View Full Version : How good do you need to be to play College Tennis?

02-18-2005, 01:40 AM
I remember reading in an old Tennis Magazine about a Division III college in the New York Athletic Conference, think it was called Hunter College and it got me wondering exactly what the standard is for college tennis. I know you've got the top players at Division I schools but wondered what the standard is like in Division II and III , NAIA and NJCAA. Anyone got any ideas? The article didnt make the boys from Hunter seem like world beaters so was curious as to what it was like elsewhere.

02-18-2005, 06:14 AM
Andrew it's all over the place as far as talent goes other than Div1 where any school paying attention to it's tennis Program has really good players (for the most part)...It really depends on the college rather than the Division from what I've seen, and in Div1 play it's often more like a business than a college team. some Div2 teams may sport a really terrific #1 or #1 and 2 (often foreign players - no offense to foreigners), and then the level of play can really slip, others have several good players, and perhaps schools like Hunter have a bunch of 4.0's and less and are kinda like the Jamaican Bobsled team if you know what I mean? lol. Anywho, I think it's all over the place, and please..i mean no offense to foreigners, but personally I would like to see more Americans playing for American college teams, and I think it should just be a type of extension of some sort of USTA development Program..get in the Program and maybe even be a disadvantaged kid, and there can possibly be a full ride scholarship there for you if you are good enough and put in the work,,,,that;s how it works for hoops and such..why not tennis other than tennis always being an elistist snooty sport? i realize the elite players rarely fnish college and go pro however. the USTA is really weak IMO

02-18-2005, 06:24 AM
When I played at a D1 school in the mid to late 90's, no one, including the coach paid any attention to the team or the program. He was too busy trying to juggle the schedules of the mens & womens teams which he coached at the same time. He didn't want to recruit locally either. He must have run the program at that time for the perks, b/c we certainly weren't winning matches w/his help. I would have been better off going to a smaller school, getting an academic scholarship to "play" there & enjoyed myself. I chose the walk-on route b/c I wanted an education 1st.

02-18-2005, 06:47 AM
Ed, I dont think anyone would take offense. Actually, I was having a look at the Intercollegiate website after I posted my question and came across a school called Vanguard University (think it's in Southern California) and I was very surprised to see just how many of the players were from overseas. I dont think that's such a big problem if most of them are full-fee paying students but my guess is most would be on a scholarship.

We dont have that system out here but if we did I think Id be in favour of limiting the number of international players in receipt of scholarships. Education is expensive and a scholarship can make all the difference in the world to someone with limited means. Despite having had a career playing sport I think whatever glory sporting success gives a school or club it is only fleeting and not worth the effort of attracting internationals just so you can have a good season. The argument might be that winning attracts donations to the uni but as money has to go into paying for those scholarships it can be negligable. There might also be a run-off effect with local youngsters striving to improve their game with the scholarship as their goal, it being the only way many will pay for college. Truthfully though, there should be far more academic scholarships than sporting ones, athought that is way off the topic LOL.

Flip-side of the argument though. Does that mean a young 5.0 Aussie kid could likely find a Division III school that might provide him with a scholarship? Despite what I wrote above, it is a great way for us to keep our younger players, who wont ever be pros, playing the game and getting an education at the same time.

02-18-2005, 07:08 AM
sure Andrew I think a good 5.0 Aussie could get a T scholorship somewhere if he gets lucky, is diligent, does alot of research etc. wish i could help, but i just dont know enough about it these days. but there are , of course variations to scholarships, and some just arent such a big deal..i think free rides in tennis may be pretty hard to come by with tennis not being such a popular sport in most cases in the US..the big colleges dump their money into the sports that generate the most revenue..ie basketball and football..essentially many colleges are being run like corporations as is our government which is as you say, another topic all together..hope you like your day

Geezer Guy
02-18-2005, 07:54 AM
Several of the girls that belong to the same tennis club that I do have received tennis scholorships to small local colleges. (One of them won State at the HS level, and other's did well but didn't win.) I'm a 3.5 adult male that wins more than he loses. These girls are better than me, but it's not like they totally blow me off the court. I'd guess they're maybe 4.0's or 4.5 tops. You give these girls a forehand in their strike zone and they'll tear the cover off the ball. The rest of their game isn't as strong.

