Recruiting & College Tennis

Some College Tennis Updates

For those who don’t follow our social media and may have missed some recent announcements, I wanted to give you a one-stop-shop of updates on what’s happening in the world of College Tennis. If you have any additional news to share, please add it in the Comments below.

DI 6-month rule

Given the pandemic and Spring 2020 graduating student-athletes being given the option for an extra year of eligibility, the NCAA has created a loophole for current high school players. While it will not be changing the 6-month rule outright, any prospects looking to take a full gap year can file a waiver with the NCAA if they choose to take a full year rather than 6 months. According to a source at the ITA, the NCAA will look at it on a case by case basis, but it appears the NCAA is being extremely flexible when it comes to determining the eligibility of student-athletes at this time.

What does this mean for high school juniors and seniors? Since the NCAA continues to push back the recruiting period (it’s now set to begin January 2021), and since several graduating college seniors from the class of 2020 have announced they are returning for an extra year of play, taking a gap year might be a great option for many aspiring college players.

Please note: this 6-month rule does not apply to DII, DIII, Junior College, or NAIA programs. DII currently has a 12-month rule in place for all prospects (click here for more information).

Extra Year of Eligibility

According to one source, the NCAA is again considering granting an extra year of eligibility for athletes in 2020-2021 academic year Winter and Spring sports (i.e. Tennis). Nothing has been confirmed yet, but it gives this year’s high school juniors and seniors even more of a reason to consider taking a gap year before starting their college careers.

Oracle ITA Masters

The Oracle ITA Masters by UTR is an open event for college, elite juniors, and professional players who have had their fall seasons cancelled or severely limited due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This singles only event will have a total prize money purse of $20,000 to be distributed evenly between genders. The ITA – partnered with Oracle, UTR, USTA Southern California, and the Barnes Tennis Center – is excited for the opportunity to showcase tennis on a national scale as a safe, social distancing sport.

I will be in San Diego covering the tournament for ParentingAces. If you’ll be there, too, please let me know so we can meet for a socially-distanced hello!

Entries close today for this coming weekend’s event at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, CA. For more information, click here.

ITA Fall Championships

The ITA announced today it will be holding its Fall National Championships the first weekend of November at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, FL.

According to the ITA website, play will begin Thursday, November 5 with the finals being played – and televised by ESPNU – on Sunday, November 8. All 64 players will receive a cash payout from the $20,000 purse. The 2020 Fall Championships will include men’s and women’s draws of 32 and be limited to singles only in accordance with safe play guidelines.

This year’s Championships will be an “open” event with priority given to players with outstanding collegiate results or rankings. Champions of the Oracle ITA National Summer Championships, Oracle ITA Masters by UTR (taking place this coming weekend in San Diego), ITA Cup and ITA Division I Regional Championships will receive automatic qualification. Additional selections will be made based on the following ranking criteria:

  • Top Division II player to enter according to the November 22 Oracle ITA Singles Rankings (Top 10 only)
  • Top Division III player to enter according to the April 24 Oracle ITA Singles Rankings (Top 10 only)
  • Top NAIA player to enter according to the April 16 Oracle ITA Singles Rankings (Top 10 only)
  • Top JUCO player to enter according to the April 21 Oracle ITA Singles Rankings (Top 10 only)
  • Top 16 DI players to enter according to the March 3 Oracle ITA Singles Rankings (Top 125 only)

The remaining spots will include both at-large and wild card selections. At-large selections will be made according to UTR and are open to both collegiate and non-collegiate players. There is no fee required to apply for entry. For further selection details visit the National Fall Championships page.

Registration for the event will open on October 7th and close on October 27th with selections announced the following day.

From November 9th – 15th the USTA will offer another similar event, providing players with the opportunity to train and compete at Lake Nona for consecutive weeks. For those players who are attending in-person classes, I’m not sure how this will work since it will require missing a week on campus.

Andy Katz speaks with UF Athletic Director about college tennis

Wilson offers discounts to college tennis alumni

The ITA announced today it is working with the folks at Wilson to offer a nice discount to anyone registered with its College Tennis Alumni Network (click here). If you’re already registered and haven’t received your exclusive access code, reach out to Corey Pegram, ITA’s Director of Partnerships, Alumni & Membership, at cpegram@itatennis.com.

USTA & University of Florida’s new Master’s program

The USTA announced that the University of Florida will be joining a growing list of colleges across the country to offer Professional Tennis Management (PTM) programs. UF will be adding a Racquet Sports Director Specialization to their online Master’s in Sports Management program. The program will focus not only on helping aspiring Directors of Racquet Sports to be masters of the game they teach, but also to have a firm understanding of business practices, communication, leadership and entrepreneurship.

The UF Director of Racquet Sports specialization combines an in-depth knowledge of the racquet sports industry with the essential finance, communication, marketing, leadership and event management skills needed to capably run and grow a program that may encompass several racquet sports, many event forms, and a vast array of participant ages and abilities. The specialization is made up of 12 credit hours of required work plus three elective credit hours from the sport management degree program.

“Leading a racquet sports program takes a broad set of skills, from finance and marketing to personnel leadership and operations behind the scenes, to the consumer-facing programs and offerings on the court,” said Kim Bastable, director of the new program. “That’s exactly what this program provides, and I’m looking forward to taking what I’ve learned throughout the years and helping shape the future leaders of our sport, both during the program and after they graduate because, as we always say, “Once a Gator, always a Gator.”

No GMAT or GRE is required for admission to the UF Sport Management Master’s program, although an undergraduate degree is required. New students are admitted four times a year, with the next students starting classes in January 2021. For more information, please visit https://sm.hhp.ufl.edu/specializations/racquet-sports-director/. The program is currently offered as a Master’s program with an undergraduate certification set to roll out Fall of 2021.

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