One of the best Kalamazoo tournaments in years begins this morning with two rounds of doubles, with all singles first round matches in both the 16s and 18s scheduled for Sunday. My preview is available this morning at the Tennis Recruiting Network. Despite all the excitement of this week, a real spirit-dampening press release was issued by the NCAA on Thursday.
The NCAA Division I Tennis Committee announced the format for the 2015 championships (and beyond) and it features, most dramatically, no-ad scoring for singles and doubles, including the individual championships.
I've never liked no-ad, believing it to be antithetical to the nature of the game, so this is very bad news for me. I've heard all the arguments for revising the format in the past two years, but they haven't changed my mind about this, and I fear the level of play will decline when top players rightfully ask how this prepares them for the rigors of professional tennis. I'm disappointed that USTA Player Development is on board with this, especially for the individual tournament, where the winner, if American, would go from no-ad best of three to a best-of-five-sets match at the US Open.
I'll have to do a lot more thinking about this before I decide how it will affect my coverage of the college version of the sport, but I am leaning toward cutting back on Division I, perhaps focusing more on Division III, and returning primarily to junior tennis coverage, where I started. I'll be giving that some thought in the coming weeks and months, but I won't be purchasing plane tickets to Waco, Texas any time soon.