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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

No-ad Out for NCAA Championships in May

The NCAA today announced that the championship cabinet took no action on the Division I tennis committee's scoring format request, meaning the upcoming NCAA team and individual championships hosted by Baylor will use traditional scoring.  Here is the brief email sent to coaches by the NCAA:

Men’s and Women’s Head Tennis Coaches,

Normally, we would prepare a formal memorandum but realize time is of the essence so we provide this brief update:  the Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet took no action on the tennis committee’s scoring format request and will refer the issues to the appropriate championships entity in the new Division I governance structure for consideration. 

For clarification, the scoring format utilized for the 2014 Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships, team and individual, will be utilized for the 2015 championships.

As you can see, no reason was given for the decision, but I will add that I received information regarding the survey conducted by the NCAA committee, which showed no-ad to be unpopular with women's coaches, and both men and women student-athletes.  Although what I received was marked draft, and I have not included all of the charts, I believe this to be an accurate representation of the survey. [UPDATE 2-10-15: the complete survey, along with conference format decisions is available here.] I apologize for the photos, but the formatting makes it difficult to display in any other way.

I must admit I don't understand the difference in the student-athletes' numbers in answering the team and individual questions, but maybe I'm not understanding the tables correctly.  Are the 50+ percentages for doubles only?  Anyway, it seems clear that a solid majority of women's coaches are against no-ad, as are student-athletes, with a much less significant majority of men's coaches for no-ad across the board. 

Whether this figured in the committee's decision to take no action isn't known, but it can't help the ITA/USTA's position that there is widespread support for the changes.


Make a Decision said...

This is a huge mess. Just when people get used to the scoring they change it again. How bush league can a sport look. Just play with the new rules and lets move on.

jjcbeme said...

Congrats S/A's and Coaches who did not accept bullying by a committee that again failed to conduct process in support of a minority agenda. Next should be a real look at the future of the ITA or at minimum a full change of the board that clearly don't get it after 3 failed attempts (2012, 2014, 2015). The ITA is what has become an embarrassment.

Change ITA said...

Congrats to the coaches and student-athletes who are the sport; not a small minority on a committee failing to represent the majority. You don't just accept bullying because it looks bad. Now it is time to change the board members as they dont understand proper process.

Majority rules said...

The majority of players and coaches want the old rules. Just move back to the old rules now!

Save it for rec said...

No ad scoring sucks ... It shouldn't be used in competitive tennis, doubles or otherwise. Save it for recreational round robin play.

Ace said...

I bet if you surveyed those coaches and student-athletes now, after playing under these rules for a month, the results would be a lot different. They have not made a huge competitive difference and have shortened matches significantly.

Sad that all the fear-mongering has killed rule changes that made college tennis much more fan friendly.

Also, to the genius complaining that no-ad only belongs in rec tennis, you should try watching ATP/WTA doubles some time.

Colette Lewis said...

The men played no-ad for six weeks last year including the Team Indoor. Both men and women played it in all fall tournaments. So unless the survey was taken this summer (it was not), the student-athletes have plenty of experience with the format.

Ace said...

@Colette: But the format played last year was so much different than the one this year. Tiebreaks at 5-5, still warming up with your opponent, I think doubles was still an 8-game pro set, etc.

And there's a big difference between playing in the fall and playing in a dual match. I think there was a lot of fear that this would fundamentally change the nature of a dual match, but it hasn't been born out. The better teams still win, and win in a much shorter amount of time. I think a lot of players don't mind that, especially with the recent proliferation of double and even triple headers.

It would be great if you could talk to some players and coaches and post their thoughts. I would be interested to see if they've changed since it was first announced and there was a bit of a panic reaction.

Colette Lewis said...

I would like to see the numbers on "much shorter amount of time," and a definition of "much."
Also, I will point out, although this is a very small sample size, that more upsets occurred in the this year's kickoff weekend on both men's and women's sides than ever before.
Third, the beauty of the survey was its anonymity. If I asked players and coaches, they might not answer honestly, if they felt pressure to go along with the ITA change, or on the other hand because they know I am against no-ad. I'm sure you read my article from last September, where the women student athletes I spoke with were strongly against no-ad, the men more mixed, which is the same gender split of coaches in the survey.

Colette Lewis said...

