Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Oracle Announces $100K Grants to Two College Players; Wake Forest Men Take Over Top Spot in ITA Rankings; Florida Women Defeat Ohio State; D-I Coaches Salaries Rise

Oracle has stepped up its support of college tennis in the past several years and another indication of that came today, with the announcement that yearly grant of $100,000 will go to one men's and one women's American college player embarking on a pro career.

There aren't a lot of details on the selection criteria, with the only qualifications mentioned in the release "exemplary sportsmanship and an aptitude for success on the pro tour."  I assume this means a player who has recently played in college, but again, that's not clear.

Six members of an advisory committee will decide who gets this generous grant; they are: Chris Evert, Ilana Kloss, Peggy Michel, Tim Russell, Martin Blackman and Todd Martin.  Spending other people's money is usually not hard, but with so much on line for those two players, deciding on a winner will not be easy.

The complete release can be found here.

The latest team rankings have a new No. 1 on the men's side, with Wake Forest taking the top spot from Ohio State.  It's a program first for Wake Forest.  USC and UCLA also moved into the top 10.

In the women's team rankings, Florida stayed at No. 1, while Stanford jumped ten spots from 14 to 4 and Georgia also moved back into the Top 10.  The full team rankings can be found by clicking on the headings. There were no individual rankings released this week.

Men's Team Top 10: (previous ranking in parentheses)
1. Wake Forest (2)
2. Ohio State (1)
3. Virginia (3)
4. North Carolina (5)
5. Oklahoma State (4)
6. Baylor (9)
7. Southern Cal (14)
8. Texas (8)
9. Oklahoma (7)
10. UCLA (13)

Women's Team Top 10:
1. Florida (1)
2. Ohio State (2)
3. North Carolina (3)
4. Stanford (14)
5. Auburn (4)
6. Georgia (13)
7. Texas Tech(6)
8. Oklahoma State (7)
9. Michigan (9)
10. Vanderbilt (5)

Florida took on Ohio State at the USTA's Lake Nona Campus this evening, with the Gators posting a 4-1 CollegeMatch Day win. Florida won a close doubles point, then got wins from Ingrid Neel at line 2 and Anna Danilina at line 3 with Kourtney Keegan clinching at line 6. The Buckeyes sole point came from Francesca Di Lorenzo, who beat Belinda Woolcock at line 1 6-3, 6-1.  The WatchESPN broadcast featured Patrick McEnroe and Mark Bey, with a guest appearance by USTA Collegiate Director Stephen Amritraj, so there was plenty of expert commentary, including an interesting discussion on where Kayla Day would fit in in college tennis. The graphics also made it easy to follow what was happening on all three or six courts, a definite improvement over previous streaming setups.

The Washington Post published an article yesterday on the huge increase in coaching salaries at the University of Kentucky, as well as the athletic facility boom that has accompanied it.  Although tennis is mentioned only in passing, it's a good look at what is transpiring in athletic departments of the major conferences, whether the sports generate revenue or not.


Wondering said...

Colette, where would Kayla Day fit in college tennis? For those of us who missed the discussion you reference

Colette Lewis said...

At the top, but caveats that pressures are much different in team situation

Ummm said...

I apologize for being so sarcastic, but that's really "insightful. " Isn't it obvious Day would be at the top? Especially, when you watch how she performed in Indian Wells. At the same time, last year's NCAA champ loses quickly 0 & 2 in the first round. With her current improvement, trajectory and age, it's hard to see the tennis benefit of college at this point.