The USTA wants self rates by whatever means necessary

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by dizzlmcwizzl, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    Just venting ... feel free to pile on or call me out, whatever works for you

    For the third year in a row we are advancing to sectionals knowing we are at a severe disadvantage because all of our players are established league players. On the other 5 teams there are a total of 24 self rated self rated players. One team has 8 self rated players on a roster of 15. The self rated players at sectionals have cumulative record of 132 - 18. Most of those 18 loses were from 3 self rated players on perhaps the worst team. If you take out those three players the cumulative record of the self rates is an astounding 127-6.

    How is it that the USTA could create a system where long time established consumers have little or no chance to to earn their flagship product ... a National Championship? Instead they have a system that rewards teams who bring in self rated players already playing at, or above the top of the rating level.

    Maybe this is what it is all about ... bringing in new players into the USTA by whatever means necessary.

    Yes I had a lot of time on my hands today and FWIW every one of our players has been a computer rated 4.0 for at least 4 years.
     
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  2. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Sure you didn't want to type 'USTA wants $$$$ by whatever means necessary'?
     
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  3. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Yep, you are the consistent revenue stream the USTA banks on. They know they've got you so the only way to grow their business is to entice new customers. By whatever means they can justify. Self rates aren't going to be discouraged.

    Same reason companies give you half off cable for 12 months, waive activation fees, etc, etc. They've got you and you are just f'd.
     
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  4. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Why don't you take next yr off - and just take your team (and maybe another team or two in the same boat - real 4.0s with no sandbaggers) and have tournaments, ladders, etc. next year among yourselves. Sounds like you have a decent number of players with similar skills who (although you don't say) get along. You may never go back to USTA leagues.
     
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  5. Kostas

    Kostas Semi-Pro

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    lol @ the guy going to sectionals for the THIRD straight year *****ing about how he can't compete.

    How do you think all the teams in your local league, regional and state feel about you winning the state championship three years in a row?
     
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  6. TeflonTom

    TeflonTom Banned

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    never rlly understood the point of national champs anyway

    go to all that effort 2 prove u r the best players in the country not 2 be rated at the next level up

    any1 who makes sectionals 3yrs in a row are prolly sandbaggers anyway, just smart enough about it 2 avoid gettin bumped
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
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  7. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    OH .. they complained and we don't blame them. We started a 4.5 team last year and almost everyone played up expecting to get the bump. We even played well at sectionals the last two years ... finishing a close second the first year and last year we lost 5 MTB combined in the two matches we lost.

    We are a good team that has many players who should easily get moved up in November. Everyone of those players has a well earned 4.0 rating that has gotten better over the last 4 years while we were together ... yet we are going into this sectional tourney just like the last two. Chances are a team with at least 4 self rated players in the starting lineup will go to nationals. Compare that to us ... a team that has been dominant and together for several years that likely has no chance.
     
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  8. Jack the Hack

    Jack the Hack Hall of Fame

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    This is not shocking at all. From 2006 to 2009, I was a part of several league championship teams that advanced to Sectionals using veteran League players. During that time period, the team that beat us at Sectionals and advanced to Nationals was always stocked with 4 or more self rated studs (who, coincidently, were also the best players on those teams). Over those 4 seasons, the accummulative records of these self rated players were very similar to what you have calculated for your region.

    Both I and my co-captain wrote numerous e-mails to the USTA, and talked with officials about this in person whenever we had the chance. To fix the problem, we suggested a modification that self rated players would be able to play in the local league, but would be ineligible for the playoffs in the first season. Another idea was to make it so self rated players would have to a minimum of 6 or 8 matches before being playoff eligible (making it more likely that they would strike out). Either way, we thought this might help weed out the ringers... because the cheating with the self rating system is a disgrace! However, here we are several years later, and nothing has changed.

