35 Comments

  1. Lisa, At first glance, I think I could live with this new schedule. Granted I have not looked at all the particulars etc. Closed regionals...I believe may cause more travel and expense for some sections. Playing the same kids from the same sections.....for the entirety of ones junior career...could get very old? But.... I'll be honest...it's way better than I thought...I can see where some compromises were made. Want to thank everyone..USTA..Parents ,Coaches, etc......... this debate only showed how passionate we are to this great Sport.

  2. I'm compiling a list of questions to ask the Committee. If you would like me to add YOUR questions to my list, please email them to me at fitmom@bellsouth.net.

  3. So, the hard courts were cut to 128? I thought for sure they would leave it at 192. Biggest vehicle for college coaches to see the players.

    • Don't forget - they added a 64-draw qualifier where 8 players get spots in the main draw . . . so, in essence, 192 still get a shot . . . sort of . . .

  4. First reaction : Warm Up Tournament ? Seriously, all the people in that room and they couldn't come up with a better name ? Anyway, still digesting. There is definitely some good, some bad, and some ugly. Some obvious "compromises" that I think people will look back on some day and say "Who thought that was a good idea?"

  5. Yes some compromises were made. It's great that the winter National was saved. The National Selection tournaments have 4 sites, 3 L2 and 1 L3 - pretty close to what we have now for L2 national Opens. It's interesting that the new changes leave a door open for top kids who don't play sectional tournaments to play the Clay and Hard Court Supernationals - they can use 8 wild cards or play the qualification tournament. A 64-draw qualification for 18s Easter Bowl ITF is a good addition. 12-16s Easter Bowls will have a draw of 64, 50% reduction from this year, but 2X more than the old proposal. The most losses in opportunities are from elimination of the current Regional Segment L3. Well, the new changes are surely better than the old ones.

  6. After doing a quick reading of all documents, I highly recommend that you take the time to read the 28-pager. It describes in much more detail the proposed changes and specifically shows the changes from the original 2014 schedule.

  7. The original 2014 proposals were flawed on a structural and practical level - structural in the form of quotas and the dual national pathway and practical in the dramatic reduction in competitive opportunities. Credit to Dave, Kurt and the committee for adding back some of those lost opportunities but let's remember we will still be down substantially on 2012 and even more from 2010. Unfortunately the committee did nothing to address the core structural problems with the proposal and in some ways made them worse. Quotas remain the sole method of selection for the main draw of the national championships - this is ill advised and will not result in the best 128 kids competing in the event. The large strong sections like So Cal and Florida will be under represented while kids in the smaller sections will be faced with playing the same kids over and over again. Nobody wins. What if Hawaii has a cluster of 3 really good players one year - bad luck! In terms of the dual pathway things are now even worse - here is a quick summary... Level 1 - 3 National Championships selected exclusively by sectional quota or WC. 2 National Championship qulaifiers selected off the NSL Easter Bowl selected off the NSL (ex 18's ITF) Team event selected off the NSL Level 2 - all events selected off the NSL with aging up opportunities Level 3 - half the events selected off the NSL with aging up and half selected through quotas with no aging up opportunity Level 4 - closed events selected entirely by quota held concurrently with the level 2's It's possible and in fact even quite likely that a kid ranked 5 in Soc Cal or Florida might be selected into the level 4 and not into the level 2 ahead of a kid ranked 20 who will make it into the level 2 and not the level 4 - just doesn't make a lot of sense. There is no logical progression from level 4's to the level 3's to the level 2's to the national championships - players will be all over the map even more so than the original proposals. So yes - there are some good thing here - the Easter Bowl , reintroduction of the Winter Nationals, aging up opportunities and more playing spots but at the end of the day it's still convoluted and inaccessible. Unfortunately this is about as sensible a tournament structure as sequester is a budget policy!

  8. Tough thing is if you are on boundary of other sections you can drive (in our case ) to southerns (2hrs). Pennsylvania in 2 .. Instead in mw we will fly with a connecting flight to Texas northern or mo valley....closed regional For what to play same kids ? Seems it would be better to open the regionals and close only one. .. Can't imagine all the players in border states forced to fly instead of drive....

