Notes from 2nd USTA Town Hall Listening Meeting Nov 24, 2012

The following information was emailed to me by Jason Lampione – tennis coach, mentor, and writer – who was in attendance at the Rocky Hill, CT, “listening” meeting held by USTA.  These are simply Jason’s notes taken during the meeting – he will be compiling his own analysis of them over the next day or so which I will then post on ParentingAces for you to read.  

This second meeting was led by incoming USTA President Dave Haggerty and USTA Chief Executive of Community Tennis Kurt Kamperman and was attended by 30-40 (exact number unknown) parents and coaches.  I have inserted my comments in italics at the end of certain bullet points below.  

USTA released a statement via email to some key people after the meeting – that statement is posted in its entirety on the ParentingAces Facebook page.  Please read and share all of this information with other tennis parents and coaches so our voices will be heard.  Thank you.

NOTE:  I have edited the article based on comments shared by Bill Mountford of USTA – my edits are in ALL CAPS below.

  • In two years, we would like to see the USTA go from an 800 pound gorilla to a more balanced 400 pounds.  (D. Haggerty)
  • Communication and structure are problematic within the USTA.  (parent)  This is an issue that I’ve been discussing with various USTA committee members and staff.  They have to do a better job of communicating with the membership.  USTA has a Facebook page, is on Twitter, and sends out regular emails – the tools are in place.  There is no excuse for the lack of communication on these proposed changes and other relevant issues.
  • We’re going to reduce the cost of travel within each section of the USTA.  (D. Haggerty) How is USTA going to accomplish this feat?  They’re proposing to CREATE REGIONS now, potentially increasing the cost of travelling to tournaments.  Is USTA going to develop relationships with gasoline companies and airlines and hotel chains to give discounts to members?  If so, I’m in full support!
  • Kids at every level have better competition through earned attainment.  (K. Kamperman) I agree with this statement as it applies WITHIN sections.  However, we all realize that the strength between sections varies enormously, so if a player emerges as the best in a weak section then goes to a national event to compete against the best player in a strong section, I’m not sure how that’s better competition for the strong-section player. 
  • Our children are playing each other at least 5, 6 and even 7 times within the tournament format within our section.  (parent) That’s why it’s good to have the option to play OUTSIDE your section.  Why would USTA want to limit or eliminate that option?  I still don’t understand the reasoning here.
  • The regional format is pretty good.  (parent) I would question whether or not this parent has looked at the new region map and how much travel it could potentially involve.
  • Playing other regions gives better competition.  (parent) I agree.  Kids love the chance to play against new opponents.  That’s why we need to increase the opportunities to play nationally and increase the draws at those national events. 
  • Playing within only one region doesn’t allow for proper player development.  (parent) I think it depends upon the region.  But, generally speaking, yes, I would agree with this statement.  Playing a wider variety of opponents gives a developing player the opportunity to learn how to deal with a variety of tactics, making him/her into a more complete player.
  • The consensus is that variety is good!  (K. Kamperman) Yes, it is!
  • It is terrible that players cannot get on-court coaching.  (parent) That’s an issue for another day.
  • I spend all this money, and our players have very limited options.  (parent)
  • The pressure to perform and accumulate points in each round is incredible and very costly to us parents.  (parent) Pressure to perform is a big part of tennis, of any sport really.  If that pressure is harming your child, then maybe it’s time to find a different activity that is better-suited to the child’s temperament.  High-level competition is NOT for everybody!
  • You cannot limit a player’s potential just by their ranking or age.  (parent) I’m not exactly sure what this parent is saying.  I think we all agree that the current PPR ranking system could use some work.
  • Distance and travel, financially, is troublesome for certain parents, especially outside our region!  (parent)
  • In the Eastern section, I am being charged 25 dollars per each tournament main draw entry along with traveling expenses.  This is becoming too much for me and my husband to handle, financially speaking!  (parent) I think we can all agree that tennis is an expensive sport, especially if you’re trying to develop a player to the top echelons.  However, I must say I’m surprised by the $25 entry fee – we pay much higher fees ($45 and up) in our section, even at local tournaments.
  • International players are heavily marketed here in the United States, and our American counterparts are being singled out!  (parent) I’m not sure I understand this statement.  If someone could clarify for me, that would be helpful.
  • From experience, most USTA coaches only support players here in the United States who are highly ranked!  (parent) That’s a problem inherent in the Player ID and Player Development departments of USTA.  Those departments are charged with identifying players who have the potential to become our next American champions.  The question becomes: would the dollars allocated to paying the salaries of those coaches be better spent supporting local coaches who are developing top-level players in their own backyards?
  • The entire ‘talent id’ for pre-adolescents is a complete crap shoot.  (K. Kamperman) Amen, Mr. Kamperman!  I’m hoping to see USTA do away with this piece of the puzzle entirely and paint with a broader brush when using its financial resources for player development.
  • The Mid-Atlantic region converts every parent into a cash machine and is ultra selective as per the ability of the player they choose to work with.  (parent)
