Junior Tournaments & Rankings

Quota Insanity

insanity

More unintended consequences?  Thank you to Antonio Mora, Emmy-winning journalist and tennis parent, for sharing the following information with all of us:

In the boys’ 14s of the upcoming Winter Nationals, the boy ranked 211 in the country on the day entries closed, did not make the cut. But the player ranked 955 (!!!!) was selected, even though almost 90 higher-ranked players were excluded. In the girls’ 18s, the player ranked 333 didn’t get in, but #965 did. In the boys’ 16s, the player ranked 204 didn’t make the cut, but #442 did. Boys 18s, 288 out, 713 in. Girls’ 16s, 250 is out, 731 in.

How does this happen? Kids who aren’t highly ranked managed to squeeze in under their section’s quota. Under current rules, only sixty kids out of the 128 are accepted through quotas, but it still creates the huge injustice described above. Imagine what will happen if the 2014 changes go into effect and 112 kids are selected through sectional quotas. It will mean the USTA is doubling down, dramatically increasing the importance of the quotas that are creating the injustice, and extending the injustice beyond supernationals to regional tournaments as well. (The impact of the future doubling of the quotas will be very mildly softened by a strength component that’s being added into the quota calculations in 2014.)

Another irony is that the USTA is eliminating Winter Nationals in 2014. One of the arguments given to support that decision is that very-low-ranked kids are getting into the tournament. Talk about circular logic: the USTA creates the quotas that lead to low-ranked kids getting into a tournament, and then they kill the tournament because the low-ranked kids got in!

Having a minimal quota per section (two players) is understandable so all sections are represented. But why, if the USTA is truthful in saying that the 2014 changes are focused on “earned advancement” and on “the best playing the best,” would they take a clearly flawed quota system and make it worse in 2014?

Full disclosure: a few of the kids who weren’t initially selected will get in this year’s tournament if the USTA doesn’t give out all eight of its wild cards or as selected kids drop out. Also, my son didn’t make the first cut even though he would have done so comfortably if quotas and wild cards didn’t exist.

It’s Lisa again.  If you agree that USTA needs to re-think the 2014 changes to the junior competition schedule, please take the survey on the right side of this page, plan to attend one of the remaining listening meetings, and/or email your concerns to Letusknow@usta.com.  For a complete list of articles relating to the changes, click the 2014 Jr Comp Info tab above.

And, if you’re interested in an alternative, click here to see what TennisRecruiting.net is offering in 2013 – a National Showcase Series of tournaments that are open to any US resident and will count toward a player’s Tennis Recruiting rating (though will only count toward his/her USTA ranking if the player competes within his/her own section or district).  It’s a great start!

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