Thoughts on the University of Illinois hosting NCAAs - should they host again?

Discussion in 'College Tennis Talk' started by bluetrain4, May 23, 2013.

  1. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Just wanted to get opinions about Illinois as an NCAA tennis host.

    I have a rooting interest for them to host again since I live 75 minutes away.

    I went to the team final on Tuesday and heard a lot of positive comments. The facilites are outstanding and user-friendly. The 12 competition courts, along with 8 additional practice courts and 6 indoor courts all in a compact setting is fantastic. Locker facilites, court surface, lights, all great.

    There is easily room to expand seating should they host again. The 12 compeititon courts are arranged in two sets of six courts which run parallel to each other, with a wide pedestrian walkway in between. All of the competition courts have rows of built in seats behind the courts. Behind the permanent seats are a flat area where people can stand. That flat area can accomodate temporary grandstands/bleachers for even more seating. This year, such temporary seating was installed behind the permanent seats on the center two courts of each set of six courts. Clearly, this could also be done on additional courts. Not to mention that there is room, though it's probably not necessary, to install such seating on the other side of the courts where there was no seating this year. Basically, there are a lot of options, though the capacity this year seemed to be fine (doubt Champaign-Urbana would ever get the crowds that UGA, for example, would).

    Champaign-Urbana may not be the most scenic, interesting place in the world, but it's compact (making travel to and from hotel very easy), and has enough decent places to eat and drink for competitors and fans.

    I found parking to be incredibly easy (and free!) and everyone was friendly and helpful.

    Basically, IMO, the University of Illinois aced the test and, should they want to host again, should definitely get a bid. I'm not saying they should necessarily host as much as Georgia or Stanford, just that they should be somewhere in the hosting cycle.

    The one negative that people have talked about was the weather. Not so much precipitation - that happens everywhere. But, the consistent wind (which was surprisingly consistent over the first week). I live in central Illinois and I can say that while wind is a reality and always a possiblity, it isn't always quite as windy as it was this week. There are actual still days, believe or not. [Is the wind an issue at Tulsa, A&M?] My friend who grew up in South Carolina told me that when it's not raining in the South, it's generally pretty still and that is the one big weather advantage for a place like Georgia (not lack of rain, not temperature). As I predicted, the NCAAs has seen it all in terms of weather. Fairly warm/hot (mid, upper 80s) to start the tournament, wind, sunny conditions, overcast conditions, rain, and big temperature changes (today is only in the low 60s, while Monday's finals are supposed to be sunny and high 70s or low 80s). So, that's frustrating, but I don't think it should prevent Illinois from hosting again.
     
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  2. TopDawg

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    $2 for Coke, water, powerade, etc. was great. I was expecting at least $3 or $4. Food choices were good, parking was right there, scoreboard was good, people were friendly, and you could bring food/ drink in from outside which in the past at other venues you could not.

    Only non positive thing in my opinion was not having the seating elevated a little more. The view from the 2 grandstands between courts 1&2 was nice and if they had those behind every court it would have been good though I understand it probably wasn't necessary. I like to be able to see as many courts as possible. Now if you just wanted to focus on 1 match in particular then the seats behind the courts were great though having them that close led to a few issues the players getting harassed.

    The online live scoring was the best it's ever been, I don't believe there were too many instances of them not getting updated or freezing. Very nice job of hosting.
     
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  3. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    I was very impressed and agree with all the positives above. I like the grassy banks and being able to quickly go from watching one to another was a highlight for me although my legs ached at the end of the day.
     
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  4. Kirijax

    Kirijax Hall of Fame

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    From a fan who had no chance to be there and only had online access to rely on. I'll have to admit I wasn't expecting much. But I think this has been the best ever as far as scoreboards, video and tournament page accessibility were concerned. The video had no sound which was one minus point but I wasn't too upset since we were getting good updates. I think Illinois raised the bar for the Georgias and Stanfords in the future as far as hosting goes.
     
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  5. TopDawg

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    The wind was a big negative that did alter the outcome of matches. When you make it to the later rounds of the tournament as a player you'd expect to play the same style you did all season long and not have to make adjustments based on what side of the court you were on.

    I heard someone say if the average wind would have been just 2 or 3 mph faster they would have stopped play.

    The overall level of play was fairly poor due to the wind which was unfortunate.

    The wind was not as bad for the women's matches on Monday and Tuesday evening.
     