  • I feel that I should homeschool my child just so he/she can get ahead and attend a better school!  (parent) I still don’t understand how the proposed changes are going to reduce missed school days.  Can someone please explain that one to me?  Is homeschooling going to become the necessary norm for those wanting to achieve the highest levels in junior tennis?  Is it already the norm?
  • By expanding the participation base here in the United States, we have a wider audience to draw from, player-wise!  (K. Kamperman) Agree.
  • When my child is being coached at a club, I have no idea how to measure the quality of the program with regard to the training environment!  (parent) This is where USTA could really step in and prove to be a valuable resource to parents.  I hope the parent quoted here finds my blog and reads my series on Choosing A Coach!
  • I am in favor of increased draw sizes at the national level, tournament wise!  (parent) Me, too!
  • You [the USTA] need to make the draws more backended!  (parent) What does that mean?
  • We have to look at the structure, with regard to the rankings.  (K. Kamperman) I’m not sure what Mr. Kamperman is saying here.  Is he concerned about the current PPR ranking system?  If so, I’m very glad to hear that and hope that it is re-evaluated to include head-to-head competition.
  • There isn’t any other ranking system in any other sport that doesn’t come under heavy scrutiny!  (K. Kamperman)
  • I’d like to see more American players get more scholarships.  (D. Haggerty) Me, too, Mr. Haggerty!  How is USTA going to make that happen?  Is it going to take a firmer stand with NCAA and college coaches and athletic directors?  We need USTA to advocate for our kids in this regard.
  • I think it is good for both the American and International players to compete with one another.  (D. Haggerty) That is why the ITF circuit is such a great option for many players.
  • The USTA is not in the driver’s seat for college scholarships.  (K. Kamperman) Right.  Those rules are established by NCAA.  USTA could, however, take a stronger position and advocate for increased scholarships on the men’s side and for limiting the number of scholarships that go to international players.  The NJCAA has already paved the way.
  • The parents’ feedback and recommendations have no value with regard to influencing change within the USTA.  (parent) I think these listening meetings prove otherwise.  At the very least, USTA is making an effort to get feedback directly from those of us affected by these proposed changes.  Whether or not it acts on that feedback is yet to be seen.  I’m trying to remain hopeful.
  • The players from Florida and California are complaining that other sections have weaker competition.  (parent) The statistics confirm that fact.  I looked at the November 2012 National Standing List for the Boys 18s – the sections with the most players in the top 100 are (in order) Southern California (17), Texas & Southern (tied with 12), Florida & Eastern (tied with 10), and Midwest (9).
  • If I was running the USTA like a business, I don’t know why I would limit American players’ options!  (parent)
  • I think it is good business if the USTA supports the passion of players here in the US.  (parent)
  • The emotional rollercoaster that my child suffers, because of the extreme pressure in performing, is hampering his passion to wanna compete.  (parent) High-level competition isn’t for everyone.  Parents have to look at each child to determine what’s in his/her best interest.  One thing I will say is that, at least in the Southern section, there are many levels of competition from which to choose.  For a player who doesn’t thrive under the pressure of high-level play, there are other options to still compete but at a lower stress level.
  • Parents aren’t seeing developmental plans from USTA coaches.  (parent) Again, I feel like USTA could really be a positive force if it would become more of a guide for parents trying to navigate the complicated tournament and development system.
  • We’re gonna look at all recommended proposals and pass them on to section leaders.  (K. Kamperman) A question that was posed on the ParentingAces Facebook page: “What will compel USTA to change anything as a result of holding these ‘listening’ meetings?”  I would really like to hear USTA’s answer to this question as I think it’s a crucial piece of the puzzle.
  • A VOTE FROM THE USTA BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGARDING A PAUSE TO THE CHANGES FOR 2013 WILL TAKE PLACE IN DECEMBER 2012.  USTA LEADERSHIP WILL REVIEW FEEDBACK FROM THESE “LISTENING” MEETINGS DURING THE ANNUAL MEETING IN MARCH AFTER WHICH A VOTE WILL BE TAKEN ON HOW TO PROCEED IN 2014.   (K. Kamperman) This is why we need to communicate NOW with our section presidents and let them know our thoughts on these proposed changes.  Time is of the essence.
  • Currently, 88,000 kids play at all levels here in the US.  (K. Kamperman)
  • Increasing participation at the high school level will help increase the USTA bottom line, player-wise!  (coach) I have to disagree with this statement, at least insofar as high school tennis in Georgia is currently structured.  Our state high school association has passed an eligibility rule which will effectively eliminate all high-performance players from their high school teams.  The level of competition in our state’s high schools has become on par with recreational league tennis.
  • I travel from Rochester to NYC seven times a year and it is VERY costly and time-consuming.  (parent)
  • I wonder if the USTA is willing to pick up the traveling expenses for players who travel outside of their respective region.  (parent) I know my section (Southern) does have need-based scholarship funds available to help offset some of the costs of junior tennis.  I’m guessing other sections have something similar.
  • I’m on the board of player development for the New England section and am concerned about these new rule changes.  (coach)
  • There is no guarantee for our children, especially when we have to spend so much money for travel and tournament fees that I am beginning to think the investment isn’t worth it anymore!  (parent) That is a decision each family has to make for itself.  With my three kids, only one of whom is a tennis player, I’ve found that pursuing an interest to the point of mastery is expensive, whether it’s a sport or an art form.