  9. I agree with much of what was stated above. We should be thankful that the USTA listened and put forth a strong, good faith effort to increase opportunities, and they certainly have done so. However, I think trying to do it all in less than 48 hours was more than anyone could be reasonably expected to achieve. As a result, I know people on both sides of the issue who weren't clear on everything approved or on all the consequences of what was approved. The biggest problems, in my opinion are the doubling of the quotas for level 1s (they were left in place) and the massive reduction in the number of Level 3 tournaments. The level 3s have gone from 1036 national opportunities per category today to 384 in the approved changes to only 196 in the current proposal. That is a HUGE decrease that almost single-handedly washes out the proposal's increase in level 1 and level 2 opportunities. There will only be four open, concurrent, 32-draw level 3s on Memorial Day Weekend and one 64-draw "warm-up" tournament before hard courts that will be played near the hard-court tournament site. I question the wisdom of that choice: will 12-year-old boys really want to spend an extra four days in the 100-degree Little Rock heat? Will anyone want to play a tournament in the dead of summer right before hard courts with no time to recover? Interestingly, the quotas are not even mentioned in the "rationale" section of the call item (the 28-page document that details the proposals), clearly because they are too much of political hot potato. Bottom line, the quotas are being doubled from what we have today and become virtually the only way to get into supernationals. I and others have written repeatedly (see Geoff Grant above) about the injustices involved in the quotas TODAY and we are basically doubling down and making the problem twice as bad. NOBODY, not even supporters of the changes, have argued that the quotas are fair, that they make sense, or that they will make tournaments more competitive (in fact, they will have the opposite effect of the stated goal of the changes, to have the "best play the best"). So why wasn't the problem dealt with? Why do the quotas remain? SECTIONAL POLITICS. SECTIONAL POLITICS MATTER MORE THAN FAIRNESS. The unfairness is magnified by having fewer level 2s and level 3s than we have today. Kids who make quota in their section will be the "new rich" who will be guaranteed national play at whatever level they want, while kids who don't make quota will never get to play anything other than level 4s. Why? Because the point structure so disproportionately rewards kids who play level 1s. For example, in the 14s at winter nationals, the 19th-ranked applicant from Southern (yes, Southern gets 19 kids into winter nationals) who gets a good draw and happens to beat the 15th-ranked applicant from the Midwest (yes, Midwest gets 15 kids into the tournament), earns 75 points, even if he never wins another match. You would need to make the semis of a level 2, take at least 3rd place in a level 3 or WIN a level 4 to get more points. In other words, you'd need to win a SoCal or Florida sectional to get as many points as a player who probably wouldn't win a round in a SoCal or Florida sectional. Again, I'm not arguing for a radical overhaul of the quotas. Leave them where they are today, where they account for half the entries and then let kids earn their way into a level 1 by fighting their way up the national rankings. Don't exclude them with arbitrary numbers. If not, section heads, please have the courage to go on record about why you support these quotas. If the quotas must remain, the JCC will need to seriously look at the point structure to try and minimize the unfairness. They should also look at adding some level 3s by creating a new segment or by changing some level 4s to 3s. If not, the quotas guarantee that the new system will do the opposite of what it was supposed to do.

    • My biggest disappointment is that there are still only six(6) sectional tournaments with national ranking points, (2) L3’s and (4) L4’s. This is a huge problem that was ignored and will hurt both big and small sections in different ways. Small sections are going to reduce the number of tournaments they have, not increase them. However, combined with the collapse of the L3’s, good players in small sections are going to be able to consolidate their points and dominate the NSL’s, which provide entry to the new qualifiers and L2’s. So, I don't except those SoCal kids and Florida kids to get access to the L1 qualifiers and other events through the NSL, points are so diluted in those sections they are going to have a hard time even qualifying for the qualifiers.

  10. To clarify, I'm not saying the 19th "ranked" kid in Southern or the 15th kid in Midwest wouldn't win a round in a Florida or SoCal sectional. It's just that with quotas as large as those contemplated, kids who are way below 19 or 15 will get into the level 1s. In the last winter national, a boy ranked 89th in Southern got in under his section's quota and that's despite the fact that the current quotas are smaller.

