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Tennis After Campus: Where the ball bounces when college ends

April 12, 2013 03:03 PM
Tennis On Campus has provided an outlet for former high school and junior players to continue in tennis. It is now looking to aid the Alumni Tennis After Campus Task Force.
For driven club tennis players, ATAC will look to help maintain the Tennis On Campus experience as graduates enter their mid-to-late-20s and beyond.
Seniors at the University of Central Florida and at the 600-plus colleges under the Tennis On Campus national umbrella remain on the tennis pathway even after their graduation.
By Sarah Houseknecht, special to USTA.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The USTA’s Tennis On Campus program has been successful at keeping many former high school and junior players engaged and active in tennis through their college years in a club sport setting.  With more than 600 college and university programs servicing more than 35,000 students nationally – a number that is growing each year – one has to wonder, what happens to these tennis buffs once the National Championship is over?
There is now an answer. The USTA is setting up an Alumni Tennis After Campus Task Force (ATAC) to review and recommend opportunities for Tennis On Campus alumni to continue to participate in organized tennis programs or events after they leave college.
The task force is working in cooperation with the Tennis On Campus and USTA League committees to focus on under-30 age groups, determining how the offered activities best fit into the pathway that guides players from childhood through retirement. 
"Strong consideration is being given to the co-ed, fun and social aspects of team based play," said Glenn Arrington, National Manager, USTA Tennis On Campus.
Due to the fact that so many of the club teams succeed and ultimately reach Sectionals and Nationals based on the enthusiasm of students who built their teams from scratch – and then stay in contact with their alma maters – Tennis On Campus alums also prime candidates to grow the game for the remainder of their lives. 
"I have stayed involved in TOC by coaching the UCLA club team since I graduated," said Mark Otten, former Tennis On Campus participant and 2011 national champion, in Surprise, Ariz., to cheer his Bruins during the 2013 Tennis On Campus National Championship. "As part of the ATAC national task force, I am excited we now have a program to offer that will give everyone a way to stay involved when it’s time to move on from college."
The Alumni Tennis After Campus pilot programs are set to roll out this year in at least four geographic areas, followed by a national launch expected in 2014. The deadline for application of ATAC pilots will be April 15, 2013, for activities occurring from May 1 to Dec. 1, 2013.  
"We are excited for our current TOC players and former alumni," said Arrington. "We expect these pilots to help us determine the most effective strategies for keeping thousands of players engaged while integrating them into adult programming within their local tennis community. It’s a win-win situation for everyone." 
TOC alumni may sign up to host and coordinate pilot events through their respective USTA sections, choosing from TOC Alumni Play Days, one- or two-day TOC Alumni Team Tournaments, and TOC Alumni/Young Adult Leagues. USTA stipends up to $1,000 will be available to assist the launch of the programs or activities based upon review of plans, budget and need. 
For more information or to apply for an ATAC pilot program, please visit www.tennisoncampus.com



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