ITA College Connect

Making it easier for junior tennis players to explore playing opportunities in college tennis.

SO YOU WANT TO PLAY COLLEGE TENNIS?

You are embarking on an exciting journey and will no doubt, have many decisions to make. As the governing body of college tennis, the ITA wants to help you navigate the search process a little bit better. We recognize the recruiting process is a unique experience to each potential student-athlete (PSA). In the following sections, we have tried to provide you with the most up-to-date information along with recommendations on “best practices.”

As you get started, it’s important to remember that many factors create a great college tennis experience including: school location, academic opportunities, campus life, team atmosphere, and much more. We encourage you to stay open minded throughout the process, really consider the importance of factors outside of tennis and recognize that there is no perfect college destination. Ultimately, college tennis is about receiving a higher education in the classroom and creating relationships and memories for a lifetime.

One final word, there are many opportunities in college tennis, for a wide range of tennis abilities. If you possess a true love for the game, have a strong work ethic, and want to be part of a team, then we believe there is a place on a college tennis team for you.

Understanding
The College
Tennis Pathway

Step One:

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Step FIVE:

Step SIX:

Step SEVEN:

Step EIGHT:

Step Nine:

Step Ten:

Understanding the Levels Of College Tennis

College tennis features a wide range of abilities. Please use the charts below to understand where you might fit in. You will need to know your World Tennis Number.

What Am I Looking For?

Now that you understand the levels of college tennis and where you might fit in, the next step is to ask is:

What am I looking for in my college athletic experience?

A good college athletic experience is more than the level of the team you might play on. We encourage all PSAs to consider criteria in key areas such as: academics, social & campus life, the location of the school, the atmosphere of the team, and support services for athletes, to name a few. Below are some questions you have answers to as you begin this journey in order to narrow down your choices.

Where Am I Eligible To Play

A student-athlete's eligibility is dependent on which organization oversees athletics at the university you are attending. NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA all have different rules & regulations when it comes to eligibility. Please check out each division for eligibility basics.

Creating A List & Doing Research

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Creating A Recruiting Video

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Contacting A Coach

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Your First Phone Call With A Coach

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Taking A Visit

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Making A Decision

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Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I have contacted a coach several times and have not heard back from him/her? arrow faq
Unfortunately, no response from a coach probably means they are not interested in you. College coaches are very busy and some programs receive hundreds of recruiting emails every semester.
Can I play college tennis if I’m studying at a university outside of the USA and want to transfer? arrow faq
Yes. The NCAA has “progress towards degree” benchmarks. If the American college or university to which you hope to transfer approves the classes you are taking at your current university, and if you meet the transfer requirements it is unlikely you will have issues with your eligibility from an academic perspective. It is important that you work closely with the NCAA Compliance Officer of the school you intend to transfer to.
How and why do Ivy League, Patriot League, and Division III universities offer Financial Aid instead of Athletic Scholarships? arrow faq
These universities provide financial aid to athletes only on the basis of financial need as determined by each institution’s Financial Aid Office. A coach may assist a prospective student-athlete to obtain an estimated financial aid award. However, only the Financial Aid Office has the authority to determine financial aid awards. They do not offer athletic scholarships purely on a philosophical and historical basis. Often players may end up receiving more money in a financial aid package than they would if they received an athletic scholarship from a different institution. Do not rule out these tennis programs because they don’t offer athletic scholarships until you get a sense of the type of financial aid package for which you may be qualified.
What happens if I get sick or injured? arrow faq
Most athletic departments take the physical and mental health and wellness of their student-athletes very seriously. Typically, if injuries occur while training or on the tennis court, the university will cover any costs above and beyond what your own health insurance will cover. A coach cannot take away your scholarship during the school year if you get injured. However, depending on the institution, they may not renew the scholarship for the next school year. Every university and division has different policies.
Can a coach remove or reduce my scholarship for lack of performance? arrow faq
Yes, and, no. It depends on the philosophy of the athletic department and the coach. This is an important question to ask the coach before you sign your NLI. The coach cannot take or reduce your scholarship during the academic year unless there are extreme circumstances (fraud, academically ineligible, misconduct, or quitting the team for personal reasons).
How do I transfer to another university? arrow faq
If you want to transfer, you need to inform the coach and the compliance department of your intention to transfer and request to be placed in the Transfer Portal (NCAA Division I and NCAA Division II and III). Once you ask the compliance administrator to place your name in the portal, the athletic department has two business days to submit the information. Once your name is entered into the portal you will receive a confirmation email from the NCAA. Understand that one of the downsides is that your athletic department can reduce or stop awarding your athletic aid at the end of the term in which the request was made to enter the Transfer Portal. They may or may not choose to release you, but usually, a coach is not going to want to keep a player who does not want to be there. If the coach does not release you, then you can still transfer but would not be allowed to compete for a year. The coach will usually release you but may put some restrictions on where you can go. The coach may not want you going to any programs that the team typically competes against. Once you have been awarded a release, you will need to start the recruiting process again and send your letter of interest and attach your release to any emails you send to coaches. If your name appears on the Transfer Portal, then you may start receiving emails from college coaches. Coaches are NOT ALLOWED to speak with you unless you are placed in the Transfer Portal. If you do choose to transfer, you will be allowed to take five more official visits
What is a multi-year athletic agreement? arrow faq
Universities can offer athletic scholarships for more than one year. A multi-year agreement requires the university to provide a scholarship to the student-athlete in accordance with the terms and conditions of the agreement. However, the agreement does not bind the student-athlete to the institution any more than the current transfer rules – he or she may transfer during the term of the award. If a student-athlete signs an NLI, he or she cannot transfer during the initial year of competition without penalty.
When can a scholarship offer be made by the coach? arrow faq
A written scholarship offer cannot be made until your senior year in high school. However, a verbal offer may be made by the coach at any time before this. Technically they should not be made before June 15 after your sophomore year in high school because there is no way for an NCAA coach to communicate with you until that time. This verbal offer is not legally binding, and there are no legal consequences for either party changing their mind whether the scholarship was verbal or written. The agreement is not binding until the National Letter of Intent is signed and returned to the University.
Should I use a recruiting service to help me with the recruiting process? arrow faq
Recruiting services can be very helpful for a variety of reasons. Many PSAs use the help of an outside service if they have a complicated case, are confused about the process or have a lower WTN/ranking than coaches are interested in.