Saturday, April 18, 2020

NCAA Adjusts Eligibility Requirements for Current High School Seniors; Competitive Pro Tennis Coming in May? Georgia Gwinnett Dominates Final NAIA Rankings

The NCAA announced it would loosen restrictions on the academic eligibility requirements for high school seniors who are anticipating enrolling in college this fall for the 2020-21 academic year. The complete list of adjustments, which includes rules regarding the core curriculum, GPA, standardized testing and pass/fail parts of eligibility can be found here.  Of note for tennis players, many of whom get their education entirely online:

The Eligibility Center also adjusted its operations in other ways to help prospective student-athletes, their parents and high schools during the pandemic. For example, the Eligibility Center will not require a separate review of distance or e-learning programs used for NCAA-approved core courses during spring and summer 2020 in response to school closures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Students are encouraged to complete their courses as recommended by their school, district or state department of education.

With some countries beginning to ease Covid-19 Stay at Home restrictions, several places are coming out with plans to televise competitive matches between professionals in May. Although the ATP and WTA are on hiatus until July 13, matches could start as early as May 1 in Germany. This The Telegraph article is behind a paywall, but what can be read without a subscription says that Tennis Channel will provide coverage.  

Reuters is reporting that Patrick Mouratoglou will begin competitive matches at his French Academy in mid-May, in an initiative titled Ultimate Tennis Showdown. Ten matches will be played each weekend for five weeks, with the first match featuring David Goffin of Belgium against Alexei Popyrin of Australia. 

Rafael Nadal, who also has an academy, appears to be interested in setting up something similar, although this release says the concept is being explored and there are no details.

I assume all these places will have access to quick regular testing and that they have obtained all the necessary clearances from the national and local health authorities. As much as we would all love to watch live tennis again, that desire isn't worth endangering anyone's health.
Chase Hodges, head men's and women's coach at Georgia Gwinnett
The final ITA singles and doubles rankings for the NAIA were published late last week and the Top 10s are listed below, with Georgia Gwinnett continuing its domination of the rankings. (Complete rankings are found via the link in the heading).  In this ITA article from last fall, Steve Pratt talked with men's and women's head coach Chase Hodges, who has built an NAIA juggernaut in his eight years; the men's team has not lost a match in five years and has lost only three matches in the program's history. 

1. Max Bertimon, Georgia Gwinnett College
2. Jose Dugo, Georgia Gwinnett College
3. Federico Bonacia, Georgia Gwinnett College
4. Daniil Klimov, William Carey University
5. Martin Barbier, Cumberlands (Ky.)
6. Luke Simkiss, Keiser University
7. Santiago Perez, Xavier University of Louisiana
8. Christopher Papa, San Diego Christian College
9. Nick Nienhaus, San Diego Christian College
10. Yuri Syromolotov, Middle Georgia State University

1. Elyse Lavender, Brenau University (Ga.)
2. Maria Genovese, Georgia Gwinnett College
3. Madeline Bosnjak, Georgia Gwinnett College
4. Tomomi Nagao, Cumberlands (Ky.)
5. Cade Pierson, Westmont College
6. Anais Gabriel, Keiser University
7. Priya Sukkahana, Savannah College Of Art & Design
8. Isidora Petkovic, Union College, Kentucky
9. Tereza Koplova, Georgia Gwinnett College
10. Angela Charles-Alfred, Xavier University of Louisiana