    • You beat me to it Antonio. I was just about to mention that about the 89th ranked player, and that was when they had 13, now they have 19, how far down the list will they go now?. That's just crazy. Our third ranked kid won't be able to get in but pretty much anybody who can pick up a rack and afford a plane flight from Atlanta will. I guess that's what they call earned advancement.

      • Ok, y'all need to back off our Southern kids! They work just as hard as everyone to earn their place in these tournaments. And, we have plenty of kids with a Southern address who actually live and train in Florida yet take quota spots under the Southern umbrella, so, really, you folks in Florida should say thank you! Seriously, though, the underlying issue is the elimination of entry under the NSL, so let's stay focused on that and do our best to get that opportunity back for ALL our kids.

  11. I agree with you, AJT. If, as you and Geoff mentioned, Hawaii has a cluster of three great players, in an extreme example, one could be the third best player in the country and not make quota. On the other hand, those three players could rack up the points in sectional play and have no trouble getting into all the other nationals by soaring up the NSL. On the other hand, kids in the stronger sections would see their points so diluted that they'd have a hell of a time getting into anything. This is not just speculation. In Florida sectionals this past weekend, in every boys' category, four seeds didn't make the quarters. In the 14s, two unseeded players made the finals. Neither had ever made a sectional semi before.

  12. Sorry Lisa. Your'e right. But the issue is not the players it's a ridiculous quota system. The simple fact is southern had 13 quota spots for a tournament that is just not that popular in your neck of the woods. You had a difficult time filling 13 spots now you have to fill 6 more. Similarly, we have two quota spots for the clays which I bet will go unused. How about we trade, we get 4 spots for winters and you can have 21 for clays ? That's one of the issues - the one size fits all quota system, same quota for all tournaments for all age groups, even though the data clearly shows that's wrong.

  13. Exactly. The strength of each age group and gender is different. In some cases, the differences can be huge (for example, when I looked a while back, there were two categories in Florida that were significantly weaker than the others). One-size-fits-all quotas are inherently unfair. As Lisa said, the underlying issue is the elimination of entry under the NSL. if they must keep quotas, keep them at the current level, don't double their relevance!

  14. Antonio and others. I agree with what you are saying and think that quotas are not the perfect answer. However, I am somewhat impressed that there was a good deal of movement by the USTA. Winter Nats and a changed, but limited, Easter Bowl are quite a victory- and deal with the "Outliers" issue to a certain degree. Not perfect, but much better..and I live in the southern section so.... :)

  15. Tweet, Tweet – March 7, 2013 | Adirondack Tennis

  16. In comparing Southern Cal Boys 16/18 2012 competitors in Clay ,Hard, and Winter National Championships, the exclusion of NSL list in favor of increased section quotas in the proposed Nat'l 2014 changes would have eliminated over 30% of SoCal Boys IN THOSE TOURNAMENTS B16 Clay's werent as affected as 13 SCTA competitors were in both. B18 Clay's would go from 16 down to 13 SCTA Competitors B16 Hard would go from 19 down to 12 SCTA Competitors B18 Hard would go from 22 down to 12 SCTA Competitors B16 Winters would go from 19 down to 13 SCTA Competitors B18 Winters would go from 20 down to 13 SCTA Competitors The SCTA and other sections/board should not eliminate the NSL list as a selection method for the Nat'l Championships. A multi-pathways such as the current system is much fairer and gives players a choice of a varied balance of local/national/pro tournaments. Here,there are quotas, the NSL and a Natl Champions list The USTA could consider increasing the quotas slightly with the 60/40 configuration, very slightly reducing NSL #'s, decreasing substantially or eliminating Nat'l Championship list, and or reducing wild cards. Ths NSL list needs to be included in the selection process of Nat'l Championships to be fair to stronger Sections like SCTA That facts and numbers in the B16 and B18 divisions are CLEAR. The SCTA Section administration has been supportive of the total quota selection system. I as many were less focused on that, just hoping to retain the tournaments and draw #'s. The astute comments on this blog have highlighted the need and advocacy for the use of NSL selection list in NAtl Championships. I hope the SCTA leadership and,president Greg Hinkey see the need in the best interest of the SCTA. Letusknow@usta.com is a good feedback tool, wouldn't it be great and better if it or another usta.site was a blog format as this one? Where Bill Mountford or other USTA admin officials could comment and or clarify? I had suggested this to Lew Brewer and Jr Comp Committee since summer of 2010 when the 2011 changes handed to US...as well as a significant vetting period. The USTA system is getting better.

