Saturday, June 19, 2010

Nebraska Tennis Enters the Big Ten

There will be another flag up at the Big Ten Tennis Championships next year and it's certainly not what was expected.  While the conference participants and fans were entertaining thoughts of Notre Dame, Texas and Missouri, along came Nebraska.  

The newspapers (and web) have been buzzing now for a few weeks on what it all means, but no one seems to know -- or care -- how tennis fits in.  Fortunately for one of the most popular sports in America, it does work.

The pick of Nebraska as a Big Ten tennis team works just fine.  Their women's team was ranked No. 35 nationally and their men's team finished the year at No. 41.  Though Texas would have brought in another men's team in the top five to join Ohio State, the advantage of joining the Big Ten looks to bring in more recruits to Nebraska's teams and increase their shot of climbing nationally.  That shouldn't be tough as the women actually showed their strength weeks before the announcement when they upset Illinois in the first round of the NCAA Championships.

The most important statement to tennis that the Nebraska added was the fact that they have men's and women's teams.  Tennis was one of the few non-revenue sports to boast teams from every school in the Big Ten and it would have been disappointing if a school (like Rutgers, who was suggested) came in without a tennis team, but that didn't happen.  The Big Ten will have to make room for one more flag in this sports men's and women's championships.
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