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  6. marco forehand

    marco forehand Rookie

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    I made the trip out to this year's team event after traveling to Athens the last two times they hosted. That's the limit of my experience.
    My perspective is that this years event had a lot fewer fans onsite. That was great for me ,allowing me to move from court to court with ease.Parking was easy and free.
    But what makes it great for me may be the reason the NCAA doesn't award it to UI again.I talked with food vendors who were disappointed in their level of activity.I didn't see a lot of people around town with team gear at the different restaurants I went to.
    So if the NCAA stages a party and fewer people come I would expect them to take note and think twice about returning.
    (This is all in comparison to the crowds I saw at Athens Georgia the last two times they hosted.)
     
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  7. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    That's one of the reasons I simply don't think Illinois will host as much as other schools. But, with all the positives I definitely think they'll host again. It won't be a cycle where every site is rotated through once before it start all over. It won't be Georgia-Stanford-Tulsa-A&M-Illinois, repeat. It could be more like Georgia-Stanford-A&M-Georgia-Tulsa-Stanford-Georgia-Illinois ***. And, of course, new sites could come into play as well.
     
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  8. TopDawg

    TopDawg Legend

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    I will say that on Saturday the crowd was much bigger than I expected. Lots of locals made it out in their Illini gear which was great to see. There weren't as many on Monday and Tuesday afternoon since people had to work.

    I wish the NCAA would go back to the way it used to be and stagger the starting times so people could see multiple matches.
     
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  9. Wahoo

    Wahoo New User

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    Pros: Nice facility even though a bit small. Picturesque and except for the wind for the semifinals (finals really wasn't as bad), weather was great. Very organized and as mentioned, great live scoring. The scoreboards that displayed accurate game/set scores is, oddly enough, a rarity for matches I've attended. Last but not least, the Hoos won.

    Cons: Lack of elevated seating. I much prefer the stadium atmosphere of Athens. Not a whole lot going on in Champaign or things were just more spread out (hotels, restaurants, etc). Nice breeze on hot days but they tended to smell like manure.

    I think Illinois deserves a spot in the rotation. Did very well overall. As far as other schools hosting, I've heard Wake Forest and/or Cary,NC mentioned. Also, don't be surprised if expansion happens at UVa and they make a bid to host.
     
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  10. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Lol. The University's South Farms are south of the tennis center. Literally farms for agricultural study and research. Includes beef, sheep, and poultry research. Hence, the sometimes bad smell.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
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  11. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    From afar, I have no complaints regarding the online access. Facility shows well via the court cams as well.

    Stands did look sparse for the UF matches, to be expected when the teams playing are from distant places. I think the NCAA crapped out on the host school not having a dog in the hunt for the later rounds.

    I like Champaign as a central location. Stanford is way west, UGA way south. Places like TAMU and UI are in the center of the country. For what that's worth.

    I'm happy with Illinois as a host. Job pretty well done.
     
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  12. CourtlyLove

    CourtlyLove Rookie

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    DFW (who was from Champaign-Urbana) wrote a great essay about growing up in Central IL playing tennis in the wind.

    https://www.byliner.com/david-foster-wallace/stories/tennis-trigonometry-tornadoes

    Being an Illinoisan, I would love to see them host again some day. I'm really glad that by serendipity I'm driving my brother back down to school there Sunday night...I'll be there Monday for the championship matches!
     
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  13. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    There is actually a wind rule. Maybe someone who knows it will jump in. If I had access the the NCAA coaches rule right now I'd post it. I believe that if the wind is over 20 MPH and one of the coaches wants to go inside they have to. IMO if the wind rule did not come into effect here at the tournament then it couldn't have been terrible wind conditions. Of course with the NCAA tennis rules it could all be different during the NCAA tournament than it is during the regular season.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
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  14. Wahoo

    Wahoo New User

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    The semifinals had to be close to 20mph. Couldn't hear the raquet strike the ball over the noise of the wind at some times. The finals were much more tame.
     
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  15. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

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    Playing in the eastern time zone is big disadvantage for Hawaii and west coast schools.
     
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  16. SoCal10s

    SoCal10s Hall of Fame

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    the wind was/is a factor but that's why it's an outdoor sport we need to factor in the environments and deal with it.. it was windy or more like a breeze but it wasn't that bad.. nothing like the dessert winds they have at Indian Wells ..
     
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  17. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    I look forward to Illinois getting their program consistently back into the top 16. I think that would help make the argument for hosting again, and would help the Big 10 become more interesting and competitive. I think the webcams and LiveStats were all pretty good. Audio on the webcams would be nice next time they host.
     
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  18. kme5150

    kme5150 Rookie

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    Champaign is in the central time zone.

    Time zones are not that big of a issue for most of the players, they all traveled across time zones when they were juniors. USC had no problem bringing home championships when they went to UGA or TAMU.
     
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