College tennis alumni are strongly represented amongst international players and the level of play in college tennis has become more and more competitive through the years. Pioneered by tennis greats such as John McEnroe (Stanford), Jimmy Connors (UCLA), and Billy Jean King (Cal State LA), all of whom played NCAA tennis in an era when professional tennis was still developing, nowadays more and more players are choosing the college route in order to prepare themselves for a successful professional career. The likes of John Isner (Georgia), Steve Johnson (Southern California), Kevin Anderson (Illinois), James Blake (Harvard) and the Bryan Brothers (Stanford) are examples of recent and current successful pros who sharpened their games in college before starting their professional careers.
With almost 1200 universities having tennis teams, there are plenty of options to choose from. Tennis is indeed an internationally popular choice , as currently about 30% of all collegiate tennis graduates come from outside of the US. Here, as in many other sports , high standards of accomplishment extend beyond NCAA Division1. Division 2 and the NAIA also provide some of the best coaching to produce highly competitive teams.. So it is basically up to you what you make out of this opportunity. However, one thing is for sure…you will be given every possible chance to become as great as you want to be and if you work hard, only the sky should be the limit for you.
Am I eligible?
Having a high enough GPA or SAT/ACT score is the most overlooked concept by student athletes looking to be recruited on a Tennis scholarship. You could be ranked in the top 250 in the WTA or ATP rankings, but if you do not have the right grades you simply will not be admitted. If you do not have high enough grades to compete within the NCAA you will be what is called a “non qualifier” and you will either need to improve your grades or attend an NJCAA college for two years to obtain your associate’s degree. Once you have done this, you can then transfer to an NCAA school with more experience and ready to complete your bachelor’s degree. The College Sports America team has a lot of experience with this and will evaluate your grades and guide you through the necessary steps.
What does the Tennis season look like?
College tennis players basically play all year long, as the season starts in early September and end in May with the National Championship. While the Fall season mainly consists of individual tournaments that each team travels to, the Spring semester will be all about the team, as teams will compete against other 2-3 times a week, until the best team in the country in crowned as National Champion in May.
Here are some more important facts about college tennis and tennis scholarships:
- Number of NCAA Div 1 tennis teams: Men 263, Women 323
- Number of NCAA Div 2 tennis teams: Men 171, Women 232
- Total Number of tennis teams (all divisions): Men 977, Women 1168
- Total number of college tennis players: Men c.10000, Women c.11000
- Scholarship limit per team: D1 & D2 Men: 4.5, D1 Women: 8, D2 Women: 6, NAIA Men & Women: 5, NJCAA Men & Women: 9
- Former College tennis players: John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Arthur Ashe, John Isner, Steve Johnson, Kevin Anderson, The Bryan Brothers, James Blake, Billy Jean King, Lisa Raymond, Jill Craybas