The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is moving forward with the 2021 Kickoff Weekend and subsequent Division I ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The leadership of the ITA, including the Division I Operating Committee, has approved a plan that scales back the events in size.
“Throughout this pandemic, the number one priority in our decision-making process has been, and will continue to be, the safety, health and welfare of our players, coaches, officials and host site staffs,” Cory Brooks, ITA Senior Director of Championships, said. “Over the last few months it became clear that a 16-team final site would be too large a hurdle to overcome. We believe that the size reductions will provide us the best chance at successfully completing a Kickoff Weekend and Team Indoor Championships in a safe and responsible manner.”
The 2021 Kickoff Weekend will be held January 22nd-25th and will consist of seven host sites for both women and men with four-team pods per site. In keeping with the innovative nature of this event, teams will select their Kickoff Weekend site during the Kickoff Weekend Draft on Monday, December 7th. In addition, all dual matches being played during the weekend of January 22nd will be considered part of the Kickoff Weekend umbrella and an official starting date for college tennis.
The Division I Women National Team Indoor Championship will be hosted by the University of Washington February 5-7th at the Nordstrom Tennis Center in Seattle, Washington. The Men’s National Team Indoor Championship will be hosted the following weekend by the University of Illinois at the Atkins Tennis Center in Champaign, Illinois. The fields will consist of the seven teams advancing from their Kickoff Weekend tournaments and the respective host site school.
“As we have done throughout the pandemic – including throughout the summer with our 2020 Oracle ITA Summer Circuit and the ITA Tour: Fall Circuit by UTR – our Association continues to demonstrate that college tennis is strong and that tennis is a leading safe, social-distancing sport,” ITA CEO Dr. Timothy Russell, added. “Our decisions at the ITA are made after consulting leading national health authorities. We are grateful to our two outstanding host institutions for their hard work and dedicated commitment to offering a chance to showcase our sport safely while allowing top teams to compete for a coveted national championship.”
The Division I National Team Indoor Championships are a longstanding event in college tennis history. The men’s National Team Indoor Championship began in 1973 and has been hosted throughout the country. Likewise, the women’s championship has been played every year since 1988. At the 2020 National Team Indoor Championships, the University of North Carolina Women and the University of Southern California Men lifted the trophies.