Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Vanderbilt Women Take Over Top Spot in ITA Rankings; Six Arkansas Matches on One Day Put .500 Rule Back in Spotlight; New NCAA Rules Take Aim at Early Recruiting; Baird Top Seed at ITF Grade 1 in France

The rankings below are the last from the ITA until May 3rd, after the NCAA announces the selections based on the rankings on Tuesday May 1. Wake Forest remains No. 1, with little movement in the Top 10 for the men, but Vanderbilt has taken over the No. 1 spot from North Carolina in the women's rankings, after Duke beat the Tar Heels and Vanderbilt won the Southeastern Conference tournament on Sunday. All but the SEC women have their conference tournaments scheduled for this weekend, so many significant matches remain.

ITA Men’s Division I Team Rankings April 24, 2018 (last week's rankings in parentheses)
1. Wake Forest (1)
2. UCLA (2)
3. Ohio State (3)
4. Stanford (4)
5. Texas A&M (5)
6. North Carolina (7)
7. TCU (6)
8. Illinois (8
9. Mississippi State (9)
10. Florida (10)

ITA Men’s Division I Top 10 Singles April 24, 2018
1. Martin Redlicki, UCLA (1)
2. Nuno Borges, Mississippi State (3)
3. William Blumberg, North Carolina (2)
4. Petros Chrysochos, Wake Forest (5)
5. Mikael Torpegaard, Ohio State (4)
6. Borna Gojo, Wake Forest (6)
7. Patrick Kypson, Texas A&M (7)
8. Ryotaro Matsumura, Kentucky (9)
9. Tom Fawcett, Stanford (8)
10. Arthur Rinderknech, Texas A&M (10)

ITA Men’s Division I Top 5 Doubles April 24, 2018
1. William Blumberg and Robert Kelly, North Carolina (1)
2. Petros Chrysochos and Skander Mansouri, Wake Forest (2)
3. Johannes Ingildsen and Alfredo Perez, Florida (4)
4. Guillermo Nunez and Alex Rybakov, TCU (5)
5. Korey Lovett and Eero Vasa, Central Florida (3)

ITA Women’s Division I Top 10 Team Rankings, April 24, 2018
1. Vanderbilt (2)
2. North Carolina (1)
3. Duke (4)
4. Georgia Tech (3)
5. Ole Miss (6)
6. Texas (5)
7. Oklahoma State (11)
8. Georgia (8)
9. Florida (9)
10. South Carolina (7)

ITAA Women’s Division I Top 10 Singles April 24, 2018
1. Bianca Turati, Texas (1)
2. Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov, Florida Atlantic (2)
3. Estela Perez-Somarriba, Miami (3)
4. Gabriela Knutson, Syracuse (5)
5. Arianne Hartono, Ole Miss (13)
6. Samantha Harris, Duke (4)
7. Makenna Jones, North Carolina (11)
8. Anastasia Rychagova, Kansas (6)
9. Fernanda Contreras, Vanderbilt (7)
10. Andrea Lazaro, Florida International (9)

ITA Women’s Division I Top 5 Doubles April 24, 2018
1. Paige Hourigan and Kenya Jones, Georgia Tech (2)
2. Emily Arbuthnott and Michaela Gordon, Stanford (3)
3. Jessie Aney and Alexa Graham, North Carolina (1)
4. Erin Larner and Maddie Lipp, Northwestern (4)
5. Samantha Harris and Kelly Chen, Duke (6)

This is always the time of year when college tennis receives the most attention, and the speculation about who will make the NCAA tournament and who will host the regionals provides the bulk of that interest.  This weekend the mainstream media took notice however, when the University of Arkansas women, who reached the semifinals of the SEC tournament, decided they did want to make the NCAAs despite a 10-16 win-loss record.  An NCAA rule requires a team be at .500 to receive a bid to the NCAA tournament, so the Razorbacks scheduled six matches on Sunday against Tennessee State, and six wins later had the requisite .500 record for selection.  Those of us who follow college tennis closely have long disparaged this rule as irrelevant to college tennis, with the rankings algorithm taking into account the strength of schedule, but it has remained, resulting in quite a few dubious triple-headers late in the season between overmatched teams and those from Power 5 conferences who are better than their record might indicate. This is a whole different level however, and it may just prompt a change, although it shouldn't take an incident like this to do it.

Chris Halioris spoke with the Tennessee State coach and athletic director for College Tennis Today and he presents their point of view and a detailed explanation of why Arkansas was in such a position and another SEC school, Alabama, was not. He discusses other problems that may result as long as this last-minute scheduling is allowed and then provides a solution. The solution he proposes does create more work for the ITA, but aside from that, it's hard to see any drawbacks to it.  This article from The Tennessean says that Tennessee State was paid $15,000 to play the matches, and no one would fault them for accepting that, but the cost to the integrity of college tennis is what is really at stake here.

Late last week the NCAA announced a change in the recruiting calendar, with official visits now allowed beginning on September 1 of the recruits junior year, instead of the first day of school of the recruit's senior year.  In return, unofficial visits by recruits will now not include any contact with the athletic department.  The Tennis Recruiting Network spoke with Division I coaches about this change and they raise good points about what some of the issues and consequences may be in this Roundtable.

After several weeks without one, the ITF Junior Circuit has a Grade 1 this week, beginning the European spring clay season in earnest.  Drew Baird is the top boys seed at Beaulieu Sur Mer in France, with Vanessa Ong[14] and Kacie Harvey[11] seeded in the girls draw. Live scoring is available for the tournament here.


Cheats said...

What a joke - This isn't the first time Arkansas has pulled off such a stunt. I can't believe the AD lets this crap happen. Total loss of integrity for the Arkansas tennis program, and collegiate tennis. In the past, the Arkansas coach has scheduled simultaneous duals against the same team. Looks like he should have done it this instance to save time.

So what will it take for the ITA (and NCAA) to pull their heads out of the sand and stop such abuse of the rules. Other schools known to pull such stunts includes Ole Miss, Tulsa, and everybody's favorite German team Baylor.

? said...

I must be missing something. Let's move pass the moral and ethical concerns. Why does Arkansas at 16-16 and a .500 record put them in the NCAA tourney. They had already lost in the conference tourney so what was the point? Are they like 3rd in the SEC standings? Are the two teams above them like top 10 teams so the NCAA would look past their sub .500 record prior to the bought wins.

My understanding is it is hard to make the NCAA tourney and may plus .500 teams don't make the tourney.

Please enlighten me.