Update on NCAA Division I Tennis Committee Recommendations for Championships

NCAA Division I Championships/Sport Management Cabinet Tables Tennis Committee Recommendations

Additional Media Coverage: NY Times | Sports Illustrated | USA Today

**Email from ITA Executive Director David Benjamin to Division I Coaches (Sept. 13)**

SKILLMAN, NJ (Sept. 13) - The ITA has confirmed that the NCAA D-I Championships/Sport Management Cabinet has tabled the NCAA Division I Tennis Committee recommendations to shorten the dual match format and the NCAA Championships format at the NCAA Division I Championships. The ITA will look to the Division I membership for feedback during the fall ITA Championships season and will continue to work closely with the NCAA Tennis Committee, as well as with our USTA partners, in moving forward on these very important issues. (click to read full NCAA release)

Excepted Section related to Tennis: NCAA.org (story by Greg Johnson)

Tennis proposals defeated
Cabinet members did not support a proposal that would have sent four men’s and women’s teams to the Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships finals site, while reducing the number of days there from 12 to eight.

The proposal also would have added four campus-site regionals at which a round of 16 and quarterfinals would be played. Currently, 16 men’s and women’s teams advance to the finals site, along with all the individual singles and doubles competitors.

The cabinet also did not support another part of the proposal that would have (1) removed the warm-up with the opponent before singles and doubles competition at the championships; (2) reduced the time between singles and doubles from 10 to five minutes; and (3) shorten each changeover from 90 seconds to 60.

Cabinet members believe the proposals need more vetting with coaches and student-athletes. However, they did suggest that the Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee explore additional format-change options for the championship and possibly present them when the cabinet convenes in February.

The cabinet did approve a change to the selection criteria that requires singles players to compete in at least six matches in the spring and for doubles teams to play at least five matches in the spring to be considered for selection into the NCAA championships.

Currently, singles players are required to play at least 13 matches combined through the fall and spring, and doubles teams must play at least 10 matches over the same time period. Those are still the minimums, but the tennis committee recommended the change to have more of the competition balanced between fall and spring. Committee members also believe that will gives them better information when it comes to making at-large selections.


SKILLMAN, NJ (Aug. 22) –The NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee re-convened on a conference call yesterday morning (August 21), and made the decision to remove from its recommendations the two items to which we were strongly opposed: (1) singles matches being played with a super-tiebreaker in place of a third set; and (2) doubles being played as one set with a tiebreaker at 6-all. (click to read the NCAA release)

*Email from ITA Executive Director David Benjamin to Division I Coaches (Aug. 22)*


SKILLMAN, NJ (Aug. 17) – The NCAA Division I Tennis Committee released online late Monday afternoon its report (click here to view) from its summer meeting on July 10-12, with very significant recommendations concerning the NCAA Division I Championships.
To briefly summarize, the two major recommended changes that would impact the championships are:
1) Beginning with the 2014 championship, only four teams would advance to the finals site. The championship would span three weekends--first weekend would be round of 64 and 32; second weekend would be round of 16 and 8, and finals site would be semifinals and finals.
2) In order to shorten the length of the dual meet match during the Championships, the NCAA Committee is recommending:

       A) Singles matches would use a super tiebreaker in lieu of playing a third set.

       B) Doubles would consist of a six-game set with a tiebreaker at six-all.
The proposed changes are enormous, and could have a revolutionary impact on the college game, well beyond the NCAA Championships.
With this in mind, on Tuesday afternoon the ITA set up an urgent and last minute conference call with the Chairs and several other members of the Operating Committee, and also some members of the ITA Task Force on Format Experimentation.  The NCAA Tennis Staff and Chairs of the NCAA Division I Committee were invited to join part of the ITA's call, in order to explain how they reached their decision to make these recommendations, and to answer questions from the ITA coaches.
The discussion was positive in tone and substance, and the NCAA group agreed to have a follow up conference call with the entire NCAA Division I committee early next week.
After discussions with the NCAA staff and chairs, the ITA agreed on the following points:
1) The main concern focused on the recommendation to reduce the length of a dual match by the implementation of a super tiebreaker for the third set in singles.  Everyone agreed that a full third set needed to be played. The six game doubles set was also discussed, and most of the coaches are not supportive of reducing the 8 game pro-set in doubles to playing one set with a tiebreaker at 6 all -- as this will further abbreviate an already shortened format. Nevertheless, although the coaches preferred the eight games, it was agreed that the most critical issue is the proposed super tiebreaker for the third set (the proposals to tweak the time in regards to no warm-up, 5 minutes between singles and doubles, and 60 second changeover were all acceptable).
2) It is imperative to act immediately to try to persuade the NCAA Tennis Committee to keep two out of three sets in dual meet singles play, and also, if possible, to keep the 8 game pro set for doubles.
3) The ITA will work with the USTA to make our case to the NCAA, and put together a joint letter to be co-signed by ITA Executive Director David A Benjamin and Patrick McEnroe, General Manager of USTA Player Development.

The NCAA Tennis Committee will be reconvening by conference call early this next week to discuss the ITA’s concerns and consider the possibility of modifying its proposal to the NCAA Championships/Sport Management Cabinet. 

The ITA will keep its membership updated as to any/all developments.  Your help and support is this matter is appreciated.  To join a Facebook discussion on this subject, click here.


USTA Statement on Proposed NCAA Changes to Collegiate Tennis (released earlier today)
The USTA is aware of the proposed format changes being made by the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee to the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships.  Working with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), the USTA is preparing a joint opposition letter to these changes.  The letter will be distributed to the committee in advance of its Monday, August 20th meeting.



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