On Tuesday afternoon the NCAA announced the host sites for the 2019-2022 NCAA Championships with the National Tennis Center in Lake Nona the big winner. The new "Home of American Tennis" was awarded the 2019 and 2021 NCAA Division I Championships plus the 2022 NCAA Division III Championships. The full release from the USTA is available here. Oklahoma State University was awarded the 2020 NCAA D1 Championships, which will be the first time Stillwater has hosted, while the University of Illinois was chosen as host of the 2022 NCAA D1 Championships. Illinois previously hosted four years ago in 2013 when Virginia won its first national championship on the infamous net touch by Puget on championship point for UCLA. Below in the table are the sites for the next five years with 2018 sites announced several years ago.
We knew it was coming and now it is official - beginning in 2019 the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Tennis Championships will utilize a super regional round which will take place the week after the completion of the first and second rounds. The 16 teams that advance out of the opening rounds will play the following weekend in two-team super regionals on the campus of the higher seeded team. The eight super regional winners will advance to the finals site with the quarterfinals beginning the following Thursday or Friday. The biggest benefit of going to this format will be that the NCAA semifinals and finals will take place on a Saturday and Sunday instead of a Monday and Tuesday which means more people will be able to watch. The student-athletes will benefit because they'll get to play in front of a large crowd on campus in the Round of 16 instead of playing in front of 75 people at the final site. The release from the NCAA also mentions some of other benefits that will come with the change.
For those tennis junkies that love the opening few days of the NCAA Championships at the final 16 site you might want to make sure you get to either Athens this year or Winston-Salem next year because it looks like changes are coming in 2019. The NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Tennis Committee recently held a pair of teleconferences to discuss several changes to the NCAA Tournament and they have made several recommendations to the Division I Championship Committee/Competition Oversight Committee which are expected to be approved and implemented in the next 2 to 3 years.
The biggest change will be the addition of a super regional round, beginning in 2019, which would take place in between the second round and quarterfinals. Currently the 16 teams that advance past the second round go straight to the NCAA Championship Site however in this new format the higher seeded team in each section of the bracket would host a match the weekend after the second round. The 8 super regional winners would advance to the NCAA Championship Site with the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals held on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If you are a fan of college baseball and/or softball then this format will be nothing new since both of those sports currently utilize a super regional round with eight teams at the finals site.