The proposed dates for the remaining “listening” meetings are as follows:

December 16: ITA Convention (for convention attendees only), Naples FL
December 26: 16s & 18s Winter Nationals, Scottsdale, AZ
December 27: 12s & 14s Winter Nationals, Tucson, AZ
Jan. 10-13: Southern Section annual meeting, Atlanta, GA
Feb. 15-17: Texas Section annual meeting, Grapevine, TX

Let me say again that it is crucial that parents and coaches take the time to educate themselves on the issues and attend these meetings.  To read the proposed changes, click here.  If you can’t attend a meeting, then please use the new email address, letusknow@usta.com, to communicate your concerns to USTA.

35 Comments on “Notes from 2nd USTA Town Hall Listening Meeting Nov 24, 2012”

  1. An excellent written piece, Lisa! I am looking forward to submitting the final analysis, which will encompass the overall meeting structure, environment and the actual underlying feelings of concern that were expressed from both the parents and coaches with regard to the new rule change that will take affect in 2014!

  2. Lisa, I really appreciate all the work you do. The questions and particularly answers from the listening meeting very well reflect what is being stated on the comments section of your blog but not so much from yourself and a couple of others who repeatedly try to fight off the commenters. Such is good debate. As I read your statements from the meeting and not so much your comments it is clear that for those commenters in your blog who questioned your strategy of total reversal of the new rules it is pretty clear that they were right and this is a losing strategy. The President of the USTA sets the tone of his or her term and its pretty clear they continue to believe in earned advancement from the sections and do not approve of the overplaying and points chasing. I think the most you and those are your side of the discussion can expect is some continued education of things you do not agree with and some changes along the edges such as qualifiers for those who fall through the cracks. While I don’t doubt that Southern will once again be aggressive particularly at their home listening meeting I think they will fail once again and the majority of commenters to your site had it right. Thanks for listening to their views and posting them. One other final note on the USTA. If you want to see where the USTA is going then check on the President and who he or she appoints. Jon Vegosen had a particular idea which passed and a good deal of it was who he placed on the committees. There is no evidence of wholesale changes to the committees particularly junior competition that I have heard of at this time. That should tell you something.

    1. Adrienne identifies a key strategic point that should be considered. That being focusing on what change may be possible in the realm of qualfying draws at these tourneys where draws have been cut. Downside is that supremely confident and skilled players can skip tourneys, train like a pro and play practice matches and eat up a qualie spot. Don’t fool yourself about the liklihood of this practice being adopted. All that said, you may have a chance working for more qualie draws.