Several of the local HS boys can beat these girls, but the boys are not even good enough to go to state.

02-18-2005, 08:57 AM
Thanks guys. Partly I was curious and partly I wanted a bit of information/opinion regarding scholarships so I could offer a bit of encouragement and advise to some of the young blokes and their parents at the club.
The best of them dont really need any help and will, no doubt, be well looked after. However, the others who fall into that next bracket down may well keep their interest levels up if they can see that college tennis is attainable even to those who aren't in the State or National teams. Otherwise, there seems to be a distinct drop in interest when they turn 18. They'll mostly go on to university but how exciting would it be to do that overseas and with the opportunity to play the sport you love.
I figure, I've had my day in the sun (albeit in another sport) so why not lend a hand to someone else if at all possible. Even if they cant get a scholarship I think quite a few would like the idea of playing tennis while they get an education.

02-18-2005, 09:27 AM
correct me if I am wrong but back when I was in college-

Div 3= no scholarship players.
Div 2= limited/partial scholarship
Div 1= Full scholarship

02-18-2005, 09:35 AM
Well not everyone at these levels attains athletic scholarships. I certainly didn't @ my D1 school but that was because I tried out for the team as a walk-on & made it as a lark. I never saw 1 dime of a scholarship any of the 4 years I attended undergraduate

02-18-2005, 09:53 AM
I think it depends on the sport. Football gives scholarships at DIII. Also, they might give 1 or 2 scholarships, say for tennis, and still recruit on the basis of academic scholarship. I have talked with a lot of coaches at all levels when I was officiating college matches. It all differs but at the DI levels, coaches are just as serious now as the football coaches. Their jobs depend on winning and thus on recruiting. But the talent level, as has been addressed here, is all over the place, even at DI.

02-18-2005, 10:07 AM
one thing with naia is there were no harsh age restrictions when i played compared to ncaa so a lot of the foriegn former pro's could come to america and get a free education even after they were on the pro tour so long as they had not started university over 4 or 5 years prior i believe. something like that. so in naia you will see sometimes even better players than d1 but often times older. i would say if you want a scholly at an naia school or d1 you will likely have to be academic scholar or 4.5 level at least unless you get lucky i guess. also, even some top d1 schools do not give all of their players schollies. i know of one that could only give partials to 7 players plus academic. good luck.

02-18-2005, 07:07 PM
My D III school isn't allowed to give athletic scholarships (to tennis players anyhow...I'm sure they do for football since we are usually good (top 8 in the nation LAST year)...) Anyhow, I know some schools get around this restriction by offering "scholastic scholarships" or some other bull ****...
As such, in my league there are basically the "haves" and the "have nots"... Those that most likely offer under-the-table scholarships, and those that don't, which means the quality level of competition varies drastically from school to school...

02-18-2005, 11:12 PM
I know a kid who was applying for tennis scholarships, and was offered a few partial scholarships through E mail - without the school ever seeing him play. His ego took over, and he conveniently translated this into meaning that he must be great - as he was 'in demand' and being offered scholarships.

Some schools simply have spots available and are desperate to fill them - to the point than anyone who knows how to hold a racquet is a 'viable candidate'.

02-18-2005, 11:44 PM

If you are looking to play tennis for a college here in the states, it actually can be quite competitive. By and large, however, Ed is right in that with many DII, DIII and JUCOs the talent on a team can range from a Brad Gilbert at #1 to a Brad Bananahead at #6.

Having said that, I only recently had to resign from coaching college tennis, so I still have contacts here and receive emails regularly from coaches looking for players.

DIII schools do NOT give athletic scholarships. That is why they are DIII. Making some of those teams is actually harder then DII, because the DIII players tend to be students that stay local but are great athletes. I know several local DIII schools here that are probably better then all the DII schools in my state.

