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As the USTA approaches its 25th Anniversary of USA League Tennis, it is important to recognize that the National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) has become a nationwide accepted system that allows tennis players to compete with players of similar ability at local, state, sectional and national levels.  With several advances in technology, the USTA NTRP Computer Rating System performs a nationwide dynamic NTRP calculation each day.

Over 94,000 adult and senior tennis players participated in USA League Tennis in the USTA Southern Section in 2003.  15,000 new Southern players entered the program by self-rating according to the NTRP guidelines. Of those 15,000 new players, 3,437 players were moved up from their self-rating to a higher level and 2,252 were moved down at the end of the year.  93 players were disqualified by reaching the “clearly above level” mark three times during the 2003 year.

While the great majority of players entering a league program with a self-rating do so with integrity, too many player and/or captains have abused the system.  In May 2004, the interpretation that allows captains, coordinators and/or championships committees to file Self-Rate NTRP Grievances was changed to accept grievances when the player has entered at one level when their actual skill level demonstrates they are at the top of the next level or higher.  The USTA Southern Section continues to explore ways of preventing self-rating abuses.  As of June 30, 2004, Self-Rate NTRP Grievance Committees will use the USTA Southern Section Elite Player Guidelines as a tool in reaching their decisions. (See USTA Southern Section Elite Player Guidelines and USTA Protocol for Filing Self-Rate NTRP Grievances for more information.)

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Dynamic NTRP:

How often will the ratings be calculated and who will see the changes to ratings?
The dynamic ratings are calculated every night in a national database in New York.   The USTA Southern Section NTRP Administrator reviews the information through TennisLink.  

How often are ratings published nationwide?
Every November, a “year-end” rating is published for every player nationwide.  That rating is entered into the NTRP National Database as the start rate for the following year.  The dynamic rating is comprised of adult and senior league results for the league year and NTRP Tournament data up to November. The benchmarking process is what gives nationwide uniformity to the system as it calculates data from nationals, sectionals, state championships, local playoffs in that order and is averaged with the dynamic ratings for players to produce a year-end rating.  Players who exclusively play mixed doubles will also receive a year-end rating.  In 2004, NTRP Tournament data will be added to player records before finalizing year-end ratings. 

What conditions must be met for a Self-Rate NTRP Grievance to be accepted by the Southern League Grievance Committee?
The grievance must be against a self-rated player.
The complainant must state that the player has self-rated at one level when the actual skill level would place the player at the top of the next level or higher.
The complaint must provide specific and tangible information regarding the player’s tennis history.

What conditions would give credibility to a Self-Rate NTRP Grievance?
The player participated on a college team at a significant NCAA level (note: age of player, injuries, position on team, strength of tennis team at particular school could affect a significant change in rating over time).
The player participated at the professional level.

The player has earned international, national, sectional or state rankings that would reflect a difference in the player’s self-rating and actual skill level.

The player has a history in league tennis that would substantiate a claim that the player has misrepresented their current skill level (example: a player with a 4.5 rating from 2000 has self rated 3.0) Note: this claim by itself does not represent that a player who had a 5.0 rating in 2000 cannot play 4.0 in 2004.

What contentions or claims would not be accepted as evidence in a Self-Rate NTRP Grievance?

  • I haven’t lost all year and he beat me like a drum!
  • My player is top of level and this player beat her easily!
  • I have a strong kick serve, but his opponent returned it with ease.
  • I see NTRP skills two levels above mine.
  • That player is a teaching pro!
  • My player is very strong and lost 6-0,6-0.
  • This player has not lost a match all year – hasn’t even lost a set!
  • This player is playing up at the next level and hasn’t lost a match!
  • This player has a split step volley; he cannot be a 2.5!
  • He played basketball at Tennessee….or professional baseball…etc.

Can captains be penalized when a Self-Rate NTRP Committee upholds a Self-Rate NTRP Grievance?
Yes, and going forward the captains will be held more accountable for self-rating abuses that are considered to be addressed within the USTA Southern Section Elite Player Guidelines. For instance, a world class player under age 50 that self-rates at 5.0.  Or a top Division 1 player who had a major college career and self-rates at 5.0 under age 40.  In many cases this year, the committees believed that the captains instigated the self-rating abuses by assuring the elite player that the self-rating was accurate or not excessively low.