  17. Besides Lisa I count three named and recognizable individuals. This is important because one should not give excessive weight to this blog versus all of the other players and parents involved in junior tennis. However the "quota" issue is a reasonable discussion. The new rules based on the listening tour and other venues address many of the issues but not the quota issue. This can always be revisited. For now it would seem that if a player cannot qualify through their section, or cannot qualify through a 64 player qualifier or cannot get a wild card they will not gain access to some tournaments but will gain access to others. Even as I write this I have to wonder if a player cannot qualify through the three roads mentioned should they really make an argument for another route of entry? An interesting debate.

    • Esther, I'm not sure what you mean by "one should not give excessive weight to this blog versus all of the other players and parents involved in junior tennis". This is simply a forum for interested parties to come together and discuss the issues affecting our junior players. The blog is read by and shared with thousands of people across the world. That every one of them doesn't choose to comment is not an indication of whether or not it is providing useful information or facilitating change. I have heard that the quota issue was avoided during the Dallas meeting. Why is that? As the parent of a player in Southern, I'm happy that our section's quota is remaining larger because it could be helpful for my own child. However, I'm not here ONLY for the benefit of my son. I'm here because junior tennis is in trouble in this country and because I don't feel USTA is doing enough at this point to help change the direction. And, I agree that quotas should not be the sole determining factor of who gets to play our biggest national events even though that will be my son's best chance of making it to those events this summer. Let's hope USTA is still reading and listening . . .

  18. Esther, we are posting on this blog because we know the USTA reads it. Simple as that. The fact that an awful lot of parents and kids also read it is obviously significant. You admit the discussion is an important one. Why was the gratuitous and erroneous attack on the blogs and those who post here necessary? The listening tour did address the quota issue. This blog had an extensive quota discussion months ago. I personally raised the quota issue at our meeting in Chicago, and before that with Patrick McEnroe in Little Rock in August and at a Florida meeting in June. What has become clear is that nobody wants to deal with quota unfairness because of unspecified sectional politics. When the issue is raised, nobody wants to take ownership of the issue, just implying that quotas are somehow the third rail of junior tennis. How can quotas be "revisited," as you suggest? If this call item is approved we're stuck with them. "Three roads to qualify"? Getting a wild card is not something earned. It's a gift. Sure, you can earn one of eight spots through the new qualifiers in the 16s and 18s, but there are no qualifiers for the younger categories. There's only one real road to get into level 1s in the changes: quotas. You are trying to distract from that truth. You then question whether players would deserve to play if they didn't get in through your "three roads." That ignores a few simple facts: Even if the NSL were partially considered for entry to level 1s as it is today, players from strong sections are hugely underrepresented on the NSL. When you compare head-to-head rankings, such as Tennis Information to the NSL, strong sections such as Florida and SoCal have only about half as many players on the NSL. Why? The tough competition already dilutes the points in those sections, while a few players in a weak section can rack up points because you get as many points in the Northern sectional as you do in SoCal's. And now, kids from strong sections will be even more severely handicapped from getting into the top 200 in the NSL because the quotas will now be virtually the ONLY road to get highly ranked. Go see the comments above. The point structure will severely inhibit the ability of anyone who doesn't make quota to play any tournaments below level 4. I've shown similar numbers for Florida to those put forth for SoCal above by Mike Gealer. I have yet to hear anyone, even supporters of the changes, say that the quotas make sense and will make the tournaments stronger. But, when that point is raised, there's an immediate retreat to the "third rail" argument, that somehow "the sections" refuse to discuss the issue. It's been amply proven that the quotas will disproportionately hurt SoCal and Florida kids. Where are the heads of SoCal and Florida on the issue? Why aren't they speaking out? Who wants the quotas? Stand up and own your issue if you so strongly favor it. And again, while we'd love a total transformation of the quota system, all we are asking is that we don't DOUBLE the quotas and double the unfairness of the system.