DII and DI give scholarships. It is rare, at either level, for a tennis athlete to get a full scholarship. Part of the reason you see so many foreigners is that the colleges get money from their countries and through some US foreign aid programs, plus foreign students pay a premium tuition to study here. Overall the college makes money on the deal. You typically see maybe 4 full scholarships given on a DI team. Parsed out, that is usually 1 full scholarship, 2-3 half scholarships, and then quarter scholarships as is practical. Since tennis athletes, I am proud to say, tend to be much better student-athletes then other sports, many tennis players also qualify for academic scholarships and grants. So, a coach can give only a small athletic scholarship but the student can still get a free ride if not close to a free ride.

Best chance is actually at a DII school. They typically need athletes. As a matter of fact, If you are interested or know someone who is, feel free to private email me from this site and I will put you in contact with several who email me often.

Oh, some important facts:

1. You must clear the NCAA clearing house. Go to www.ncaa.org for details and to apply.

2. You need to send video of yourself. I suggest a portion with you having close shots of your serves and strokes. Other portion needs to be match video. Just about any coach will ask for this before going too far with you.

3. You have to be able to balance school and tennis. If you need to work to support yourself and can't get a big enough scholarship, you will need to pare down your lifestyle so you can make less working a job and still put in the court time.

02-19-2005, 07:09 AM
Thanks very much, but the info isn't for me. Wish it was but Im happy to admit my tennis skills only run to about the 4.0 level LOL. The only scholarships I'll be looking for will be of the academic variety - in a couple of years when I do my PhD. I just wanted to get a bit of 'local' knowledge to pass along to the youngsters and their parents at the tennis club.

Its interesting that people have said there are no scholarships available in Division III. Going on the article about Hunter I can definately see that LOL (no offense to any current students or alumni), however, looking at the playing roster at Vanguard University, which I thought was a Division III school, I began to wonder.

Now I believe they're in some conference called NAIA (or close to it, you might be able to decipher which one) but did believe that was part of what you call Division III. The reason why I bring them up is that their entire starting roster on the men's team is made up of international students from Sweden, Germany and France. The girls team is more of a mix but still has about 4 internationals in the starting line-up. Just thought that was a little bit unusual unless they had some incentive to go there.

Kaptain Karl
02-19-2005, 09:07 AM
Andrew - Tennis can be a great door-opener to a college degree. And if young people are willing to consider non-NCAA Div I schools, there are quite a number of options.

(I had a scholarship to an NAIA Div II school.) It was a *small* school (500 students.) Using today's NTRP, I was probably a 4.5 then. The competition in our Conference wasn't that great. (The top two players were usually pretty good. After that? Quite a mix of abilities....) The cool thing for us was our coach arranged a Spring Trip each year where we traveled to Gulf Coast schools and played non-conference matches against some pretty good schools.

AND ... I was getting a college education.

With the capabilities of the Internet, I can't see why you couldn't make some pretty good contacts ... even from "across the pond."

I recently visited the websites of the schools we used to play. Their tennis rosters always seemed to have three or four foreigners. *Those kids* managed....

- KK

02-19-2005, 09:08 AM
Guys, there are also a lot of JUCO (2 yrs.) and NAIA schools that offer free rides all the way through for tennis.

02-20-2005, 11:07 AM

Shouldn't matter what org you are in (NCAA, NJCAA, NAIA) Division three III is non-scholarship. DI and DII for all others can give scholarships. Rules for how many and how differ for league and org.

02-20-2005, 04:28 PM
Yup, DIII is non scholarship. I DO know of a local school here that gives their tennis players money through some loop holes or something. Point is, if they want you bad enough they'll get yah money somehow. They can easily call it an academic scholarship.

I've played for 3 different Universities in Texas and let me tell yah, there are crap players on full scholarships around. You just gotta find the right school when they're in need.

02-20-2005, 04:57 PM
Tommy Gun, we have DIII private schools in SC that give athletic scholarships, primarily football. I don't know how many but the signing of players at the end of recruiting season is quite a publicized affair.

02-21-2005, 08:53 AM
As many have mentioned before, D111 is non-athletic scholarship. NAIA is a different organization from the NCAA, as well. I'd say the level of playing ability differs greatly from school to school. I wouldn't look at what division a school is in, I would look at the school itself. You should look at a school that fits you, not just a school with D1 athletics.

