For the past several years the ITA Division III Operating Committee has been conducting a comprehensive review of the Division III tennis scoring format.  The primary goal of that review was to look for opportunities to reduce the length of a Division III dual match and the resulting strain on institutional resources and student-athletes, and do so in a way that did not significantly impact the experience and participation rates of student-athletes.  That review concluded this past May with a survey of Division III tennis coaches.  Upon the conclusion of the review, the ITA Operating Committee approved two separate scoring format proposals that were then forwarded on to the NCAA Division III Tennis Committee for consideration at their July annual meeting.  

Ultimately, the NCAA Tennis Committee was not comfortable supporting an official change to either proposal, citing a need for more data regarding the impact of those proposals on dual match length as well as on the DIII student-athlete experience.  The NCAA Tennis Committee did express a desire to pilot no-ad scoring at the 2023 NCAA Team and Individual Championships and has forwarded that proposal on to the NCAA Division III Championships Committee for review in September.

The ITA Division III Operating Committee reconvened on Tuesday, August 2nd, to review the NCAA feedback and determine the next steps.  The following action items were approved by the Operating Committee and will be implemented for the 2022-23 season: 

1.  MANDATORY NO-AD SCORING PILOT 

The ITA DIII Operating Committee has instituted a mandatory, no-ad scoring pilot for all of DIII tennis for the 2022-23 season. This covers fall individual play including all ITA sanctioned tournaments, ITA Regional Championships, and the ITA Cup.  It also covers all non-conference dual match play (fall and spring) and any other conference or association that plays under ITA rules.  The ITA understands that conferences and the NCAA have the authority to amend ITA rules for their individual conferences or championships, but the hope is that all conferences and the NCAA will choose to participate in this pilot.  

The ITA also understands that the NCAA Division III Championships Committee will not make a decision prior to the month of September regarding whether this pilot will occur at the 2023 NCAA Championships.  With the season starting in just a few weeks, the ITA felt it necessary to make a decision now so that information related to the pilot can be distributed to DIII coaches and administrators.  The ITA is comfortable moving forward with the pilot even if the NCAA Division III Championships Committee rejects the NCAA request.  

During the course of the pilot, the ITA will collect data related to dual match length as well as solicit feedback from coaches and players regarding the impact of no-ad scoring on a dual match and on the student-athlete experience.

No-ad tennis matches are played as follows: If each player/team has won three points, the score is “Deuce” and a deciding point shall be played. The receiver(s) shall choose whether to receive the service from the right half or the left half of the court. In doubles, the players of the receiving team cannot change positions to receive this deciding point. The player/team who wins the deciding point wins the game.

2.  7–POINT DUAL MATCH FORMAT PILOTS 

In addition to the no-ad pilot mentioned above, the ITA Operating Committee will move forward with alternate scoring format pilots at select dual match tournaments in the spring.  While the specific details have not yet been finalized, the ITA intends to pilot the following:

  • Modified DI/DII format proposed to the NCAA in June (7-point match, no-ad scoring, 8-game doubles pro set with a tiebreak at 7-games all) 
  • Current DI/DII format (7-point match, no-ad scoring, 6-game doubles set)

These pilots will only be played at ITA-approved events or during conference play with ITA approval.  These pilots cannot be played elsewhere without the permission of the ITA DIII Operating Committee. Any conferences or events that wish to go beyond the no-ad pilot and pilot a 7-point dual match format should reach out to the ITA office as soon as possible.  

All match results from 7-point format pilots held during the 2022-23 season will be accepted by the ITA for rankings consideration.  The NCAA Division III Tennis Committee has also confirmed that those same results will be accepted for NCAA Championship selection and seeding purposes. 

During the course of the pilot, the ITA will collect data related to dual match length as well as solicit feedback from coaches and players regarding the impact of no-ad scoring on a dual match and on the student-athlete experience.

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