Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Division I Wright State Eliminates Men's and Women's Tennis; Recruiting Dead Period Extended Through July; Webinar Thursday: How to Get Recruited During a Pandemic

Division I Wright State, located in Dayton Ohio, announced today that it would be dropping three sports: men's tennis, women's tennis and softball. As has been the case with other Division I programs dropped in the past several months (East Carolina, Appalachian State, Wisconsin-Green Bay), scholarships will be honored for those who wish to stay on at the school, rather than transfer to play tennis elsewhere. Akron, which dropped women's tennis, is the only D-I school who did not offer to continue the scholarships.

The problem for Wright State is that they were already at the minimum of 14 sports to qualify for Division I status. Even if they remain in compliance with Title IX (which they explain here), they are now three sports short. The announcement says they will pursue a waiver from the NCAA, but when a reduction in that requirement was raised early in the NCAA's pandemic response, it was rejected, so I would be surprised if Wright State gets approval, especially because they are three sports shy now.

An interesting contrast in sports numbers is found in this announcement from Brown, which is reducing its number of varsity sports from 38 to 29, with 11 sports now club level and two others moving up to varsity status. Fortunately tennis was not among those, but squash, golf and track and field are being downgraded, while two sailing teams are being elevated. The lack of Ivy League titles is mentioned as a factor, and Brown has not been a contender in tennis, so that is something to watch going forward.

And to follow up on Division II Alabama-Huntsville, which dropped its tennis programs last month, as well as its men's hockey program, which competed at the Division I level, there is good news for the latter. After an impressive fund raising effort, which brought in $750,000, hockey will be reinstated. Two former Huntsville players, now in the NHL, are among those contributing.

The Mountain West conference has announced it will eliminate its conference tournaments for men and women tennis as a cost-saving measure. The regular season conference champions will receive the automatic NCAA bids.

Last week the NCAA announced that the dead period for in-person recruiting, initially set to expire on June 30, has been extended to July 31. The reason given is that coaches should be focusing on the student-athletes returning to campus this summer, but those are mostly in fall sports. It would seem to make more sense to have this rule be tailored to each sport's normal recruiting patterns: once the campuses open up this summer, it would seem that it would be an ideal time for tennis coaches to host potential recruits.

In that vein, I received an email from the USTA today with a link to sign up for a Next College Student Athlete (NCSA) webinar called "Tennis Recruiting: How to Get Recruited During a Pandemic".
It is scheduled for Thursday, June 4, at 7 p.m. Central time. The link to register for the virtual event is here. Below is a brief description of the event.

The NCAA’s suspension of in-person recruiting, followed by numerous academic updates from the Eligibility Center, has left recruits with more questions than answers. 

What do these changes mean for your recruiting journey? How will they impact coaches’ recruiting plans? Will the recruiting process for every college sport be impacted?

Join us as Lindsay Milo, Director of Regional Recruiting from NCSA, present on these topics along with providing a look at what college coaches are sharing with the NCSA team.

If you are new to NCSA and do not have a free profile already, by registering for this virtual event a profile will be created and will provide you with nationwide exposure to college coaches.


Chuck Barnswell said...

Wright State men's tennis, 6 out of 8 non US players. The fact remains, nothing in it to convince the administration, students, or public in the college town to want to keep men's tennis.

bruddahc said...

Would be interesting to see in the next few months how many college programs are dropped due to the pandemic. We are already seeing the fallout. Athletic budgets at all college levels are getting squeezed. Unfortunate as this will lessen opportunities for juniors to attend and play college.