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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Division I Tennis Format Changes Revised with Men and Women Going in Different Directions: Men to No-Ad, Women to Tiebreaker in Lieu of Third Set

As the result of the recently concluded ITA College Coaches Meeting in Naples, there have been tweaks to the previously announced experiments with formats.  Below are two emails sent from the ITA's David Benjamin, one to Division I men's coaches and one to Division I women's coaches. These changes will be implemented through the first six weeks of the season, through the team indoor championships, but will not be used for the regular dual match season or the NCAAs.

MEN:

Dear Coach:

Greetings!

We would like to update you on the recent decisions reached by the ITA Men's Operating Committee at its annual meetings during the ITA Convention this past week in Naples, FL specific to the ITA Experimental Format.

Based on meetings and discussions throughout the fall and during the ITA Convention (including input from the Division I ITA Roundtable Meetings), the ITA Men's Operating Committee has approved and mandated a revised "ITA Men's Experimental Format, " to be played from January 1, 2014 through the ITA Men's Team Indoor Championships, Monday, February 17th  (detailed below, linked for your reference and available on the ITA Rules page).

Revised "ITA Experimental Format" for men's Division I only:

* The dual meet will consist of three doubles matches played first (worth a total of one point), followed by six singles matches, each individual match worth one point. Four points are required to win the team match.

* The three doubles matches will each consist of one set to 6, with no-ad scoring and a tie-breaker at 5-all. Once a team has won two doubles matches, the remaining doubles match shall not be completed. (NB. this "clinch" policy is the current rule in the ITA Men's Kick-off Weekend, ITA Men's National Indoor Team Championships and the NCAA Men's Team Championships).

* Six singles matches will follow the doubles. Each singles match is two out of three sets, with each set using no-ad scoring, and a tie-breaker at 5-all in each set.

* All singles matches will be played to completion unless both coaches agree to do otherwise.  (NB. the "clinch" policy is the current rule in the ITA Men's Kick-off Weekend, the ITA Men's National Indoor Team Championships and the NCAA Men's Team Championships. Therefore once four points have been reached, the remaining singles matches will not be completed in these events).

* There will be no warm-up against opponents before the first point is played in doubles and singles: players will be expected to warm-up with their own team prior to the scheduled match time.  A written pre-match protocol will be made available in early January.


Please note that we will be providing summary notes of the Division I meetings after the holiday season.  And in closing, we would like to thank the ITA Operating Committee for its outstanding work on this very important issue, and we wish you and your family very Happy Holidays!


WOMEN:


Dear Coach:

Greetings!

We would like to update you on the recent decisions reached by the ITA Women's Operating Committee at its annual meetings during the ITA Convention this past week in Naples, FL specific to the ITA Experimental Format.

Based on meetings and discussions throughout the fall and during the ITA Convention (including input from the Division I ITA Roundtable Meetings), the ITA Women's Operating Committee has approved and mandated a new "ITA Women's Experimental Format" to be played from January 1st through the ITA Women's Team Indoor Championships, February 10th 2014 (detailed below, and linked for your reference and available on the ITA Rules page).

"ITA Experimental Format" for women's Division I only:

* The dual meet will consist of three doubles matches played first (worth a total of one point), followed by six singles matches, each individual match worth one point. Four points are required to win the team match.

* The three doubles matches will each consist of one set, with regular scoring and a tie-breaker at 6-all. Once a team has won two doubles matches, the remaining doubles match shall not be completed. (NB. this "clinch" policy is the current rule in the ITA Women's' Kick-off Weekend, ITA Women's National Indoor Team Championships and the NCAA Women's Team Championships).

* Six singles matches will follow the doubles. Each singles match is two out of three sets, with each set using regular scoring, and a match tie-breaker in lieu of the third set.

* All singles matches will be played to completion unless both coaches agree to do otherwise. (NB. the "clinch" policy is the current rule in the ITA Women's Kick-off Weekend, the ITA Women's National Indoor Team Championships and the NCAA Women's Team Championships. Therefore once four points have been reached, the remaining singles matches will not be completed in these events).

* There will be no warm-up against opponents before the first point is played in doubles and singles: players will be expected to warm-up with their own team prior to the scheduled match time. A written pre-match protocol will be made available in early January.


Please note that we will be providing summary notes from the Division I meetings after the holiday season. In closing, we would like to thank the ITA Operating Committee for its outstanding work on this very important issue, and we wish you and your family very Happy Holidays! 

14 comments:

Kevin Ware said...

Am I missing something here? I fail to see how these experimental changes AND treating the Men and Women differently is going to help anyone.

Ricky H said...

I agree. Doubles is the most fun part of college tennis, and they're reducing that down. And ad scoring is the thing that makes tennis truly unique--a player can always claw their way back after being down a game point--and they're doing away with that for the men. Fortunately, this won't affect the regular season, but it seems kind of silly. Realistically, college tennis attracts fans of tennis who will be put off by rule changes; meanwhile, I can't see how these new rules would somehow rope in non-tennis fans who probably wouldn't care about the specific rules one way or another.

Integrity of singles? said...

THe committee once said that they will NOT change the "integrity" of singles!!

INCORRECT! THEY LIED!

This is terrible and pray this rule will not stand!

Anonymous D-I Coach said...