    For what it's worth, I took on 3 self rated players this year for the first time on my 4.5 team. (If you can't beat them, join them... right?) Two of them had played D1 tennis in the 80's and another was ranked #1 in our section in his age group. However, all three of my players were over the age of 42 (which is how they were able to get 4.5 ratings - we didn't cheat). They were all key contributors to our wins, and my team made the local playoffs again. Unfortunately, another local team stocked themselves with 4 self rated players, all under the age of 30, who seemed to be 5.0+. One of them was a recent graduate of a ranked D3 team, who I would have filed a grievance against if they had played him against us (he was saved for the final). In addition, they have a huge cheater on their team that self rated at 4.0 a couple seasons ago despite a couple state high school championships and a good D1 college career, and now has an untouchable computer rating. The USTA knows about that guy because a grievance was filed, but they refused to act on it because of his computer rating (although they acknowledged that he never should have been allowed to self rate at 4.0). It was bitter to lose against those guys, but I figure they will all be bumped to 5.0 next year, where my guys will still be at 4.5. Besides, since most of my team is 40+, I'm looking forward to that division next year (where hopefully there will be less self rating abuse).

    On that note, I'm just curious how many of these self rated ringers you've researched are under the age of 40?

    My guess is that it's close to 90% or more.
     
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  9. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Actually, I would imagine dizzl and many of his teammates will get bumped up to 4.5.

    Since they will then have no chance of making playoffs, that will mercifully free them of all this nonsense, and allow them to focus on enjoying good challenging regular-season matches.

    Much as it pains me to do so, I agree with TT :)
     
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  10. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    Don't do that ...

    However, after reading about how we must be sand baggers ... I went back and found that everyone one of our starting lineup played and won at least 1 match at 4.5 this year. Several of us more than one.

    Now, perhaps some of us should have been moved up earlier, but everyone one of us is trying to challenge ourselves and get moved up. No one on our team is playing to lose in other sections and all the players that matter are actually playing and winning while playing up at the next level.
     
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  11. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    I would like to go back to looking up at the pack. There was less pressure to win, and more emphasis on getting better when I was at the bottom of the pack.
     
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  12. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    Dont know them ... just their names and records but you are probably right.

    We only have two under 40 (singles). I have always thought that the senior division is less filled with the self rate scourge ... I too am looking forward to the new age groupings.
     
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  13. TeflonTom

    TeflonTom Banned

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    this just proves what a farce the whole system is. even if u didnt have self-rates in usta playoffs they would still be dominated by teams like urs, computer rated but still full of ppl who should be playin at the next level up anyway

    i really dont see the point in gettin bent outta shape about one particular vagary of a system that is inherently stupid. the idea of a national championships for a league where by definition the best ppl shouldnt be playin in it is ridiculous. u kinda need to accept that premise from the outset
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
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  14. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Great line. So true.

    Aw. I was feeling bad for you until you added some detail.
     
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  15. escii_35

    escii_35 Rookie

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    I have a feeling 4.0 and 4.5 self rates will be smidgen unusual and attract some scrutiny in the new 40yo bracket.

    As for a playoff wait for self rates between 3.5 - 4.5 yes.
     
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  16. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    I completely defer to your Knowledge. But why now? He said his team has been very successful 3 yrs in a row?

    And I still stand by my point - if he truly feels the USTA is flawed (and he'll get no complaints from me), he should take a year off and create his own league. He has plenty of equally matched players - might be refreshing. And send a small message to the USTA.
     
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  17. hcb0804

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    I played a guy Sunday at 4.0, my rating and I should honestly be a 3.5. The guy I played against has a backhand like Tommy Haas ,
    serve like Isner, and was a self rated add on to his team. What a shock. His team already had a guy DQ'd mid season who had self rated. The score was 6-1, 6-3, only because he purposely hit 4 double faults in one game and started obviously tanking points in the second set. If Usta is telling me Im a 4.0, this guy was at least a 5.0. Usta ratings blow.
     
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  18. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    how do you see if they are self rated?
     
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  19. hcb0804

    hcb0804 Hall of Fame

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    It was the first season he ever played USTA.
     
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  20. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    South Jersey is in the same boat as you with a team with few self-rates and almost all starters B-rated. That should be a fun match.

    And I have it on good authority that the Philly team will be a mere shell of the team that swept districts.
     
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  21. Jack the Hack

    Jack the Hack Hall of Fame

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    Go to USTA League section of the TennisLink site and enter the player's name in the "Find NTRP Rating" box. If they have an "S" next to their rating, they are self rated.

    http://tennislink.usta.com/Leagues/Common/Default.aspx
     
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  22. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    yea ... we heard that too. Problem is we lost sean to them becasue they needed him or else they would default courts at sectionals.

