Wednesday, April 15, 2020

ITF Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup Will Not Be Held at USTA's National Campus This September; ITA CEO Russell Responds to Arkansas Prof; ITA Division II Team Rankings

The USTA National Campus hosted the Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup last year
I have recently learned that the USTA will not be hosting the ITF's 16-and-under Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup competitions this fall at the Lake Nona National Campus. Last year was the first year of the USTA's three-year hosting contract with the ITF, but the USTA has informed the ITF that it is unable to host the event this year. I do not know if this is related to the change of dates for the French Open, but as I mentioned at the time the French moved to the fall, the second week, when the junior championships are held, was in direct conflict with the Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup, set for September 28-October 3. There is also little time to hold regional qualifiers for the event; all would have to be between July 13 and September 27, now that many events usually held in the spring have been canceled. If the ITF does move ahead with the event, I would expect it to be held in Europe a week or two after the French, but that's pure speculation on my part. My emails to the ITF have not been answered.

Tim Russell, the CEO of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, has written a response to last week's ADU article by Arkansas professor Steve Dittmore, which offered tennis as one of the collegiate Olympic sports most vulnerable to cutting in the latest financial crunch. Russell makes the case for sports as a meaningful part of the college experience, and for tennis as one of the world's truly global sports. He also makes a case for some balance when it comes to the revenue-producing sports and the rest.  Russell's lengthy response can be read in full at the ITA website.

I found my way to another article on the subject today at Matt Brown's Extra Points blog, and he mentions a couple of programs that have already been cut recently, neither of them tennis. (Division II St. Edward's in Austin Texas announced the cutting of six sports, including men's and women's tennis today). But he points out that the recent emergency push to allow Division I schools to remain in the FBS without sponsoring the current requirement of 16 varsity sports is not good omen for Olympic sports. Brown makes several good suggestions to help decrease the cost of having Olympic sports, including letting those sports form competitive leagues outside their current conferences and getting the Name, Image and Likeness rules in place quickly. These are complicated issues, but understanding the business of college athletics is more important now that it has ever been.

The ITA published the Division II team rankings today, and although I'm not sure they are being titled "final," it is likely to be all we'll have as we look back on the abbreviated season. Although they would have normally been using computer rankings by now, because of the cancellation of the season, these rankings were compiled via a poll.

The Division II Men's Team Top 10:
1. Columbus State University (8)
2. Barry University
3. University of West Florida
4. Saint Leo University
5. Hawaii Pacific University
6. St. Edward’s University
7. Flagler College
8. Drury University
9. Lander University
10. Queens University of Charlotte

The Division II Women's Team Top 10:
1. Barry University (8)
2. Lynn University
3. Nova Southeastern University
4. Hawaii Pacific University
5. University of Indianapolis
6. Columbus State University
7. University of West Florida
8. Saint Leo University
9. University of Central Oklahoma
10. University of North Georgia