North Texas Daily

North Texas club tennis team members look to compete at NCAA level

North Texas club tennis team members look to compete at NCAA level

North Texas club tennis team members look to compete at NCAA level
November 13
08:00 2018

There are currently 12 NCAA Division I teams at North Texas, including Mean Green women’s tennis, but one team not represented is a men’s tennis team.

At the club level, there is a combined men’s and women’s tennis team that competes in collegiate tournaments as a part of the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

While the women on the club tennis team have an outlet at North Texas to move up, the men do not. There is, however, optimism from members of the club team that there could be a men’s NCAA Division I team at North Texas in the near future.

“I definitely think [having a men’s NCAA tennis team] is possible,” senior club president Kristen Suppes said. “We have a bit of an unbalanced ratio, [in which] we have a lot more guys than girls, especially guys who are more competitive than the girls. We definitely have guys who have the talent, passion [and] drive.”

Sophomore Austin Lawless believes the top members of the team possess the skill level necessary to play at the NCAA level. He came to North Texas with the idea that playing at the club level would give him a chance at playing at the competitive NCAA level.

“I think there is a good chance to go [to NCAA],” Lawless said. “I think for at least our top six to seven guys, we could make a good team. It is one of my main goals to compete at the Division I level.”

Freshman Nathan Mayer expressed a sentiment similar to Lawless and believes if the players receive help from NCAA coaches, their play could improve.

“I can see there being an NCAA team here,” Mayer said. “Maybe not quite this year, but maybe in the next one to two years, there can definitely be a men’s team. I think [we’re] fairly good. I think with the help from a coach, [we] can exponentially grow, and I think we’d be a pretty good contender.”

For Mayer, his confidence toward potentially playing at the NCAA Division I level is unwavering, and he believes he can be competitive on that stage.

“It would be very nice to play at that level,” Mayer said. “I think I can do it, and I think it would be a great opportunity for a lot of us.”

Many members of the team have Division II experience or had offers from junior colleges, but they compete as part of the North Texas club tennis team in hopes of moving up to a Division I team elsewhere.

“We have had a lot of girls in the past who played at Division II schools and have just wanted the Division I school experience, and that’s what kept them staying at their schools,” Suppes said. “We have also had a lot of girls who’ve had offers from community colleges or Division III schools.”

Due to potential Title IX restrictions,  however, a male tennis team at North Texas may not currently be feasible because of the present imbalance in the revenue for men’s and women’s sports. The North Texas tennis club has played in two tournaments so far this season, placing third and fourth in each, respectively.

Despite the hurdles many of the team members face due to competing at the club level, Mayer believes many of those members still have a drive toward competing at a higher level.

“For club tennis, it’s supposed to be more about the fun,” Mayer said. “I definitely see a very competitive edge in everybody’s game and how everybody wants to continuously improve and get better toward that next level.”

Featured Image: The UNT club tennis team thinks they have the playing ability to move up to the NCAA level of competition. Jordan Collard

About Author

Jacob Solomon

Jacob Solomon

Business student at the University of North Texas and sports writer at the North Texas Daily.

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