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NCAA Tournament
NCAA Division I Roundtable: COVID's Impact and Season Storylines

It’s been a season like no other in college tennis. After last season was cut short because of COVID-19, just the fact college teams will be able to compete for a national title is a huge victory.

Since the Texas men and Stanford women last lifted the NCAA championship trophy in 2019 and the pandemic took hold, programs were cut, the Ivy League decided to remain on the sideline for another full year and recruiting was all done remotely.

But most teams still managed to find a way to stay healthy, play matches and win titles over the last few months.

The first- and second-round matches for the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Championships begin Friday and Saturday at locations around the country.

Florida is the No. 1 seed in the men’s draw, followed by No. 2 Baylor, No. 3 Tennessee and No. 4 Texas.

In the women’s draw, North Carolina is the No. 1 seed, followed by No. 2 Texas, No. 3 Georgia and No. 4 UCLA.

The winner of each site this weekend advances to the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida, where 16 men’s and 16 women’s teams will compete for the national championship May 16-28.

Per our annual NCAA tradition, we convened a roundtable to provide answers on the season storylines and make predictions on the championship outcome.

What was the most significant impact of COVID this season? How do you think that will impact the NCAA Championship?

Colette Lewis, Zoo Tennis


Aside from the unfortunate cancellation of a second Ivy League season, the biggest Covid-related impact on Division I tennis has to be the anemic fall season and the lack of play between conferences this spring. This has led to wildly inaccurate team and individual rankings that have forced the committee to make exceptions in their selections for the most egregious cases. I can't even imagine how Division III tennis is dealing with its even smaller set of data points.

Julie Wrege, Tennis Recruiting Network

Besides the constant testing of athletes and coaches, the teams had a problem knowing exactly who would be available to play on a given day. This played havoc with doubles lineups. Personally, as a former college coach, I don't know how the coaches managed such a strange season. Hopefully it will never occur again. I am hopeful that there will not be a great impact of Covid on the NCAAs. The teams know how to manage themselves, and I am looking for all teams to be able to play their standard lineups in the NCAAs.

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Page updated on Monday, November 08, 2021
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