    The NJ team has 3 or 4 self rates, but they are clearly not among their best players. Unless they have been tanking all along. They will be tough but I dont mind playing good players that have established themselves. I get perterbed when new players underate.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
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  23. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    I have no specific knowledge about dizzl so that's just a guess based on his posts about his results.

    Why now? Well the way ratings work is by applying differentials to your starting rating based on your results. So someone starting out at the bottom of a level and having good results might not gain enough additional rating to get bumped to the next level, but someone already close to the top of the level, with the exact same results, would be more likely to get bumped. So I reckon by now dizzl is near the top of his level and so is likely to get bumped with continued good results.

    USTA is flawed only if you get caught up in the whole playoff madness thing. If you view USTA as a way to get a bunch of mostly good competitive matches during the regular league season, then it works great.
     
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  24. g4driver

    g4driver Hall of Fame

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    You chose the words "mostly good competitive matches", so you are right for the most part. But the USTA also has a lot of worts, and don't upgrade the "product" often. The USTA is highly resistant to change. Sometimes this works, other times it does not. The USTA also has the only game in town in some cities, with USTA dominating court time from 6pm to well after 10 pm during weeknights Monday through Thursday where I play in the spring and fall.

    Back to sandbagging "S" rated players. ;)

    I saw a guy do this last year during a tournament when he faced a guy who was one or two levels above his stated 3.5S rating. After three games of being beat down, the 3.5C walked up to the person and said something like this to the 3.5S Opponent (my recollection from the 3.5C comments to me):

    "Two things are clearly evident:

    1) You misrepresented your abilities when you self-rated as an 3.5
    2) Winning is more important to you than anything else. Accordingly, I am not allowing you to waste any more of my time, so I will make this easy for you. I retire." :shock:

    No handshake, just packed up his stuff and walk off the court. I asked him what he said after he walked off the court. He was calm and cool about it. He knew he couldn't win the match, and rather than try, he refused to be a punching bag for the sandbagger.

    If the USTA refuses to fix the problem, we as players could refuse to allow the beat downs by retiring earlier. I haven't faced this since last year, but I have respect the 3.5C for standing up and calling the guy out. The guy that walked out the court had more self-respect than I have seen in a long time.

    I probably would have simply taken the beating and then whined. This guy took control and walked off the court with his head held high. No complaints from him at all. I wonder how long the 3.5S thought about his actions. 5 minutes tops ??? I know he didn't care. He got his win and moved on. I won't soon forget the 3.5C actions though.
     
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  25. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Shocking that the USTA wants new players to play tennis. SHOCKING.
     
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  26. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for this link. It was through revisiting this link that I found that there really are LOTS of USTA B and C rated players in Broward County Florida. Just not very many at all in Fort Lauderdale. And, as far as I've been able to ascertain, absolutely NO 3.0s. Most of the ratings are 4.0 or 4.5 with a few 3.5s scattered throughout the list(s).

    One thing I noticed in the Adult (not Senior or Super Senior) Leagues listing was a Tom C. Cundy. If I'm not mistaken, this guy won the Kentucky state high school tennis championship in 1951. So, he has to be, what, about 75, 76 years old? And he's a 4.5 in the Adult League list? Which means what? That he's playing 4.5 level tennis against players 18 and over? Either this guy is REALLY good, or I'm just confused.
     
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  27. Jack the Hack

    Jack the Hack Hall of Fame

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    I would doubt that it's the same Tom C. Cundy. A 75 year old 4.5 rated player would be pretty rare. However, I suppose it's possible. Could it also be realistic that it's his son instead? That would put him in his early 50s, which probably matches the 4.5 activity showing in TennisLink (with lots of matches in regular 18+ league as well as the senior 50+ league).

    The top ranked 75 year olds in the section I live in are rated 4.0, and they have decent national rankings. Even though they are in great shape for their ages, and have lots of tennis skill, their speed of movement just isn't there anymore. A younger 4.5 that is patient or has some power as a weapon would probably pick apart a player of that age. However, I'd like to think that a 75 year old Rod Laver might be able to still teach a lesson to a player like me (I'm a 40 year old 4.5).
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
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  28. TomT

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    I hadn't thought of that. I suppose it's possible to find out.
     