It's also odd that you would say the no-ad format change from last year to this was "so much different", without acknowledging that no-ad scoring is different by several orders of magnitude than those insignificant tweaks.

April said...

It is such an indictment of the state of tennis today that this entire mess has happened.
Hopefully the powers at be will not try to find some other behind closed doors way to push forth their agenda

Everyone wants college tennis to be successful and everyone should be entitled to work on the process and the solution. That has not been the case thus far. But in the meantime, our sport looks very stupid in the eyes of NCAA and others.

Just saying ... said...

Ace, The ATP switches doubles back to regular scoring for the majors.

Scanlon said...

Yes, the Student Athlete numbers for Regular Scoring vs No Ad in the Singles/Doubles Championships seem to be missing. I would think that the percentages would be similar to the Team Championship numbers (the coaches' responses are similar).

Also, it would be interesting to understand why the men's and women's coaches have such different views on Regular Scoring vs No Ad. They differ by about 30%. Why are men's coaches more in favor of No Ad? Any theories? Do they feel that men's matches are more popular and likely to be televised, so they have more to gain from No Ad? Are men's coaches more "invested" in the ITA, politically?

Paco said...


Men's and Women's ITA coaches have never been on the same page. Just look at the differences between Division I rules and you can see for yourself. I only hope the ITA and NCAA get their act together soon. Maybe they should consider selecting qualified personnel in leadership positions, and get away by assigning some pencil pusher to those positions.

Anonymous said...

Colette - With the change back to standard scoring for the NCAA's will you be attending?

Colette Lewis said...

I will be in Waco for at least team semis and finals and for the individual tournament. Graduation has made first weekend hotel rooms unavailable or prohibitively expensive.

Enuff of it said...

Such a shame that these hard working athletes had to go through three fights to preserve the sanctity of their sport. A small group of coaches motivated by fear, continue to try to impose their misguided ideals.

If you want more people to come to college tennis matches and you want AD's to have more respect for the college tennis, then market the sport on your own campuses. Fill the stands. Address the fact that some teams have no American players whatsoever! My daughter has had to play Eastern European WTA players in a college tennis match? There is a mens team with a player who played in over 30 pro tennis tournaments last year.

The typical college tennis fan does not care about the length of the match. I saw a 16 minute mens doubles match. Was that a net benefit for the fans? I didn't enjoy it. The players in the match didn't enjoy it.

Not a Baylor Fan said...

@ Colette

Stay in Hilsboro. It's much cheaper and an easy 30 minute drive to the elite courts at Baylor.

Frogs Rule said...

Couldn't agree enough with "Enuff of It"

Some of the issues stem from coaches inability, or lack of motivation for getting butts in the seats to watch their home matches. They should all contact David Roditi at TCU to emulate what he has done to fill the seats. Texas A&M used to have HUGE crowds watching their matches. But since they started CHARGING spectators to attend, the fan base has dramatically dried up.

jjcbeme said...

24 hours later.... the ITA remains silent.

The ITA really is so arrogant as to attempt to force athletes to play a format different than the NCAA's duirng the season? Or even a different format between conference and non conference matches?

Another option said...

Colette we booked the Hilton in Temple, a 30 minute drive south. Half the price for nicer hotel and no early cancellation penalty that the Waco hotels are putting on. Compared to dealing daily with California freeways, I am thinking this 30 miles will be a pleasure to drive.

Would love the chance said...

They do not need to change the game itself but the marketing of the event. Tennis matches can be so much fun when there is food, music, school band and the same carnival atmosphere other events have. Pick a player and promote them, find a theme to use to market the team - use the school billboards, website, the tennis stadium, oh as promo junkee I could have so much fun marketing college tennis. And don't get me started with things USTA could do.....

jjcbeme said...

The need to promote is so basic and all these comments are sot on. If your athletic dept doesn't do it then do it yourself. It is WORK. Draw your own conclusions.

love-tennis said...

Sorry to be a doggy downer but don't get too excited about the drive from Temple to Waco. That area has been under construction for so long, I can't even tell you how long. There is lots of traffic and narrow lanes on I-35 North. It is the main freeway from San Antonio to Dallas, so it gets lots of traffic. That being said, it's still better than paying twice the amount for a room, I agree.

love-tennis said...

