Tennis group volleys for club status

November 12, 2009

by Jessica Cassels

With a dozen club sport teams already organized, discussions about adding another team have begun.

Jeff Smith, U.S. Tennis Southern Section campus coordinator, said he contacted Louisiana Tech about beginning a tennis club because there are only about 40 clubs in the nine states in the southern region.

“We’re looking to increase the number of club teams to about 60 in the next 18 months,” Smith said.
“There are only two other teams in Louisiana, one at Louisiana State University and the other at Tulane.”

Smith said each campus has different requirements to fulfill to be a club sport.

“Some schools allow some level of funding, even though a club sport is non-scholarship. But most clubs have to elect officers to oversee budgeting,” Smith said.

He added tennis has different benefits for different students.

“A club sport, such as tennis, will give students the opportunity for health and exercise, a social component, competition and the aspect of being on a team,” Smith said.
“Also, the ones who are elected into the officer positions will be able to utilize their leadership skills.”

Smith added club sports still have sectional and national campus events as well as men and women’s singles and mixed doubles.

Laura Rodriguez, a member of the Louisiana Tech’s tennis team and sophomore kinesio- logy major, said the idea of a club sport team is a great idea.

“It’s nice to have people who want to play for the fun of it and not just for competition,” Rodriguez said.
“It will give students a chance to do something they might otherwise be afraid to do.”

Drew Hoffmann, a junior political science and history major, said he agrees with Rodriguez’s statement, that the club sport will attract more students.

“There are many who would be afraid to play at the varsity level, especially because at that level it is very competitive, and at the club sport level it would be a little more lax,” Hoffmann said.

Rodriguez added she thinks a men’s club team would be better since the university already has a women’s varsity team.

“What if the women’s club team got to be better than the [varsity] women’s tennis team,” Rodriguez said.
“It could cause a lot of conflict between to two teams on who was really the best. On the other hand, it could also cause the [varsity] team to get more support from students.”

Hoffman said he would like to see more equal treatment in sports.

“As of right now, there are more women’s varsity sports than there are men’s at Louisiana Tech,” Hoffman said. “So at the very least, we could have a guys or co-ed tennis club team since the women already have a varsity team.”