HPU drops two teams

The tennis program is gone. It affects 13 players on both teams.

[QUOTE][B]HPU suspends tennis programs[/B]

HIGH POINT - The men’s and women’s tennis programs at High Point University have been suspended indefinitely, athletic director Craig Keilitz confirmed on Wednesday.

“It could be for five years. It could be for 10 years,” Keilitz said when asked how long the school will be without the sport. “We would like to bring them back at some point. But right now, (suspending the teams) is in the best interest of the university, based on so many factors.”

Jerry Tertzagian has been head men’s tennis coach at HPU for 15 years and head women’s coach for 12, directing the men to the 2003 Big South Conference title. He declined to confirm or deny on Wednesday that the programs were temporarily ending.

“I have to go with no comment,” Tertzagian said.

The coach reportedly was in the process of contacting team members. Not counting three seniors who have exhausted their eligibility, High Point University’s athletic web site includes six players on the men’s tennis team and seven on the women’s team. Only one is from the United States - women’s player Jody Wicks from Alexandria, Va.

Keilitz declined to elaborate on reasons for the move other than to say: “While the decision to suspend one of our athletic programs was a very difficult one, it was a step that we felt necessary as we continue the critical evaluation of our entire athletic program. We want to be exceptional in everything we do, and this will keep us moving in the right direction.”

Dropping the two sports gives High Point 14 intercollegiate teams, the minimum number to stay an NCAA Division I program. There has been speculation that the school soon will add men’s and women’s lacrosse as varsity sports, but Keilitz said that will not be done “right now.”

The men’s tennis team finished 12-7 overall, completing its season on April 18. The Panthers earned the No. 2 seed in the Big South championship but fell 4-0 to sixth-seeded Winthrop in the semifinals.

High Point’s women, seeded fifth in the Big South, finished 7-12 overall.

Tennis players will be eligible to transfer to other NCAA Division I institutions and be allowed by play immediately. Those who decide to remain at HPU will have their scholarships honored for the 2008-09 academic year.

“This decision was not meant to devalue or diminish the dedication, ability or effort of these student-athletes, coaches and alumni,” Keilitz said in a statement released to The High Point Enterprise on Wednesday evening. “All of them have made great contributions to High Point University athletics and to the history and legacy of the university.”

According to a source, High Point used 9.5 scholarships for the tennis program - 5.5 for the women and 4.0 for the men.[/QUOTE]