic” selection for winners of championships.
One can always debate the selection of one individual over another, but I think it baseless to accuse the committee of inattention, irresponsibility, or prejudice. I make these comments without having been privy to the discussions of the committee and in spite of the fact that I have coached sailors who were passed over even though I personally thought them worthy of selection. The committee has a very difficult task, they work exceptionally hard and long, and it is inappropriate to make unfounded charges concerning either their competence or their integrity.
I wish in this, as in so many other discussions, that those taking up one position or another would first do some research and be more firmly grounded in fact. Do not blame me for that: I was trained as an historian.
Former President, ICSA