ITA Rankings Explained

Understanding the ITA Rankings Algorithm (Used by DI, DII, & NAIA)


The objective of the ITA Rankings is to accurately reflect team and player performance occurring solely within sanctioned college tennis dual matches and tournaments and solely within one given academic season. The ITA Rankings Algorithm is based on an accumulation of win points and loss points, accounting for a win-loss record, the strength of schedule, and the depth/significance of wins and losses. As the season progresses, the value of each win and loss adjusts to reflect the most recent ranking of the opponent.

The Rankings Algorithm

Σ(CountWinPts) / (#OfCountMatches + LossPts) The ITA uses a system of countable wins, where points from your ‘X’ most valuable wins and all of your losses are factored into your ranking average. The points awarded for each countable win and loss is determined by the previous unpublished ranking run. Only teams with an intradivisional win receive an unpublished ranking; all other teams are considered to be not ranked.

How do I ensure my results count towards my ranking?

All intradivisional matches from the current season will count towards your computerized ranking. For singles and doubles, all results from the current season will count for the entirety of the season, regardless of a player’s status on their team’s roster. Coaches are responsible for confirming that all matches for their team are entered into the ITA rankings and results system correctly and in a timely manner.

Are recent results weighted heavier older results?

No, the only factor affecting the weight of a win or loss is the quality of the opponent (plus a 10% bonus for road wins) in the most recent unpublished ranking. Time does not affect the weight of the result.

Why did I drop in the rankings when I won my matches this weekend? Or why did I rise in the rankings when I lost my matches this weekend?

Since the quality of your wins is re-weighted with each ranking run, the movement of your opponents can influence your ranking. For example, if most of your win points come from 3 wins, and those opponents all move up or down the rankings one week, you will likely follow their trend the next week. If some move up and some move down, your ranking will likely stay relatively stable.

Why do only my best ‘X’ number of wins count in any given week instead of all of my wins?

Using countable wins levels the cosmic scales, so-to-speak. Not every team has the opportunity to play 20+ matches against top-50 opponents (often dependent on the conference). Countable wins account for that by only counting up to your 10 best wins, so teams can pick up points in their non-conference schedule if there aren’t many points to be won within their conference.

Why is a team with a significantly lower winning percentage ranked above me?

The ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings sponsored by Tennis-Point algorithm provides a picture of the quality of your best wins, averaged against your losses. Two teams can arrive at a very similar place by two very different methods. One can avoid picking up many losses, with a lot of average quality wins, while the other can pick up a lot of losses, but have enough very high quality wins to balance it out.

Player “X” has a WTN/ITF/ATP/WTA ranking or rating that would place them among the top 20 collegiate players within their division and gender, yet they are ranked lowly or not currently ranked at all within the ITA rankings. Why?

This is because metrics like the World Tennis Number (WTN) and the ITA Rankings are designed to measure two different sets of data.  WTN takes into account results that occur outside of college tennis competition as well as outside of the standard academic season (home federation results, professional tour results, ITF results, etc).  The ITA Rankings are intended to be reflective of team and player performance occurring solely within sanctioned college tennis dual matches and tournaments and solely within one given academic season.  Player X’s ITA ranking is low or nonexistent either because Player X has underperformed relative to their WTN rating within the current college season or because Player X has not competed or competed infrequently in sanctioned college tennis dual matches and/or tournaments.   Within the ITA Rankings, the burden is on the team and/or player to earn their ranking through regular and successful participation in sanctioned college tennis dual matches and tournaments. 

Additionally, the ITA rankings serve as an integral part of the NCAA Championships (team and individual) selection process each year. NCAA Bylaw “Qualifying Standards” states “Individuals and teams required to meet performance standards to qualify for NCAA championships competition shall achieve such standards in meets held during the same academic year as the particular championship.”  As a result of this bylaw, the ITA Rankings cannot consider or take into account any results or achievements from prior academic seasons or from non-collegiate competitions (ATP, WTA, ITF, USTA, WTN, etc.). More plainly, the ITA Rankings are very much a “start from scratch” ranking system each season. In order to achieve inclusion in the rankings and, ultimately, selection into the NCAA Championships, you must compete regularly and successfully in the current academic season.

Finally, while it is impossible to eliminate all structural advantages and disadvantages from a ranking system that attempts to measure hundreds of schools and thousands of players within a single ranking, limiting the ITA Rankings to performance solely in sanctioned college tennis events and solely within one given academic season does allow the ITA to maintain competitive equality in one very important area – dates of competition.  For example, under the Division I ITA ranking system, all teams and players, no matter the conference or the athletics budget, may not exceed 25 dates of competition (NCAA rule) in order to earn their ranking.

Understanding Committee-Based Rankings (Used by DI, DII, DIII, NAIA & JUCO)


For DI, DII, & NAIA the ITA utilizes regional and national committees, composed of coaches representing each region, to determine rankings leading up to the first computerized rankings (end of the fall season for singles and doubles, after National Team Indoors for teams). DIII & JUCO utilize regional and national committees throughout the entire season to generate their rankings.

How do Fall Preseason National Rankings work (DI Only)? 

In early September each year, the ITA releases Division I Preseason National Rankings for singles, doubles and newcomers. These rankings are compiled by the ITA National Ranking Committee, consisting of the chairpersons of each of the 12 ITA regions. Preseason singles rankings require all returning, nationally ranked (top 125) players from the previous year to remain in order. The removal of graduating players & players not competing in the fall is the only change to this ranking from the previous year. The remaining spots in the top 125 singles rankings are determined by a vote of the National Tournament Committee. This process ensures that a significant portion of the starting rankings for each season are determined by college-only tennis results, as the final ITA rankings for the prior season were established just 3 months prior. In doubles, the entire top 60 are voted on by the ITA National Ranking & Tournament committee with supplemental information provided by coaches and ITA staff. This includes information about which teams are returning intact, which teams have one ranked player from the previous year, etc. Lastly, the committee votes by ballot on a top 10 newcomers list. This is a separate list for players new to college tennis. Supplemental information is provided to the committee by coaches and ITA Staff to assist in their decision-making. Please note that programs must submit players for a preseason national ranking consideration regardless of their prior season’s rankings.   

How do I ensure my results count towards my ranking?

Coaches use the ITA rankings and results platform as a reference to generate committee based rankings. All results from the current season are considered. It is the responsibility of the coaches to ensure that their team’s results are complete and accurate.

What are the criteria for committee based rankings?

Each committee will naturally place different weight on different factors. But, all committees consider a number of factors, including, but not limited to, win-loss record, head-to-head, strength of schedule, results vs common opponents, and quality/depth of wins and losses.



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