The USTA Southern Section asks all players, captains, coordinators, tennis professionals and volunteers to join the campaign to keep the NTRP levels intact and maintain the integrity of league tennis!

How long are self-ratings valid in TennisLink?
No longer than 12 months or until a computer rating is published. Players may be notified of a change to their self-rating if they play at a higher level than the self-rating and reach the disqualification level three times for their self-rating. (As of 06-30-04, 147 players have received a notice of change to their self-rating in 2004.)

If a player is disqualified, what is the notification procedure?
The State League Coordinator (or designee) will call the player and captain and follow up with an email (or letter by mail if necessary) to the player, captain, State League Coordinator and Local League Coordinator.  The email will confirm which matches will be reverse in the local standings if applicable. 

How do disqualifications affect local standings?
For local play in the USTA Southern Section, if a player is disqualified from an NTRP level of play, the individual match that produced the third disqualification dynamic NTRP rating and any subsequent match won by the player at that level shall be considered a loss and scored (6-0,6-0).  Note: If the player plays two levels and receives third strike in the higher-level match for the lower level DQ, the last match played for the lower level becomes a 6-0, 6-0 loss.

By section waiver from USTA, players not disqualified by conclusion of local league round robin play will be eligible to compete in the entire local playoff. Ratings will be calculated at the end of the local playoff to inform any disqualified players that they may not advance to the State Championships.

What are the disqualification procedures for Championships?
Once a player has finished local play (one or both seasons in that championships year) without disqualification, the player is eligible to play all matches in the State Championships. The USTA Southern Section NTRP Administrator will review reports through TennisLink on the day after the State Championships.  Players who participated in the State Championships and are now on the disqualification report will be notified that they are not eligible to advance to the Sectional Championships.  The same process occurs the day after the Sectional Championships.  Points earned by disqualified players at State or Sectional Championships will stand. 

Does playing up increase your chances of being disqualified or moved up at the end of the year to the higher level?
The risk appears minimal for disqualification (90 new players and 3 who entered the year with a computer rating in 2003).  It will require continued evaluation at the end of the 2004-year end ratings to see if  “playing up” affects your year-end rating differently than the old system.  Don’t forget that many players live “on the fence” between two levels. Our system moves players by as little as a hundredth of a point.  This is why many players might be moved between two levels each year. 

Have the appeal procedures changed?
Yes.  Appeals from players who are within .05 of the rating are granted automatically.  Appeals from players age 65 or older who are within one tenth of the rating are automatically granted (age 60 in 2005).  Also, players who participated at the 2003 or 2004 state and/or sectional championships may appeal their rating when they are published in November 2004.  In 2005, if a player is age 60 or older and his/her most current valid rating is from 2001, the player may appeal to the state to remove that rating from TennisLink and allow the player to self-rate.

Medical appeals are still accepted; most are denied due to the fact that the player must have sustained a permanently disabling injury/illness since the play that generated the rating.  Most orthopedic appeals are denied, as many of our league players compete with knee, back, hip, elbow injuries and it is difficult to determine which ones truly affect skill level over a period of time.  Temporary medical appeals are not available, as granted appeals allow the player to register at that level for up to five years or until they generate a new rating.

What is an “early start” league season?
Any league season that starts registration for the following championships year prior to the November publication of year-end ratings. The system captures the player’s current dynamic rating instead of their year-end rating for these registrations.  The state publishes a list of players whose dynamic rating has changed NTRP level and self-rated players who have produced dynamic ratings. If a player is not on the list, the player’s NTRP level did not change.

Why can the rating for a player listed on a roster be different than the rating listed on the player’s individual record?
The rating you see on a roster is the rating that was valid at the time of registration for that season. The player may register at a different time in the year and have a different rating for that registration period (due to an early start league or a disqualification). The rating displayed by the player’s individual record is the November year-end rating from the previous year or new rating as a result of disqualification.

If a player’s published early start rating changes his/her NTRP level, do they have to adjust in Mixed, Southern Combo Doubles or Super Seniors?
No, unless the player’s published early start dynamic rating is at the disqualification level for the rating submitted on the Mixed, Combo or Super Seniors roster.

For addition information go to: www.usta.com/leaguesand click on Dynamic NTRP.  During the year, you can also visit www.southerntennis.com/leagues.

 

 
 
 
 
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