    2. adrienne, you sound as though you have the inside scoop, so please share what you know about mr. haggerty and his agenda as incoming president. i have heard that he is open to pausing the changes which is why these meetings are taking place. i sincerely hope that’s the case. you reference the questions and answers from the listening meeting – however, the points above aren’t in the form of questions and answers, so i’m not sure what you’re referring to. please note that the points in bold were from jason’s notes and the comments in italics are my reaction to them.

  3. A quick comment about the term “proposed changes” that you have used These are not proposed changes but rather existing rules. A couple of minor rules were put only on hold for 2013 and then must be implemented as will the majority of the rules in 2014. To make changes means going through the entire governance process with “proposed changes” The new rules clearly are not proposed;they are passed rules

  4. I agree that getting all of the new proposed rules “done away with” will be difficult if not impossible but in the last 2 years we have already endured the changes in level 2 and Regional Level 3 with the dimished draw sizes as well as the changes in national points awarded Can we just suggest to USTA that those changes are sufficient for now and leave the national tournaments as is – don’t go to the team concept for Winter Nationals – don’t change the draw sizes for summer Level 1s – let’s just see what effect long run these prior changes have in strengthening the national structure for the juniors.

  5. Jason… first of all, THANK YOU for attending Saturday’s listening session. Jason’s readers should know that, on a holiday weekend, he drove for more than four hours to be in attendance. EVERYONE should appreciate his effort, and I surely did. His comments were completely fair and coincided closely with the notes that I also took. Readers will recognize that there was a broad array of thoughts, comments and questions and, as you read from Jason’s account, some had little to do with the topic at hand. To that end, I encourage anyone who has a vested interest in this subject to please read the changes to the USTA National Junior Competition Structure, which Lisa kindly posted last week. Please cut and paste to go to this link which has the approved proposal: http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/15/USTA%20Structure%20-%20Extended%20Version%20v2%2020120330.pdf. Also, despite any differences that Jason has with the changes to the junior competition structure, his demeanor and approach was fair, even, and professional. There was one quote Jason offered that was inaccurate, and this was attributed to Kurt Kamperman. I recall Kurt saying that a vote from the USTA BoD regarding a pause to the changes for 2013 would take place in December. He went on to say that USTA leadership will review feedback from these Town Hall listening sessions during the annual meeting in March, after which a vote will be taken on how to proceed in 2014. That is a subtle, but distinct, difference. Basically, in December votes will be counted concerning the short-term pause; next March, mid- or long-term changes to the approved could be voted upon. While no less urgent, there is more time than Lisa indicated (in italics). Lisa… thanks for your coverage of this issue, and support of junior tennis. Your thoughts and opinions (in italics) were also fair. There were two, in particular, that I wanted to address. Neither Dave Haggerty nor the USTA junior competition committee suggested “extend(ing) the size of sections into REGIONS.” Rather, the proposal – which can be read online (link listed in paragraph 1 above) – indicates that L3 Regional Tournaments will consist of four distinct regions (and each of the regions will be comprised of specific USTA Sections; Region 3, for example, would include Eastern, Mid-Atlantic, Middle States, and New England). Lastly, Kurt Kamperman did indeed indicate that the USTA is “not in the driver’s seat” with the NCAA about governance over the numbers of scholarships to foreign players. Your thought, in italics, that the USTA should take a strong advocacy position on this topic is a good one and duly noted. We all agree that we want more competitive opportunities for American players and aspiring to compete collegiately is essential for most juniors. Again, THANKS for this coverage and passion. Please take my suggested edits constructively. If / when you have further thoughts, concerns, and questions, please send these to Letusknow@usta.com – every single message has been read. All the best, – Bill Mountford, USTA

    1. bill, thank you for your comments and clarifications! i will edit the piece to indicate the changes as you suggest – my apologies if i misinterpreted something in jason’s notes.

      one thing i would ask you to clarify for me (and for my readers) is the state of these 2013 and 2014 changes. my understanding was that, yes, the changes had been proposed and approved but that these listening meetings were an opportunity for USTA to backtrack a bit and gather input from its constituents before actually implementing them. my understanding was also that the USTA Jr Comp Committee would be voting in december on whether to pause the changes which would then be voted on by the BoD in March. if either of those statements are inaccurate, please let me know so i’m not perpetuating incorrect information. thank you!

