The college tennis world is up in arms over the NCAA’s format changes announced this week. The new rules aren’t exactly small stuff.
Under the new rules, singles matches will no longer be played as a full best-of-three, but with a first-to-10-points tiebreaker played in lieu of a third set. Doubles has also been shortened from an eight-game pro-set to one six-game set, and the gap between the doubles matches and singles will be only five minutes. Changeovers have been reduced from 90 to 60 seconds, and opponents will no longer warm up with one another before playing. The changes only apply to Division I matches. [Emphasis added.]
As I mentioned, there’s been a strongly negative reaction from coaches…
“Disturbing news re: future NCAA tennis format,” tweeted University of Georgia coach Manny Diaz. “Will kill our college game as we know it today.”
“Or we could just flip a coin for doubles point,” Diaz added. “That would shorten it. Don’t see baseball playing 6 innings or BB 3 quarters.”
… and players. So why do it? Well, the highlighted sentence above should give you a clue, but if you need a further hint, it’s a five-letter word that starts with the letter “m” and rhymes with “funny”.
“The shortened format may provide exposure opportunities through television coverage, live streaming and local media coverage,” the N.C.A.A. said. “It is difficult and cost prohibitive for television to air a 4.5 hour college tennis match. In addition, it is very challenging for local media (television or print) to watch and cover an entire dual match. Therefore, the sport lacks local and national coverage, which will be improved with a format that consistently finishes within a three-hour time frame.”
Anything to help out ESPN, the Pac-12 Network and the Big Ten Network, I suppose.
The NCAA has no problem prostituting college athletics to make a buck. But heaven forbid a college player should want to make a few dollars off his name by selling a jersey. Funny how the organization can’t see the hypocrisy in that.
UPDATE: Oh, but don’t worry, friends. “The NCAA legislative process has made the necessary changes to support the four-team, seeded playoff that begins during the 2014-2015 season.” Whew, that’s a relief.
6 responses to “Gimme some of that old-time amateurism.”
Changing the sport to televised it is sad indeed. People will watch a full day of golf so the time issue is baloney. Players won’t be used to playing regulation tennis so may go another route if they are good enough to go pro.
I am not sure which is worse – the motivation for the changes or the sheer lunacy of the changes themselves.
Make it all doubles, make the contestants wear bikinis or beach shorts, play some rock music in the background, and make it 2 games to 21 with a tie-breaker game to 15, if needed. Worked for beach volleyball.
Actually as a volleyball player and fan, it did work. But trying to make team tennis marketable in this way is a stretch.
In a related move, now NCAA collegiate golfers will only hit their drives and then their approach shots to the green. All matches will be match play and whomever is closest to the hole wins that hole. In the event of a tie on closest to the hole, whoever was longest off the tee wins the hole. Any ties after 18 holes are decided by the host golf pro going: “Eeeny, meeny, miney, mo” until he picks the winner.
Yeah, this is insane. I’m still not okay with playing all the doubles matches in pro sets and as a single point. The biggest loss of character in the college game to me is when they moved from no ad scoring back to traditional scoring. That alone adds a lot of time to a match. Bring back no ad if you really want to shorten the matches and keep the uniqueness of college tennis.
I wish the golf channel would carry college golf. As of yesterday Harris English was four under.