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Monday, February 23, 2015

Playing Pro Circuit Events as an Amateur

When I went to the $100,000 Midland Dow Corning Tennis Classic earlier this month, a notice taped to the tournament desk caught my eye. Entitled "USTA Amateur Reimbursement Procedures," you can read it in its entirety below.

With more and more juniors playing in Futures events--the men are already into their ninth Futures tournament here in the US, and the 128 qualifying draws always attract junior players--I thought posting this notice could help answer questions players, parents and coaches may have about how this is being handled this year.  Because the NCAA passed a special rule for tennis in 2013, allowing prospective student-athletes to earn $10,000 per calendar year without proving offsetting expenses, the process has been simplified, but enrolled student athletes are not included in that rule.

USTA Amateur Reimbursement Procedures

A prospective student-athletes is defined as someone who has not yet graduated from high school, but hopes to attend a college or university and compete on an intercollegiate tennis team

1. Prospective Student-Athletes(PSA) no long have to declare amateur status before event

2. PSA is allowed to receive up to $10,000 per calendar year

3. Non-American PSA WILL have the appropriate tax withheld from his/her prize money

4. PSA does not have to complete a Prospective Student-Athlete form until he/she has reached the $10,000 limit. It is the responsibility of the PSA to inform the supervisor when he/she has reached the limit and then the PSA must fill out the form and receive only monies for actual and necessary expenses. (Allowable expenses are listed on the back of the PSA form).

Currently Enrolled Student-Athletes (SA)
A student-athlete is defined as someone who has enrolled in a college or university and is participating on an intercollegiate tennis team. If a player has taken time off before completing eligibility, and wishes to remain eligible to return to college, this player will still be considered a student-athlete

1. Must complete the SA form for every event. The maximum prize money amount an individual can receive is based on round reached provided this amount does not exceed actual and necessary expenses. (Allowable expenses are listed on the back of the SA form).

2. The SA may count all days while competing in the event. NOTE: "While competing in the event" would normally mean that reimbursement may begin once the participant arrives on-site and registers for the event and would include the day(s) of competition, day(s) in between competition, as well as a day prior to and after the competition for traveling purposes, so 2 extra days for expenses.

3. NO tax will be withheld for any currently enrolled student-athlete

4. If the university pays all expenses for the SA then the check may be made payable to the university for all monies earned and the SA does not have to fill out the amateur reimbursement form. The university is responsible for keeping records of expenses for all their athletes.
Although I've tried, I have not been able to locate the USTA forms referred to above, but they are probably identical to the ITA forms, which can be found on their website.  Here is the PDF of the Prospective Student-athlete form (needed only if the $10,000 calendar year prize money threshold has been exceeded) and here is the PDF of the Enrolled Student-athlete form, which must be completed at every event.


Marty Collins said...

If you want to really save college tennis then abolish the rules against prize money and sponsorship. College tennis will do much much better with fans and as an attractive sport for athletes once it is known you can be a junior tennis star and a prospective pro athlete while in college. Allowing prize money and sponsorship provides an additional prospective pathway to creating more working American touring pros. Abolishing the rules would also allow tennis to generate revenues to which the schools could benefit in the way of program saving publicity. Abolish the rules NOW so Bellis, Mmoh, Tiafoe, Fritz, Altamarino, Eubanks, Gordon, Rubin, McNally, Mayos Bros etc, don't need to manipulate and gamble on an acceptable pathway to making a go at tour life and success.

In the age of autonomy for college athletics tennis should be ensuring that the highest level juniors are stars in college. If the American stars don't choose the college tennis of the future, you can't persuade top programs to look domestically for players. That will leads to where it is going, restrictions on international talent.

Phred said...

One positive note - The PSA shouldn't have to worry about reaching the magic $10K yearly threshold playing Futures events. They will be lucky to break the $1K milestone for the year based on the amount of price money offered per event.

Marty Collins said...

Phred is right for the vast majority of college players that attempt to fit in Futures in their college tennis life.

Thanks America! said...

College tennis is completely filled with professionals who have made well over $10,000 in prize money. They are called foreign players! So many of them over the years have earned 10's of thousands of dollars in the summer plus ATP & WTA prize money. It is such a farce for the US kids.

AR Hacked Off said...

For those complaining about Foreign Players winning ATP/WTA pts the American kids have the exact same opportunity to win similar points.
Such a farce argument, be mad at the NCAA for allowing 22 y.o Freshmen or 24 y.o. Sophomore but don't blame the players, blame the structure of USTA for this.
Many kids now going to ITF's versus the convoluted USTA structure and who can blame them, these will be the kids who fight for their points.

Shawn said...

It all comes down to scholarship money. As long as Americans understand they will be getting little of the pie, there shouldn't be a problem.

Thanks America! said...

AR Hacked Off - these are separate arguments. The US kids do not have the ability to play club tennis in Europe like the European collegiate players do. There is tons of money floating around over there and they rarely to never let US kids play in those leagues. But the European kids/men quite often make over $20,000 per summer playing in those matches. American families pay the taxes to have the Universities. Then we pay the way for all these foreign kids/men to play on our teams. Then when no local players are on those teams, no spectators come to watch. Then the AD's often kill the programs because no one cares. Then the coach is left scrambling calling France and Tunisia trying to get past players to save the team, which never works. All the while there is a complete double standard for policing of the US kids versus the foreign players.

It is a travesty!

Curious said...

@Colette - Serious question. What is your take on your comments section over the last couple of years. It's the nature of the internet, but I'm finding that most comments are negative and/or combative. How do you feel about this? Do you like the exchange of opinions or find them overly negative?

Colette Lewis said...

I don't think the nature of comments has changed over the years. It's an opportunity for readers to exchange views and be heard, and of course many people will choose to post only when they disagree. Providing a perspective different from the prevailing mindset, and as long as it's civil(not all comments I receive are), is valuable to me, and I hope to all readers.