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COVID-19 Concerns Fuel Elimination of College Tennis Teams

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June 7, 2020 11:59 AM

Appalachian State men shown before elimination, above. Photo by Tim Cowie

By Ron Cioffi/USTA Southern

While COVID-19 and the coronavirus concerns have affected all aspects of our current lives, college tennis has been especially hard hit. Financial concerns have contributed to a notable number of college teams being eliminated. If revenue-producing sports like football and basketball are affected, many collegiate tennis supporters fear more cuts to sports like tennis.

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association, which administers collegiate tennis, reports at least 67 programs have been eliminated or suspended since 2015-16 throughout the country. Twelve programs in USTA Southern have been cut this year. Fortunately, four of those have been reinstated. Of those eliminated teams, 28 have been cut this year, while four have been suspended.

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Based on information supplied by the ITA, here are the Southern programs affected, with location and reason:

Teams eliminated in 2020 in USTA Southern:

  • Appalachian State men; Boone NC; COVID-19 related financial reasons
  • East Carolina men; Greenville, NC; COVID-19 related financial reasons
  • East Carolina women; Greenville, NC; COVID-19 related financial reasons
  • Fayetteville State women; Fayetteville NC; cost & lack of success
  • University of Alabama - Huntsville men; Huntsville, AL; COVID-19 related financial reasons
  • University of Alabama - Huntsville women; Huntsville, AL; COVID-19 related financial reasons
  • University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff men; Pine Bluff, AR; suspended for 2020-21 with no reason given
  • University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff women; Pine Bluff, AR; suspended for 2020-21 with no reason given
  • University of South Carolina - Upstate men; Spartanburg, SC; cost
  • University of South Carolina - Upstate women; Spartanburg, SC; cost
  • Winthrop men; Rock Hill, SC; COVID-19 related financial reasons
  • Winthrop women; Rock Hill, SC; COVID-19 related financial reasons

Other teams eliminated since 2015-16 in USTA Southern:

  • Clayton State women; Morrow, GA; 2016-17 suspended
  • Eastern Kentucky men; Richmond, KY; 2017-18; cost
  • Eastern Kentucky women; Richmond, KY; 2017-18; cost
  • Morehead State men; Morehead, KY; 2015-16; state budget cuts
  • Morehead State women; Morehead, KY; 2015-16; state budget cuts
  • Murray State men; Murray, KY; 2015-16; state budget cuts

One innovative method to help eliminated teams have been the starting of GoFundMe pages. The University of Alabama - Huntsville had pages for its tennis teams. Unfortunately, the tennis team campaign fell well below its financial goal and the organizer decided to refund donations.

Listen to NCAA's Andy Katz sits down with ITA CEO Timothy Russell and the USTA National Campus General Manager Tim Cass to discuss the future of college tennis.

Here is a ITA story about the elimination of teams.

 

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