  19. http://www.tennisrecruiting.net/article.asp?id=1633&fb_action_ids=10151540007011410&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map={%2210151540007011410%22%3A150645611761810}&action_type_map={%2210151540007011410%22%3A%22og.likes%22}&action_ref_map=[] This is one of the events eliminated in both the original and proposed 2014 schedule. Please read the article (posted on TennisRecruiting.net) to understand the impact this will have on our junior players. If you hit the Ctrl button while clicking the link, it will open in a new window.

    • A point that was made to me about Spring Nationals is that this event has traditionally been a valuable college recruiting tournament since many college coaches are already in the area for the Blue-Grey. It's a real shame to see this event eliminated from the schedule under the 2014 change.

  20. My understanding is that both Florida and Southern California support the quota system. Odd based on what Antonio is saying.

  21. I'm not sure that's true about SoCal anymore (and if SoCal supports them after seeing Mike Gealer's numbers, they should explain why). I know some people in the Florida hierarchy know the quotas will hurt Florida's numbers in national tournaments but believe nothing can be done because of sectional politics. The section heads should speak out and say where they stand.

  22. Quota Comparison Between 2012 & 2014 | ParentingAces

  23. I will forward these numbers and perspective to the SCTA administration and Jr Council. As I writing this...The SCTA admin will be looking into a vetting feedback forum online. The sections have only 10 days before Annual Nat'l Mtg B16 Clay’s werent as affected as 13 SCTA competitors were in both. B18 Clay’s would go from 16 down to 13 SCTA Competitors B16 Hard would go from 19 down to 12 SCTA Competitors B18 Hard would go from 22 down to 12 SCTA Competitors B16 Winters would go from 19 down to 13 SCTA Competitors B18 Winters would go from 20 down to 13 SCTA Competitors These numbers were from 2012 competitors list Clay and Hard are going from 196 to 128 draw So the 30% would go from Main to qualifiers RE: Winters the over 30% will not get in

  24. While the proposed change to the 2014 changes show that the Jr Comp Committee has been listening and suggesting in the right direction Some adjustments would make it better Easter Bowl to 128 draw.... more playing opportunities for more players National selection(Formerly Natl opens) to 64 draws more playing opportunities The 2011 reduction was and is unpopular NOBODY has liked 32 draw it bring them back ASAP in 2013

  25. A big issue of this proposal is the section based quota approach for L1 tournaments. The sectional quota are totally flawed since 1)It is based on the previous years result instead of the current level; 2)The 40% size factor makes huge difference to the cutline for different section that has nothing to do with the player strength level (which is relevant to the selection). 3)It does not make any age/gender adjustment within the same section, but player strength in most sections are not evenly distributed across the age and gender group.4)No NSL based qualification for the main draw (other than qualify match) just removed the biggest equalizer for the existing qualification process. (this is why the outcry of the unfair quota is only very small currently). If this is good or bad for your kids depends on which section you are at and how strong your kid's age/gender division. But it is not going to be fair in a much bigger scale than it is currently. I can totally see kids ranked outside of 300 nationally make it in one section/age division and several kids ranked in the top 100 in another section have to play the qualify tournament. This is going to be a huge disaster for USTA, I hope they realize this before it is too late to change.

  26. Lisa, Without knowing more in detail, but based on where you are, I will guess your son probably will benefit from the current proposed qualification system. I admire both your courage and fairness in this whole experience. I wish the best for you and your son.

  27. Lisa has been incredibly fair in looking out for all US tennis kids, not just hers. There is another good discussion on the quotas in a more recent post of Lisa's, along the lines of the very good points made here by California Tennis Parents.

  28. 2014: What Are Our Options? | ParentingAces

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