By Nikki Sherrill, Athletic Communications and Media Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the 24-team field for the 66th Annual NAIA Men's Tennis National Championship. The event will be held at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala., from May 16 – 20, for the 14th-consecutive year. The official national championship seeds and bracket will be announced Tuesday, by 5 p.m. CDT.
The field consists of 14 automatic berths, including one host berth, and 10 at-large selections. Automatic qualification is given to conference and unaffiliated grouping tournament champions. For the first year, at-large teams were determined by the NAIA Tennis National Selection Committee (NSC). The NSC consists of one representative from each geographic area, a representative from the National Administrative Council (NAC) Rules and Ratings Committee, the president of the Tennis Coaches Association and two at-large members. The committee evaluated teams throughout the year on various criteria. Mobile (Ala.) received the host berth.
The three-time national defending national champion, No. 1 Georgia Gwinnett, headlines the field once again. The Grizzlies are making their fourth-straight and fourth overall appearance in the national championship as they look to win a fourth-straight red banner in just their fourth year eligible for NAIA postseason competition. The Grizzlies are the only team in the field to have a championship to their name.
Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), which earned an at-large bid this season, is making a field-high 15th appearance to the national championship. In the event, the Blue Raiders own a 16-6 record but have yet to win a red banner. Keiser (Fla.), formerly Northwood (Fla.), and Mobile (Ala.) are the only other qualifiers with 10 appearances to their name.
The Southern States Athletic Conference leads all conferences with four teams in the national championship field.
Thirteen programs are back in the field after also making it in 2016 – Cardinal Stritch (Wis.), Coastal Georgia, Georgia Gwinnett, Hastings (Neb.), Marian (Ind.), McPherson (Kan.), Mobile (Ala.), Northwestern Ohio, Our Lady of the Lake (Texas), Reinhardt (Ga.), Westmont (Calif.), William Carey (Miss.), Xavier (La.).
Four teams will be competing in their first-ever national championship — Arizona Christian, Lawrence Tech (Mich.), Middle Georgia State, William Woods (Mo.).
For more information on the 2017 NAIA Men's Tennis National Championship, click here.
2017 NAIA Men's Tennis National Championship Qualifiers
|School||Qualification||2017 Record||Apearances||Last Time||NC Record||Titles|
|Asbury (Ky.)||River States Conference Tournament Champion||16-1||4||2015||0-3||0|
|Campbellsville (Ky.)||Mid-South Conference Tournament Champion||20-3||2||2012||0-1||0|
|Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||18-5||3||2016||1-2||0|
|Hastings (Neb.)||Great Plains Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||11-8||7||2016||0-6||0|
|Keiser (Fla.)||The Sun Conference Tournament Champion||19-4||10||N/A||0-0||0|
|Lawrence Tech (Mich.)||At-Large||20-6||1||N/A||0-0||0|
|Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||At-Large||13-14||15||2015||11-13||0|
|Marian (Ind.)||Crossroads League Tournament Champion||16-9||3||2016||0-2||0|
|McPherson (Kan.)||Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||11-3||3||2016||1-2||0|
|Middle Georgia State||At-Large||9-8||1||N/A||0-0||0|
|Mobile (Ala.)||Host Berth||20-3||10||2016||0-9||0|
|Northwestern Ohio||Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||21-1||5||2016||4-4||0|
|Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||Unaffiliated Group - Red River/Sooner/AII Tournament Champion||8-5||2||2016||0-1||0|
|Reinhardt (Ga.)||Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||13-5||3||2016||1-2||0|
|San Diego Christian (Calif.)||At-Large||6-10||2||2015||1-1||0|
|SCAD Savannah (Ga.)||At-Large||8-5||4||2009||3-3||0|
|Westmont (Calif.)||Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||13-7||9||2016||8-8||0|
|William Carey (Miss.)||Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||13-5||7||2016||4-6||0|
|William Woods (Mo.)||Unaffiliated Group - AMC/Heart Tournament Champion||13-5||1||N/A||0-0||0|
^ Since team format began in 2000