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  29. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    As a non-USTA player. I'm going to have to ask the question:

    Why are Self Rates allowed in the first place?

    Why not just have a separate Self Rate section or set of rules to overcome this?

    I'm also in the boat of not understanding the whole "national championships" side of this. If you're on a team that wins the 4.0 Nationals, you probably don't have one legit 4.0 on your team to begin with! So what's the point exactly?
     
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  30. goober

    goober Legend

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    Self rates grow the leagues and bring in more money. Making it easier for them to join is the goal. The USTA has over 330,000 members playing leagues. People are paying $25-35 to join each league. Many people play mulitple leagues. You do the math- it is a huge amount of money.

    I agree that National championships for NTRP levels make little sense. Currently it is an exercise in who can work the system the best with out of level players. What's the point? I am not sure, but there is a distinct subgroup of USTA players and captain that want to win really badly. It doesn't matter if it is 3.0 or 3.5 tennis, it is win at all costs. National championships give them some kind of validation of something in their lives- not sure what.
     
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  31. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I know there are a lot of sandbaggers on teams that go to Nationals. I don't think it is quite fair to conclude that any team or person who goes to Nationals is a sandbagger or a cheater.

    When my little 3.5 DC senior team made it to senior nationals, we did it fairly and honestly. All of us were computer-rated. All six of us were bumped up, and all six of us now struggle to win matches at 4.0.

    What's the point of going to Nationals? Meh. It was fun, it was memorable. I don't see why folks are willing to scheme so much to get there, but they do. I guess I am proud that we did the thing honestly, which I guess is why I have such positive memories.
     
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  32. OrangePower

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    Several people in this forum have suggested that one way to address this is by not allowing self rates to play in playoffs. That just means they would initially have to play just during the regular season, until getting a computer rating. Not exactly a hardship, but it violates the first rule of USTA league:

    As for the point of Nationals... I personally agree with you, but obviously many people are motivated by the chance to play in a post-season etc. Actually I think there are two games being played:

    Tennis (as in, on the court stuff), and

    Tennis-team-management, which is what it takes to do well in the post-season.

    And by tennis-team-management I don't mean just the shady stuff (although of course that sometime happens)... There are many honest and fair captains who enjoy managing teams and making them contenders using legitimate means. It takes a lot of effort and skill, although not tennis skill per se. For those that enjoy this aspect, great. Personally I prefer to focus on improving my on-court skills, since boy could they use improving!
     
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  33. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    I agree with this. It would be great to go to nationals and winning would feel like a terrific achievement, but only if I got there fairly. If I somehow self-rated 3.0 to join a team of misrated sandbaggers that was going to nationals, I might not feel the same way.
     
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  34. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    I understand the point of what folks have said about its silly to have a national championship for folks not good enough to be in the next level ... but the alternative is having open level tourneys which 99.9% of the tennis public has no chance, or having nothing at all..

    I play a lot of league tennis... and overwhelmingly I find that the Ratings bands do a pretty nice job of delineating talent. 4.0's that play up almost always struggle. The exceptions occur when players have dramaticaly improved and they are ready to move up. However, I know that when I get matched up with other players in a 4.0 match it will be reasonably competitive .... obviously someone will win, but the match results will likely be close.

    I feel that the USTA's greatest accheivement is setting up a system where a 3rd party has established a way of matching up reasonably equal talent. They do this by tracking a series of matches and establishing that player A falls in the 4.0 band and has earned the right to challenge for a national championship against other players they also feel are in the 4.0 band. Wouldn't it be nice if a player that started out as a bad 4.0, progressed to an average 4.0 and eventually became a top tier 4.0 had a chance to compete nationally before becoming a bad 4.5?

    Allowing self rates to participate in championships both encourages captains to get players to underate themselves and cheapens the championship by subverting the best product the USTA provides .... talent leveling.
     