Oh I so agree about the marketing! Even regular tournaments could be such fun events if the right people ran them. The problem is that tennis people run tennis events, and they are good at tennis, not public relations and promotion.

Would love advice, ty said...

Sorry to make this a travel site Colette, but hoping others can use the same advice for NCAAs. Love-tennis would you advise staying in Hillsboro over Temple then? And how are the towns? We will have kids with us so don't want anything too sketch. TY.

Waco has 15-30 day early cancellation restrictions on their rooms which is brutal. For graduation that makes sense, for NCAAs, not so much.

tennisfan said...

Why is it that no women are being considered to replace McEnroe?

wi tennis said...

Another Men's & Women's Tennis program just got cut yesterday. I don't believe that it's arrogance from the ITA. The ITA wants college tennis to still exist in 5 years. The tennis junkies, like myself and anyone who is on a tennis message board), will come to the matches no matter what. It's about getting the non-tennis junkies to the matches. No-ad scoring is easy to understand. You play until 4 points. Having all sets the same is easy to understand. I've sat in the stands and answered the same questions over and over. Isn't the set over because someone has 6. I don't know who's winning. whats this ad, deuce thing?

Is this new scoring fool-proof? no. Will it automatically bring people to the seats? no. will it automatically bring donations? no. is doubles more exciting? definitely! but at least they are trying something different! If we keep the status quo, there won't be college tennis in 5 years. It will be more like a club model outside of the power 5. Even some of them will cut tennis. It's so hard to be able to earn a scholarship, make the lineup or even get a roster spot at a power 5 conference school, for even a solid junior player.

Why is the NCAA listening to random student-athlete surveys? I'm not sure. I've never had much faith in them (student-athlete surveys or the ncaa) Student-athletes aren't thinking sport preservation and big picture. That's completely normal. Nothing against them. If I read the surveys right, they want everything to be status quo (warm-up with opponent, regular scoring, 8 game pro-set). No warm-up with opponent is amazing. I can tell you that. The question from non-tennis junkies is always, why are they warming-up again? They just warmed-up for an hour with their team. I tell them, great question!

If I had it my way, it would be 8 game pro set of doubles followed by 8 game pro set of singles. it makes for 2-2.5 hour match. 1.5 hour blowout. more doubles! no-ad or regular, whatever. but i doubt anyone would go with this.

or simultaneous, as it's called. 4 singles. 1 doubles. all at same time. all 2 out of 3 sets. again. no-ad or regular. whatever works.

I don't believe that scoring systems teach character (as Coach Kriese says). good coaches do. being a top 100 professional for 252 weeks (to earn a pension) is nearly impossible no matter what avenue you take. Creating professionals is not the main purpose of college tennis, if you ask me. If it is, we've failed miserably! and learning to play doubles or singles is not a life skill. you can be a terrible doubles player and still play social doubles for your work.

Colette Lewis said...

@wi tennis
What programs got cut? I saw that Concordia(TEX) is bringing back both of their programs, but didn't see anything about programs being cut.

Marketing said...

Marketing! Marketing! Marketing! I have two NCAA Division I players and the sport needs more attention in marketing. NOT changing the essence of the game. The game is about winning by TWO. You win a Tie-breaker by winning TWO points more than your opponent. You win a set by TWO, you win a match by winning TWO sets and you should win a game by winning TWO points at deuce. This is the most exciting part of the game! Now I go and watch and sit frustrated as games whiz by all dependent on ONE point. For the person above that said that the better players "still wins", that is completely wrong. I have attended Div. 1 matches all over the country in the last 3 years and that is just not true. Many players at this level are very equal in talent and the scores were proving that out - until NO AD. Now there are 0,1 matches when it could have been a fun competitive match to watch. Pitiful and sad. My third child will not play tennis now. She has quit. Very frustrating.

embitteredtf said...

Montana State Billings cut both tennis teams...: http://billingsgazette.com/sports/college/gnac/msu-billings/msub-dropping-men-s-women-s-tennis/article_d4baf800-abfa-5f87-a805-2cf7dc5c5a8e.html

fan said...

Wi tennis, by your logic denying the validity of SA poll(well, poll really means jack shit, when it is the votes that decides the agenda, not the poll!), who needs unions, who needs elections! Surely the 'governing class' knows best?? Lol.