While I am not opposed to evaluating ways to shorten the college dual match without sacrificing the nature of the sport and the experience and developmental opportunities of the student-athletes, I do have some serious questions about the premise on which we were pressured into dramatic experimentation:

It has been repeatedly stressed to us that the "AD's are telling us" we must change the format or risk losing control of the manner in which change will be forced on us. My questions are:
1) Who was on this committee of AD's?
2) How was the committee selected?
3) Was the committee intended to be representative of Division I membership or conference affiliation?
4) How was the opinion of the committee shaped?

College Fan said...

Why don't they just play the doubles "set" to 4 and call it "Quick Start." They could even promote it by using USTA's ad(vertisement) with Agassi, Graf & Michelle Obama that runs on the Challenger LiveStream. Is it really that different?

I don't have any statistical info, but it's my impression that the REALLY long doubles points are typically in women's tennis. It seemed like there were some very long doubles points in both Champaign & Charlottesville last year. Though long matches almost always include more tension & drama.

Also, I wish they would mandate that #1 singles/doubles matches (or matchups between top 20-25 players) actually be played out. Isn't one of the supposed advantages of going to college, as opposed to the pros, is the guaranteed matches?

russ said...

If I'm a high level junior and I'm thinking about the pros and cons of playing college tennis as opposed to going pro, this new rule change would really get me to question whether college would provide the best match preparation for professional tennis. Besides the relative insufficiency of college matches versus the pros, now the matches themselves are being corrupted. Bad move if the desire is to use the college system as a training ground for the pros, all for an uncertain and highly risky goal.

Tennis coach said...

Let me preface this by saying I don't fully support the proposed changes but after having played several tournaments this fall with the new rules and listening to the reasoning behind it, I have softened my stance. As several have previously posted the reason for the proposed changes are AD's around the country are basically telling us "you need to find a way to shortens dual matches to about 3 hours for the longevity of your sport" so you can read between the lines. By shortening matches to that length the hope is that we will be able to get more fans to 1)come to matches and 2)stay to the completion of it. Lastly, because this is only "experimental" the proposed dates of us being mandated to use these rules is roughly only six weeks, the committees thought it would be most beneficial to have two different sets of data (hence the different rupees for both men and women) to compare. Will it be confusing to players, fans and alike? Absolutely! But once again the hope is to grow the sport and make it more fan friendly. This is definitely an interesting time for college tennis annd we've definitely taken it on the chin from a PR standpoint but the hope is we will come out of it stronger and more sustainable.

good job said...


Here's an idea why not just flip a coin to see who wins the match? Or play a baseline game to 11. These new changes are an abomination and condemn the game as we know it. This is a slippery slope and these so called committee members should be outed. I think these changes will result in a sudden decline in the talent of future generations. Just another way to shoot ourselves in the foot america.

Ashley Joelson said...

This is the dumbest thing I have ever read. What is the motivation behind these rule changes?

Jesse Schouten said...

Jesse Schouten:

Non sense. Spectators don't care about the length, and lets be honest there is no viewership to speak of. Growth of the popularity of tennis will not be advanced by hacking apart the proven scoring format they are mangling.

If this scoring format lasts it will have a terrible ripple effect.

Teams fly 1000s of miles to play a match... Now they are going to play a 15 minute doubles set and a 45 minute singles match and fly home!?!?!?!

Is college baseball going to go to 2 outs an inning and 3 innings? How about golf?

Insanity!!!!!

Edwin Morrow said...

The BBC is reporting.....the NCAA and the ITA have changed the rules for Men' and Women's Tennis, Division 1 ( again). Under the new compliance rules, Universities will only be allowed to have their Student- athletes participate in organized activities for a maximum of 20 hrs per week. This will include the previous training, workouts, and practices, but will now include all Matches per Week...:))

ITA Time Clock said...

After losing to the Mets in the 1969 World Series, Baltimore Orioles Coach, Earl Weaver, was asked if he would have done anything different in the 7th inning. Earl said, "Do you know why this is the greatest game( baseball)?...You can't kill the clock, every man gets his ups", A young tennis player from the midwest, presently playing in college, told his parents the reason he loved Tennis..No Time Clock. "Just when you're about to kick a goal in soccer, the clock goes off..That's why I love Tennis..." To the ITA... from the Movie, Sandlot..." You're Killing me Smalls...You're Killing Me..."

Same stuff different day... said...

I see an audience hungry for college tennis - over the last few months on this site, virtually the only time people post a comment is when it is about college tennis, whether it is a controversial issue or not. Sorry Colette, but I have grown tired of the same ol' junior recaps. Bring on the college season!

we are college said...

The changes will anger the players far more than they will bring in more viewers.

Not to mention, doubles warm-up is, I think, 5 mins. Singles is 3 mins. Are those 8 mins so crucial to shave off?

Off with the NCAAs head. Stop trying to make a profit off a sport where its players have recognized and accepted that they will never be a revenue sport.

Also, have any reps ever shown up to Athens? Seriously, that is a place that should shut their mouths about needing more viewers. That place is teeming with tennis and college fans alike. I am by no means a UGA fan (out of respect for my own), but you cannot help but respect the tremendous crowds they get there. Hats off to you guys. I can only hope that this year will prove so once more.