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  35. TeflonTom

    TeflonTom Banned

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    why not just be like every other sport and have local divisional comps?

    the national champs is totally unnecessary. if i am a 3.5 my goal is to play league tennis and sure, maybe win the local comp, but ultimately the big prize is to move up to 4.0. just like the goal of a player in AAA ball is to make it to the majors, not win the AAA championship

    all having nationals does is ruin the quality of lower divisions because there is more incentive to sandbag and make regional/national playoffs than to improve and get bumped
     
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  36. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    TBH if there was no national champs I would be very happy with local stuff ....

    However, the strength of their rating system is that on average a 4.0C in NJ is equivalent to a 4.0C in NorCal. Without the opportunity to have a big sample of players from each region competing nationally that comparison would go away. Not a hardship I know ....



    And ... every few threads some chuckle head comes on here and says the 3.5's from our region are clearly better than the 4.5's in yours. Without having the records to point out that their 3.5 were spanked by our 3.5s in last years nationals.... what kind of answer would we have? :)
     
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  37. spot

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    No... the alternative is to have more divisions where there are at most 4 rounds of playoffs. Once you put something like "nationals" in there then it makes a few people crazy and will go to extreme measures to manipulate their ratings to have an advantage. If you only had 4 rounds of playoffs then there isn't a ton of benefit to killing everyone for the regular season only to have better chance of winning a few playoff rounds.
     
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  38. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I think having any sort of championship will provide an incentive for some to cheat. Even teams that win non-advancing leagues are proud of their accomplishment.
     
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  39. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Two reasons they have nationals...

    1) gives the USTA a measuring stick to balance NTRP on a nationwide scale

    2) provides additional revenue. Both to the USTA and to the host city's tourism.
     
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  40. spot

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    As they should be. But for atlanta USTA teams the regular season would be 7 matches and for a team going to nationals the postseason would be at least 25 matches. The postseason just matters a ton more in that situation. If a team just dominated 7 regular season matches and 4 postseason matches I think there is dramatically less incentive to totally gear your team for the postseason.
     
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  41. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Just out of curiosity- how does the USTA make money off of nationals? I don't think that teams pay a fee to participate.
     
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  42. dode

    dode Rookie

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    Yes there is an entry fee for nationals. I believe it is $500 per team.

    John
     
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  43. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Wow. I had no idea.
     
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  44. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I think it was $400. Our local league kicked in part of the cost.

    I woulnt assume USTA makes a lot of money on it, though. They host a dinner, pay officials, pay for court usage at places like Indian Wells, provide pretty nice crystal trophies . . .
     
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  45. Joeyg

    Joeyg Semi-Pro

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    This is a very funny thread. If anyone doesn't think the USTA is in the money making business....Well, suffice it to say that they are a tad naive.

    All of the decisions regarding length of matches, self rating, allowing people on multiple teams, etc are all essentially a way for them to increase the dollar flow. To hear USTA drones go on and on about growing the game is a joke. They are in the money making business, period!
     
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  46. texacali

    texacali Rookie

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    Wonder what it would be like to draft teams in league? All players who list as 3.5 or whatever by a certain date are placed into a pool...each listed captain then picks from the pool in some order that may distribute the talent equally. I think this takes away from those teams who intentionally stack their teams with recruited sandbaggers.

    I know part of creating a team is the social, friendship aspect but I don't think there is particular loyalty to any team when recruiting comes around and players move from team to team.

    Just a thought. I haven't played league all that long, but have noticed that there are teams built to make the playoffs which make for an imbalance in the divisional league.
     
    #46
  47. goober

    goober Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Messages:
    8,491
    Wouldn't work. Teams in the same district can be very far distances from each other. If I got drafted on a team 45 minutes away- I am not playing. Playing with a random group of guys at a random tennis center is not going to work for most people.

    Plus unless this was instituted nationwide teams coming out of a district that did this would almost certainly get smoked in sectionals against stacked teams that didn't have this requirement.
     
    #47
  48. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
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    1,620
    If stop caring about going to sectionals, then this is a non-issue...
     
    #48
  49. dode

    dode Rookie

    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Messages:
    252
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Nationals this year says that the team entry fee is $500 plus $51.03 processing fee. Ouch.

    John
     
    #49
  50. goober

    goober Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Messages:
    8,491
    Yah but nationals T-shirts you can wear back at the club, plastic trophies and immense respect you gain from your peers is priceless:)
     
    #50

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