  6. The “pause” is a done deal whether done through the junior competition committee or directly through the BOD. The details really do not matter. The rest of the rules changes are already existing law and not proposals and nothing is on the table anywhere to go through the arduous process of rules changes.

  7. Interesting comments. I still am so skeptical about these “listening” meetings. Am at Eddie Herr, wouldn’t be able to pick a USTA representative out of a line up.unfortunately. We are done here, so maybe they will be around to mingle later.

  8. The USTA can speak for themselves of course but my sense is that they feel they did not educate the players and parents properly and not that they are wrong in what they are doing. They may have been too fast but were not wrong in their ideas

      1. To address the quick questions and comments:

        1) Carl and others… Please feel assured that these listening sessions are being taken seriously.
        2) AJT and others… The listening sessions have had widely varied topics thus far, but that’s because the floor was opened to any parent or coach to ask questions, make comments, or offer concerns.
        3) Lisa and others… In December, the USTA BoD will be voting on a proposed call item put forth by the Junior Comp Committee relative to the 2013 national junior tournament schedule – to change the draw sizes for the Boys’ and Girls’ 18s & 16s USTA National Clay Courts and the USTA National Championships (hard courts) from 128 to 192, reversing the reduction in draw size previously approved by the USTA Executive Committee on March 19, 2012. Next March, after the listening tour, USTA leadership will review any proposed refinements / changes to the approved 2014 national junior tournament schedule.

        1. so, bill, if i understand you correctly, there is still the possibility that USTA will decide to amend the 2013 and 2014 changes? and, under the current USTA governance procedures, the incoming president and BoD can, at its March 2013 Annual Meeting, make those changes which would supersede the changes passed in March 2012? what will compel the BoD to change anything?

  9. Lisa

    I really can’t see these listening sections being productive, they may even be counter productive. There’s really no organization and from the two so far I can’t see the next ones are going to get anymore focused on the issue at hand, junior tournament system changes. What’s to stop people from showing up and complaints about lack of tournament refs, high school tennis, etc.I think the session would actually be more productive if they were Q&A session, rather than “listening sessions”. By this I mean the USTA should be there to answer the questions abut the changes, rather than to just listen to people.

    I’d like to see you put together a list of questions for USTA on your website, not so much talking points, but specific questions that deserve to be answered with more than flippant remarks about “point chasers” and “we believe in earned advancement” (the rest of us believe in a lottery system ??? I’m getting pretty tired of that talking point)

    I’ll start.

    1. One of the underlying core principles of the changes earned advancement through the sections and reducing national competition to drive play back to the sectional level. What is being done to ensure that there are increased sectional play opportunities to compensate for the loss of national/regional opportunities ? Will sections be held accountable ? How does eliminating six of 12 sectional opportunities with national ranking points provide for increase opportunities for section ?

    2. Why eliminate the Winter Nationals ? Is is becuase the top 32-64 players just finished Eddie Herr, and the Orange Bowl, and would prefer to rest over Christmas and get ready for the new January team event? I want to believe the USTA when they say these changes are in the interest of the masses and not the elite, but changes like this make it hard.

    1. ajt, thank you for your comment! i will take your suggestions and see what other questions i can come up with to add to the list. we have a couple of weeks before the next “listening” meeting, so maybe that will be enough time to get something useful together. again, thank you!

  10. Two interesting questions:

    1. Do not mistake sectional ranking points from national ranking points. The sections should be able to order their players with no national ranking points at all. Sections do need to rise to the occasion. Perhaps they should have listening tours.

    2. Tweaks in the national schedule are always open for good debate. We seem to have moved far afield from the idea of removing everything especially since this is not going to happen.

    1. Derrick

      I am not mistaking sectional and national ranking points, I understand the difference. While sections do have the leeway to rank their own players, many if not, most of the sections, particularity the smaller ones, generally run a circuit of, not coincidentally, 12 events, to determine these sectional standings. They utilize their own point tables, and award both sectional and national points. Its not clear all sections will rise, some may in fact shrink to the occasion, and just hold six events. That gets to the heart of the question. Most of the changes seem to have the philosophy that if the USTA stops having national/regional tournaments, the sections will just naturally fill the gap. So, my question is how do they know this is going to happen ? What are they doing to ensure it ? Or am I wrong and this is not the intention at all, they just want less tournaments/competition at all levels ?