02-21-2005, 12:26 PM
Tommy Gun, we have DIII private schools in SC that give athletic scholarships, primarily football. I don't know how many but the signing of players at the end of recruiting season is quite a publicized affair.

OOps! These are DII schools. My bad.

02-21-2005, 03:56 PM
Thanks everyone, I'll pass the information along. I had a little look around the web and saw the info about Division III colleges not being able to award scholarships, also that NJCAA cant award them in Division III, only in I and II (tuition, books and fees only in div II). Interestingly though, I see that the opportunites for the girls are higher than for the boys (greater number of scholarships available). Had a look at the NAIA site and it would seem that scholarships are available, you just have to look around.

Not sure exactly what the NAIA or NJCAA standard is but all the info is helpful. Its an area not usually talked about out here but definately something useful to bring to the attention of the kids and their parents at our club. Given that our club is pretty much the biggest in the state (Queensland) Im sure someone will appreciate all your advice and info so, thanks again.

02-21-2005, 05:27 PM
AndrewD have a look through this website. It lists many of the top ranked schools from NCAA, NAIA and JUCO's. http://www.collegetennisonline.com

02-21-2005, 05:38 PM
AndrewD have a look through this website. It lists many of the top ranked schools from NCAA, NAIA and JUCO's. http://www.collegetennisonline.com

Hmm interesting Baylor University just won the NCAA indoor championship is made up of 9 foreign players and 1 american.

02-21-2005, 06:29 PM
Hmm interesting Baylor University just won the NCAA indoor championship is made up of 9 foreign players and 1 american.

Yea, it's pretty typical. It's been that way since the early 80's and the trend started well before that. If you get a chance to go to a good D1 match go. The tennis is awsome.

02-21-2005, 09:48 PM
i was recruited by my school when there were division 1 NAIA. the next year they moved down to Div. III NCAA. as a d1 naia school they could give scholarships, but not as a div III NCAA school.

i have to agree with several posters that the level of play certainly depends on the institution moreso than the level they are playing at.

in my four years i knew plenty of guys that played D-1 and moved down to DIII or DII schools simply because they didn't want to invest their time into tennis as much as D-1 demands.

at the DIII level, we played and beat several DII teams and we also played several DIII programs that destroyed us. aside from DI, tennis is pretty much teh same. only difference is in the bottom half of teh lineup where many DIII schools struggle to even find a 5th or 6th to finish their lineup. i've seen guys that were like 1.0's playing at 6 sometimes.

a young 5.0 aussie player should send his tape to a DIII school or two. DIII school's can often give players "academic" scholarships. i had several teammates on my basketball teams that came in on those after we were DIII. they're silly and only require you keep up a 2.0 to keep it. of course if you can't keep up a 2.0 they genereally kick you out of school anyways so they're lovely scholarships.

or course as a tennis instructor i should also caution. a 5.0 at a tennis club is definitely not a 5.0 at every other club. he might be a 6.0 somewhere else and a 4.0 elsewhere. just like tennis below D1 is more predicated on teh conference than if it is D2 or D3. I mean a guy playing #3 for a DII team is not necessarily a #1 on a D3 team.

02-23-2005, 03:48 AM
Thanks for the link andfor and the suggestions Prostaffer. I'd imagine any of the young kids would be rated via the International Tennis Number before they attempted to contact any schools. Closest we have to your rating system so it would give some idea of their standard and be more objective than their personal coach or club giving them a grading.

Kaptain Karl
02-23-2005, 07:46 AM
... more objective than their personal coach or club giving them a grading.Indeed, but DO NOT "discount" the value of a good word from one's Coach / Instructor. Any good referral helps. I got my scholarship entirely on my family's reputation as a tennis family. My College Coach called me sight-unseen and offered me a scholarship.

[I was stunned(!). His rationale: He'd played on my older brother's College team, and had heard about how three-of-(bro's)-four siblings were local Instructors and tournament players. ...And he'd been trying to recruit (one particular player) and "just" learned that player accepted a scholarship to UTC, instead. If he did not use that scholarship money, he would lose it. So he "took a chance" on me.]

