Division I tennis panel adds flexibility for doubles selections
The Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee is recommending a change to the championships selection procedures that could open opportunities for doubles teams.
The committee is proposing that student-athletes ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Top 60 for eligible doubles teams with two different partners will now have the chance to be selected in the doubles draw with the lower-seeded partner as an alternate. If approved by the Division I Championships Cabinet, effective with the 2009 championships, the second doubles team would be listed on the alternate list in the order of selection and would be included in the field only if the initially designated partner could not compete. Otherwise, the committee will continue to follow the alternate list in the order established during selections.
Committee members at their annual meeting also recommended clarifying the “quality of opponent” selection criteria. Upon approval by the Championships Cabinet, the criteria would include wins versus the top 50 teams in the ITA rankings, wins versus the top 60 singles players in the ITA rankings for eligible/entered singles and wins versus the top 30 doubles teams in the ITA ranking for entered/eligible doubles teams.
The committee currently looks at wins versus teams or individuals that have already been chosen for the field at the time a team, individual or doubles team is under consideration.
The ITA rankings used in the selection process will be based on team results during the regular spring season and individual results (singles and doubles) in matches played from September 7 or the institution’s first day of classes, whichever is earlier, through the day before selections.
The committee also clarified the playing schedule for outdoor championships hosted at venues without indoor facilities nearby. If the site is hosting single-gender competition, the first rounds must be at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. or 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., while the second rounds must be at 10 a.m., 11a.m., noon, 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. At dual-gender sites, matches on the first day must be at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. or 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and day-two matches must be at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. Matches on the third day must be at noon, 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. If a site does not have the prescribed indoor courts and is hosting a single-gender competition, matches must be on Friday/Saturday. Regardless of whether it is a single- or dual-gender site, the host site will play the second match in the first round of competition.
When players do take the court, they will now have only three minutes of warm-up time (rather than five) in the team portion of the championships. The committee trimmed the warm-up time to maintain crowd excitement.
The committee also mandated that all first- and second-round sites host a welcome reception that all participating teams will be required to attend. The committee was motivated by a desire to enhance the student-athlete experience during the first and second rounds and further distinguish the event from regular-season play.
In other actions, the group recommended that 31 conferences sponsoring men’s and women’s tennis receive automatic qualification into the next year’s championships and agreed to return to using the Wilson U.S. Open extra duty ball in women’s championships play, effective with the 2009 championships. The decision mirrors the ITA’s switch back to the extra duty ball in women’s play after competing with the regular duty ball last year.
Sybil Blalock, associate athletics director at Mercer, was recommended as chair for the committee, effective September 1.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association