  11. AJT took the words out of my mouth. Other than the gracious posts by Bill Mountford, I too am tired of patronizing, arrogant, flippant and anonymous comments by people on this blog and elsewhere (who may well be from the USTA) about how everything is a done deal, earned advancement and chasing points. As AJT said, everyone supports earned advancement. Chasing points as a significant issue has been amply debunked and, in any case, is not even remotely a good enough reason to slash national opportunities by 80%.

    Maybe I am a Pollyanna, but I believe there are people at the USTA who are not tone-deaf, who want to listen, who have come to understand the depth of opposition, and who are willing to reconsider the changes. Am I optimistic that we’ll see all the changes the tennis community wants? No, because, like at all institutions, people get entrenched in their positions and get defensive. Still, I hope something good will come from the listening tour. The simple fact that they are listening is progress.

  12. And I should also mention that Patrick McEnroe was very surprised in Little Rock when he spoke about how there would be an increase in sectional opportunities and I told him that Florida had been aggressively CUTTING opportunities for the past couple of years and that more cuts were planned for next year. My understanding is that there has been no real coordination with the sections to ensure greater opportunities.

  13. I guess if you do not agree with Antonio’s position you are patronizing, arrogant, and flippant. So much for advancing the dialogue. Where we can agree however is on the issue of anonymous comments. Collette at Zootennis seems to define anonymous comments as the difference between the word anonymous and an unidentified handle. This type of bogus difference kills her website and hurts potentially other web sites as well. Advancing Antonio’s suggestions it is possible to do what Gannett Newspapers does and require everyone to create a facebook account and enter using that account. They do not allow anonymous comments. In Collette’s case which is a sponsored site don’t expect her to do this because she needs web traffic, even low level anonymous web traffic. However Lisa you have the opportunity to raise the dialogue here and do the Gannett model and follow Antonio’s suggestion. You will get less comments of course but better quality comments perhaps even some from the dastardly USTA who tell me they do not get involved with anonymous comment web sites.

    1. honestly, frank, at this point i just want to let anyone and everyone who chooses to comment do so. if they don’t have the confidence or chutzpah to put their name on their comment, oh well. some parents, like it or not, fear that commenting publicly could come back to haunt their child in terms of retaliation by USTA, so they choose to remain anonymous. what does that say about members’ perception of our national tennis federation? your slam at ZooTennis, however, is unfounded and untrue. colette does an amazing job and does it at her own expense. yes, her site has sponsors, but the income there doesn’t come close to covering the cost of her travel and other related expenses. she fills a huge gap that USTA has left wide open, namely covering junior and college tennis in an almost-immediate manner and in such a way that is accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

    2. Frank

      re: Anonymous comments : huh ? Isn’t “Frank” an anonymous handle ? I believe Lisa knows who both of us. Are you any less anonymous than me ? Why do you need to know who the commenters are ?

      Kudos to Antonio and Lisa for being so public with their identities. For your information, here is who I am : a nobody, at least as far as tennis is concerned. , I have never trained a junior champion. I don’t runa tennis academy. I am just a typical parent of two kids who play tennis. I am not interested in ad hominem attacks on myself, or my player, and I try to avoid them on others. I try to lay out my arguments clearly an polite, but I don’t attempt to argue from a position of authority so it should not matter who I am.

      I don’t think any of my posts are hawking viagra websites, I think most of them consists of reasoned opinions and questions.

      1. again, anonymity isn’t the real issue here, so let’s move on. i have the sole authority to approve each and every comment on this blog – i choose to approve every single one instead of omitting those without identifying information because i understand that not everyone is comfortable sharing their name here. yes, i know some of these comments are from USTA insiders. yes, i know some are from parents who are afraid of USTA retaliation against their children. i appreciate all of them because i do not purport to know everything (or even very much!) or to have any or all of the answers but i’m happy and relieved to be able to provide a forum in which, hopefully, the answers may be uncovered. i think every person reading this blog is committed to making junior tennis the best it can be. can we all, at least, agree on that?

  14. The topic of anonymous comments is an important topic and should not have been dismissed so easily. While you are responding to Frank this discussion appears to have been prompted by Antonio who seems very supportive of your positions. I don’t know Zootennis or its author but the topic of anonymous comments would appear to be relevant there as well. There are those you might want to hear from that feel if they have to identify themselves then so should everyone else.

