At this year's Easter Bowl, I met Evan Zeder, manager of Sales and Sponsorship for Athletic DNA, a new tennis apparel company. I had heard of the company before that, having seen both Robert Kendrick and Ryler DeHeart wearing their distinctive logo, but until I met Zeder, I didn't have a clear idea of their niche. Zeder, a member of the Illinois team that won the NCAA title in 2003 under Craig Tiley, was at the Easter Bowl looking for boys the company might sponsor, and we arranged to talk about the company's philosophy once the launch of the product was scheduled. A few weeks ago, I spoke with him over the phone, and today's story for The Tennis Recruiting Network is the result of that conversation. Much of what Zeder told me about their belief that junior tennis is under appreciated was preaching to the choir. I hope their commitment to the lower levels of the game helps change the perception that tennis players suddenly emerge, out of nowhere, and begin to win grand slams. It's a lot more work than that, and I'm certain Athletic DNA understands that.
I haven't seen this nbcsports.com article posted anywhere else, maybe because it's not exactly are-you-kidding-me breaking news, but I think comparing women's athletic scholarship possibilities with men's is a worthwhile exercise. The College Sports Council, which published the study, takes football out of the equation and then compares opportunities. That may be unrealistic, but I do find their argument about Pepperdine volleyball pretty compelling.
Courtney Schumacher isn't your typical student-athlete. She's a 27-year-old senior who is a member of the Division II California State-San Bernardino women's tennis team. But she has also has begun climbing the tennis officiating ladder, and this story about her from the school's website gives some interesting background information on an occupation that is taken for granted by just about everyone in the sport. If you didn't learn something from this story, you are probably a tennis official yourself.
Thursday, July 16, 2009