During last week’s pause of the Division I singles and doubles rankings, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association conducted meetings with our staff, coaches, ITA coach governance committees, conference officials, and the NCAA regarding steps for moving forward. The following were the major takeaways from those conversations:
- There is agreement that this pandemic year has been and continues to be an “unusual” year and that these types of rankings and selections issues are affecting multiple NCAA sports, not just tennis.
- Strength in leadership can manifest itself through prudent reflection in evaluating an institution’s normal procedures, especially during an unprecedented year like 2021.
- It remains clear that there are strong opinions on both sides of the issue concerning identifying rankings outliers and how to properly address these players.
- A simple solution that attempts to balance all of the various interests and includes consensus support is currently not available.
As a result, the ITA will continue the publishing of computer team, singles and doubles rankings along with the ITA Coaches Team Poll. We should note that the NCAA has requested the Coaches Team Poll for the purpose of review and in the spirit of transparency, we have decided to continue publishing that poll. It is also important to note that, at this point, the NCAA has not requested any other new metrics regarding singles and doubles rankings outside of historical data.
Per our agreement with the NCAA, we will continue to provide them with the above-mentioned ranking lists on a weekly basis leading up to NCAA selections the first week of May. We will also provide them with a weekly rankings summary highlighting the various “areas of concern” along with the differing opinions from our coaches regarding these areas of concern. As we have said before, the job of selecting teams and individuals for the NCAA Championships remains the sole purview of the NCAA. Our ITA-NCAA partnership is a strong one and we will continue to support them in any way we can.