    1. gary (and frank), respectfully, please don’t throw this discussion off-track. whether or not a person puts his/her name on a comment isn’t the issue here. the issue is finding a way to put a halt to these 2014 changes. period.

  15. The way that the rules changes occurred was that Jon Vegosen wanted them and believed in them. He pushed hard for them and was successful much to your dismay. It is clear that those who oppose the changes have a high volume but it is hard to tell the quantity. You certainly don’t see quantity support from this site though you so see intensity among those who do object. My advice would be to convince David Haggerty to reverse the rules that have already passed. He is the only one who can. The problem is for you inside baseball people that Dave heavily supported the rules changes as first vice president and actually campaigned for them. While Dave is a good guy who truly wants to listen the odds of him putting a halt to the 2014 changes in full is about zero. You should try for specificity on a few items. Bill Mountford can confirm this for you. You need to get a practical strategy.

  16. Frank and Gary, I have spoken out repeatedly about how BOTH sides should be civil and respectful in order for this important discussion to be productive for our kids and the sport (if you’d like to see, go to the Robert Gomez discussion on Tennis Insiders). I also did not prompt the discussion here, AJT (whom I don’t know) did.
    I focused my comments on the “other” side here, because, as AJT pointed out, there have been a slew of harsh, anonymous postings on this string and on anther string on Lisa’s blog. The tone of those comments has included things like “it’s a done deal, get used to it, why are you bothering to discuss something the USTA won’t change, entitled kids, point buyers, point chasers, kids who don’t earn their way,” etc. I’m sorry, Frank, but it’s that kind of talk that is not advancing the dialogue. I am grateful to USTA folks, including Bill Mountford, who have engaged in the discussion civilly and productively, even if we don’t agree.

    1. Lets start with a joke :

      A man walks up to a well dressed lady at a fancy ball.

      Man : Miss, would you sleep with me for $10M dollars ?
      Woman : Yes.
      Man : Would you sleep with me for $1 ?
      Woman : Sir, what do you think I am ?
      Man : Mam, we have already established what you are, we are merely negotiating the price.

      Here’s why I consider comments about “Earned Advancement” flippant. Unless you take the Bryan Principle to the extreme, and are advocating a 17 player championship of just the sectional champions, no wild cards, then, as the joke goes, we have already established what you are. I find it flippant to argue that those who want 128 kids in the draw believe in earned advancement but those who want 192 do not. I tells me the person arguing either does not truly comprehend the changes, and/or is just regurgitating party rhetoric for the sake of advancing their objective.

      As for the point chasing/point buying, Antonio has thoroughly debunked that canard. I believe that many people just don’t understand how the current system works, including the people changing it.

      As I have said, I have posted serious questions and Antonio has too that I think are worthy of better responses. If they choose not to answer them becuase I am anonymous, so be it.

      I don’t remember using the phrases arrogant and patronizing, but it would not take very long to go through the posts and find some that fit that description.

  17. Leon’s post is emblematic of something that really confuses me: is there really any doubt about the depth of the opposition to the changes? A thousand people sign a difficult-to-find petition, hundreds of people opposing the changes show up at USTA meetings ay the national championships in August (Patrick McEnroe’s first words at the Little Rock meeting:”Did you see the sign on the door? No guns allowed.”), hundreds of posts against the changes on this and othe websites, a myriad anti-change conversations at tournaments among parents, players, refs, TDs, and coaches? Do you think the USTA would have moved to pause the changes in 2013 if there wasn’t a realization that the changes were deeply unpopular?

  18. I would be interested to know how many parents were contacted or had conversations with these men from the USTA reonsible for theses changes. We all know nothing will change because we know the caliber of the people at theUSTA. I picture a bunch of men playing golf to discuss, then confirming at some board room while smoking cigars….probably at some fabulous location all on the USTA dime.I have 2 grandparents like that. Jovial men who make decisions amongst themselves, then don’t budge..to save face. One confirming the other. If they venture outside of the safe circle amongst the plebes it’s a cruel hard world out there. Better to fake it, “we had …ahem..listening meetings”

    Where are these people at the major tournaments? They should have a desk, a sign and a human being, with 2 ears and 1 mouth.

    Or even simpler… Asuggestion box. Could even be done electronically. Would require a real name..from both parties.

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