I was a small college tennis coach most of my career. In the 1970s, international players took over college tennis and the scholarships awarded for tennis. It started with the small college men, spread to small college women, and then on to NCAA Division 1 men and women.
There was much discussion about this issue. Those favoring the argument for limiting foreign scholarships lost, myself included. Forty years hence, observing a progressive downward spiral of American’s professional tennis rankings, I wonder if there is a connection between the two.
Did American families, parents, and players, realizing the drastic change in supply of college tennis scholarships, redirect would be top players? The financial commitment from a family that’s needed to produce a world class player is staggering. Those who commit have only two possible financial paybacks: the rare professional success, or a college scholarship. Eliminate scholarship likelihood, and the bet is questionable at best. Shouldn’t American tennis organizations support parents in their commitment? College tennis scholarships (or the lack thereof) send a powerful message in America.
If it is in the best interest of American organizations, a reservation of college scholarships for Americans seems to be a start. Note that I am not unaware, or unappreciative, of the many fine internationals who have helped colleges, universities, and their tennis programs. How about a goal of 50% of tennis scholarships reserved for Americans?