Excellent article from Parenting Aces ( see halfway down to read) written by Lisa Stone. Titled MORE SLASHING OF OPPORTUNITIES But before we get there, I am going to include a recent Zoo article and comments that will help explain how ludicrous this all is... For those following the 2014 USTA National cuts: All juniors are suppose to play their sections (except for those who are at the USTA PD who will will be wildcarded in) Except we found about a new wrinkle that the USTA is saying that juniors can receive a "automatic bid" from their section even if they have never played there ( no wildcard here needed) "There are reasons that kids ought to be excluded from their section qualifier and still get automatic bids into the Nationals, and not have to rely on a wild card." http://tenniskalamazoo.blogspot.com/2013/04/update-on-usta-junior-competition.html Pulled some interesting comments from the zoo article about this new way to get in ( without playing) and the also the elimination of the 18's Super National in March ( now gone forever). Geoff Grant said... I think this conversation highlights the absurdity of the situation we are facing going forward. There is currently no clarity on how the various sections are going to populate their endorsement lists - they are free to do it any way they want hence the comment that a player might still get onto his sections endorsement list without playing any sectional events - a section could decide to reserve X number of spots for sectional WC's if they choose - in theory a section could WC its whole list if they chose to. At this point we really have no idea what the competitive strategy should be until we all hear from our individual sections in terms of what the selection process is going to be section by section. George said... Can someone affiliated with the USTA explain why it is beneficial to cut the Super Nats for March for the Boys 18's. Many college coaches were there to look at the players and this is just another opportunity LOST for the our American juniors to play college tennis. Most kids are not dreaming of the pros, they play for the love of the game and want to continue on in college. Why is this so hard for the USTA to understand that they are taking away our kid's opportunities? Tennis5 said... Hi Geoff Grant, Great analysis of what can happen in the sectionals. Funny how the USTA didn't mention this new wrinkle in any of their proposals or documents. So, we all knew that the USTA doesn't have enough wildcards for all the kids who don't live in their sections and now we have the answer on how it will be even more unfair and not transparent. 4/18/2013 Greg - California said... George, They still have an event there in March - But, here is the kicker - 32 person TEAM event. GOLD BALL EVENT FOR 32 JUNIORS. LUCKY JUNIORS!!!!! if everyone recalls, you don't go home for this team event. If you lose, you stay. And get to play with the coaches who are assigned to this event. Wonder who the coaches will be???? No mention of how many wild cards there will be though. First proposal I saw ( and the only one that mentioned wild cards for this) had it 40% wild carded in. 4/18/2013 tennisfanatic said... Am I reading this correctly, a 32 team event for a Gold Ball? 4/18/2013 Tim said... 2010 2012 2014 Notice how they stacked the cuts so we slowly got use to them? Imagine going from 2009 to 2014 in terms of cuts? This was a long term plan. 4/18/2013 Tennismom said... How come we are just hearing now about the "automatic bids". I attended a listening tour ( 4 hour drive and a complete waste of my time and gas), and this was never mentioned..... And now the next wrinkle, there was suppose to be increased opportunity at the sectional level, except now that it is being cut........ http://parentingaces.com/more-slashing-of-opportunities/ MORE SLASHING OF OPPORTUNITIES In case you haven’t heard (!), USTA changed the national junior competition schedule, effective January 1, 2014. A big reason for the change, according to USTA, is to drive competition back to the sections instead of having so many big national tournaments requiring travel all over the country. Those opposed to the changes, including Yours Truly, kept asking USTA what it was doing to ensure the sections would step up and fill in the gaps. We never got a clear answer. And, now, that which we feared – that sections would not take on that task but would actually slash competitive opportunities instead – has come to fruition. I found out this week that the Southern California section is taking a big step in that direction (click here to read the information posted on its website which includes a link to a Comment form where you can share your opinion before the plan is finalized). Traditionally, all SoCal “designated” tournaments (comparable to our Bullfrogs in the Southern section) have had open draws. That is, any player who signed up got to play. And many of the age groups wound up with 128 or 256 draws played over two consecutive weekends. However, beginning January 1, 2014, Southern Cal will limit its designated draws to either 96 or 64 players (I’m still not clear on how they’ll make that decision for each event), in essence eliminating the opportunity to compete at that level for hundreds of juniors. The reasons SCTA gives for the reduction in draw size have to do with weather delays (it rains, on average, 16 days a year in Southern California), lack of enough large facilities, and difficulty in completing the large draws over two weekends – all valid reasons. However, the fact that these reductions come at the very same time as the reduction in national play opportunities under the 2014 changes seems short-sighted. Isn’t this the time that sections should be increasing opportunities to compensate for what’s happening at the national level? Interesting to note is the fact that a member of the 2013-2014 National Junior Competition & Sportsmanship Committee (the one responsible for passing the new 2014 national schedule) also chairs the committee in the SoCal section responsible for these designated tournament draw reductions. She obviously understands that the sections are supposed to be picking up the slack left by the national reductions; however, instead of making sure her section added competitive opportunities for its players, she pushed through this major slashing of opportunities in her own backyard. I just don’t get it! To put things in perspective, at this year’s Southern California Anaheim Designated, 166 boys and 105 girls would not have gotten to play if the SCTA had limited the tournament to a 64 draw. And the Boys 16s are going to be hit the hardest since that is typically the group with the largest number of players. The 16s is usually the first age group where college coaches are watching players to scout out future recruits. What will these reductions do to the chances for the kids “on the bubble” in terms of being seen by these coaches? Let’s also consider the issue of players who are trying to prepare for aging up to the next division. I’ve been told that the SoCal section is trying to figure out how to accommodate juniors who are in that situation, but, for now, there is nothing on the SCTA website to indicate there will be spots in the draws for these players. I hope that changes before the smaller draws take effect.