Last time I checked, SAs play the sport, not the coaches. And whose job is it to promote college tennis? Who failed here, and are resorting to cheap gimmicks that aim to destroy college doubles?

fan said...

Another thing. All those reports by ITA mentions student well-being as the reason to shorten the game.

Yet SAs themselves don't seem to mind. It's really hilarious.

jjcbeme said...

The ITA just sent an email to coaches they are still to play the NoAD format except where their conference says otherwise.
1) False...rules say coaches can play format they agree upon.
2) Arrogance... lose 3 times and still ignore the MAJORITY OF COACHES/Athletes and the NCAA.

ITA 'out'

jjcbeme said...

No changing of formats would have save Montana State. It was based on money.... plus having to rent indoor courts 3/4 of every season.

Format will not save a program facing the axe due to budgets.

russ said...

The venue will be spectator friendly. Illinois and Midtown have covered two courts and have put up stands with real seats, not the bench seating you see at the Open or other venues. Kudos to Dancer. There was also local TV conducting interviews and videoing the practice sessions.

On an injury note, Esben of UNC most likely will not be playing. Left practice shortly after warming up for treatment on his back.

Anonymous said...

Some people just never seem to get it.
The future of College Sports is tied to broadcast media exposure
All non revenue Men's sports are constantly being reviewed as facilities needs come up
ESPN will never broadcast the Men's Championships unless 2 things happen:
1) A predictable time slot under 3 hours of broadcast
2)Women adopting the same time schedule so it can be broadcast equally due to Title 9
The teams that actually compete for Championships seem to understand this easily.
Witness the ITA competition committee response to the NCAA being to lazy to event act.
NO VOTES against continuing shorter format 25-0 (5 not voting)
Do we let the schools in Conferences many people have not heard of dictate fan based football marketing for Ohio St, ALA. etc?
Come on! Wake up!
Let's all work to build a fan base so we have College Tennis as a sport

jjcbeme said...

Pretty sad when 80% of athletes and 60-70^ of coaches oppose but a few bullies will get their way and ruin the sport. TV is meaningless if nobody watches... look at women's basketball. Looks like Collette will be attending her last D1 finals this year at this pace. What a joke. BTW... the 25-0-5 vote is funded by backside money and benefits (US Open trip for the board) courtesy the USTA. All so the SEC can put 5 matches on a channel 75% of US does not get. Brilliant.

fan said...

Chuck, YOU are not getting it. Let's say TV IS the savior.

Still, doesn't mean you have to change the rules!!!

Since ITA doesn't care about doubles, TV can broadcast from the end of the doubles match or start from singles.

This persistent effort to kill doubles, is therefore, a conspiracy. I bet John McEnroe is very pleased. Didn't he rant about doubles, saying he don't know why they're playing it?

fan said...

Any why is ITA, David Benjamin, SO DESPERATE??! Defying immediately NCAA's decision and saying they'll try AGAIN to ram those new rules next year as well??!!

Because money is involved?

How about the coaches? I don't really think they care about the sport. More correctly, they care about their JOBS. That's why they don't care about SA's opinions.

After all, even if Div. I tennis perishes, still the juniors will be college students(after all, pro prospects don't really play college tennis anyway!!!).

But not the coaches!!! Lol. 'THEIR' JOBS are on the line!!

Randy Eisenberg said...

Management! How well does everyone here think college tennis is being managed right now? Does it have a good leader? Does it have a board that is willing to replace a bad leader? How long does the entire sport have to be playing defense?

Tennis is the best sport and should have the best leadership. We don't and that needs to change if we are going to turn it around. just like great leaders come in and turn failing companies around, tennis needs someone to lead it out of its current insanity and into sanity.

How can we lose so many teams? How do we fight to change rules only to have them overturned three times? We aren't going to last too long if we don't get a really smart leader in there soon.

fan said...

So let's say that TV will save Div. I (laughable, but for yhe sake of argument)

Detailed prospectus please? Like, how are you going to broadcast 3 dbls matches at once. 7 minutes per court? Lol.
Singles? 6 matches play simultaneously. So, HOW? Let's hear about the genious argument.

Is there already a TV contract? Is that why ITA and Mr. Benjamin are in such a hurry?