BTW, I'd like to publicly thank Kyle Henderson for taking that UTC scholarship back in 1975.

- KK

02-23-2005, 10:39 AM
Kapt. Karl, Which UTC is that?

Kaptain Karl
02-23-2005, 12:39 PM
Kapt. Karl, Which UTC is that?Tennessee - Chattanooga

- KK

02-23-2005, 10:28 PM
anybody in here heard of Ventura college? its a community college but i heard they have a team that was good enought to beat some top dI teams in ncaa. One of their guys won the Ojai tournament... that would suck for me if i dont get accepted to a university i wanted to go to and end up going to VC and not make the tennis team.

02-24-2005, 12:19 AM
i've heard of them also. a while back here in the ******* there was another juco, i'm forgetting the name, that had an insane amount of talent also. last year we also played college of dupage who won the national championship for JUCO's not too long ago. they had an impressive squad.

remember, there's not that many scholarships to be had for tennis at the D1 level. there's plenty of deserving players so they ahve to play somewhere. from a person that has played college basketball. believe me. the jump in divisions in tennis is not that big as compared to basketball. there the jumps are monumental in size and talent.

my freshman year our number 1 and 2 players went to milwaukee for a tourney of D1 players. our guys took out a player from duke and did fairly well.

Kaptain Karl
02-24-2005, 05:56 AM
There are several JUCOs with lots of strength and depth on their teams. My college team got *spanked* by one JUCO in N. Florida ... 25 years ago. We won only our #1 Doubles match; lost 1-8.

P.S. I've been looking at some match results from some of the schools we used to play. When did the dual match format change? 25 years ago we all played matches worth 9 points (6 singles, 3 doubles). Now, I'm seeing 7 point matches (6 singles, 1 doubles). [And we wonder why doubles keeps getting "short shrift" in tournament play....]

- KK

02-24-2005, 12:16 PM
getting a bit sidetracked, but yes doubles is trying to die a very slow death in college. I heard of several conferences that account for the entire doubles series as one point instead of 3. so if you win 2 out of 3 you get only 1 point.

many conferences play 8 game pro-sets for double's as well. so sad, considering i thought of myself as a double's specialist.

New Balls
03-01-2005, 08:25 PM
This applies to dual matches:

All D1 matches (m&w) are scored first team to 4 out of 7, with the doubles being 1 point. Doubles is always played first, unless both coaches agree to start the singles play first. Doubles is always a pro set.

D3 matches (m) use the same format as above. D3 (w) play first to 5 out of 9, where each doubles pro set counts for 1 point. Again, doubles is played first.

So wtf aren't they the same? Both m&w play 2of3 sets...it's not like they're playing 5 setters out there, and the women can only play 3...

03-01-2005, 09:37 PM
i played dIII and graduated last year. i was under the impression that it was left up too each conference. for out of conference matches i believe it is up too both coaches to decide depending time constraints and weather.

i remember we played a DII program two years in a row. both times we played different rules. the second time we went with the "quickie" format due to the weather. they hadn't planned ahead and put away court time.

New Balls
03-01-2005, 10:29 PM
Yea dude, you may be right. I'd tend to think that most all D1 should be the same, but D3 is where you'd have the variations. My previous post was based on the PAC-10 and some dinky south D3 conference I don't even remember the name because the whole conference was so sad, you could win it with your average USTA 4.0 team.

Why not play lets in D3? wtf, only D1 guys serve fast?

03-03-2005, 11:58 AM
D3 is so weird. you have some real powerhouse teams/conferences. then there are alot of wastelands that couldn't beat a club team. like i said. at the top of the lineups you'll have d1 talent at some schools. it's not hard for d3 teams to beat d2 teams. it's really not as tiered as say basketball for football. remember there's a ton of colleges out there so of course in all your divisions you will have strong ones and weaks ones that can beat or lose in and out of your division.

03-05-2005, 10:31 PM
JUCO talent is all over the scale. It literally goes from guys that look like complete beginners to guys that are real good and ready to jump to a good 4 year college.