Categorized | Men's Gymnastics, NCAA, News

Attention, NCAA: Quit Screwing with Men’s Gymnastics

Posted on 02 August 2008 by admin

Once again, NCAA men gymnasts have proven that they are not only smart in competition, but they are also very smart in the classroom. William and Mary edged out Ohio State and MIT for the national academic team championship.  Stanford and Michigan rounded out the top five.  Due to the ill-conceived Title IX, there aren’t that many college men’s gymnastics programs left.  It’s encouraging to learn about the academic success of this country’s young student athletes.

The graduation rate for high school gymnasts is around 100%.  Isn’t that an inspirational statistic, given that many urban areas in the U.S. are currently experiencing high school drop-out rates as high as 35%?  The college graduation rate for gymnasts has to hover around the same 100% rate, due to the discipline and commitment the sport imbues in its athletes.

A fabulous observation has been brought to light over at The Gymnastics Zone. They correctly point out that “no other sport can claim that their athletes come to college with 5000 hours of training under their belts during their high school years.”

We need no better reason to improve the current Title IX-infected state of NCAA Men’s Gymnastics.  If we expand the number of programs year by year, university by university, we thereby create more opportunities for high school-aged gymnasts.  At least we know these athletes would actually graduate!  Helping those who actually choose to help themselves through hard work and dedication should be one of the paramount education policies in this country.

The fact that there are now fewer than twenty NCAA Division I Men’s Gymnastics programs is one of the greatest travesties in college sports.  Our politicians and academic institutions ought to be ashamed.  Why on earth would they willingly aid and abet the demise of an Olympic sport that proudly proclaims proven academic excellence?

Men’s Olympic gymnastics is always given prime time television exposure because it’s simply amazing.  Men’s gymnastics is one of the world’s toughest sports.  These athletes can do anything, during their gymnastic careers and afterward.  It is outright hypocrisy to hold back the educational opportunities for these young athletes with the the most promising success potentials of all.

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9 Comments For This Post

  1. TCO Says:

    1. Title XI has gutted men’s sports. When you look at surveys, you find that female college students are much LESS interested in doing a spport than men are. But the PC title XI says that numbers have to be equal. So what happens is that you have less interested (and interesting) female athletes(ics).

    2. It’s not just gym btw, Title XI has KILLED wrestling programs…which are absurdly easy to run in terms of equipment, etc.

    3. On WWGym, the “leotard thread” gathers more female interest than technical discussion of tricks (Pak salto thread). Is it sports or fashion?

    4. And the quality of NCAA women’s gym is a joke. They’re WORSE than the high school club athletes. They don’t even TRY to do tough tricks. In men’s, you have people pushing the boundaries of the sport!

  2. TCO Says:

    Title IX, not XI. Sorry.

  3. Robert Says:

    some good points but the bitterness does not help. Club programs caused high school teams to drop. The community involvement and mass numbers were lost. At the time few university coaches and USA Gymnastics stood buy and in many cases were part of the cause. The same thing has happened to women’s gymnastics but title IX saved some of their programs for now. If kids in high school can’t participate in the sport, many local universities and colleges will not offer it. It matters little if they are members of a private club. You can’t blame title IX for all of it.

  4. admin Says:

    Robert — We must confess that we came up with the title to draw attention to the issue. The NCAA isn’t necessarily the main bogeyman. As you correctly stated, Title IX can’t be blamed for all of it, nor can the NCAA. Many factors came into play. Title IX is an imperfect, though well-meaning policy. However, well-meaning policies do line the road to you know where. Title IX needs to be tweaked… seriously tweaked.

    It is a crying shame that the ranks of NCAA men’s gymnastics programs are in danger of shrinking. Now, just a select handful of elite programs dominate. That is so wrong. Southern California is a hotbed for club men’s gymnastics, yet that vast geographic area is a complete exporter of elite gymnasts to the rest of the country’s NCAA programs. UCLA had a great, historic men’s program that produced the ’84 Olympic team’s Peter Vidmar, Tim Daggett and Mitch Gaylord. At least they now have a club team. Southern California should have at least two Division I teams.

    The point is, the NCAA should be encouraging (bit by bit) more programs. The net effect will be more opportunities for male gymnasts, which include more scholarships, more interest for the sport and strengthening of the U.S. Olympic program. Only six athletes go to the Olympics, but generating more competition for those six spots creates nothing but positive benefits for the sport itself and for the athletes. Men’s gymnastics is a very prominent prime-time Olympic sport… it should be national policy to guarantee maximum participation in the U.S.

  5. admin Says:

    TCO, check out this link. Olympians, including Peter Vidmar, are joining up with actor Billy Baldwin to try and get some common sense back since Title IX.

    There’s a petition for all of us to sign, from the College Sports Council, at the above link. This petition encompasses all sports. Men and women have to get together to fight the wrongs of Title IX.

  6. Alex Says:

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  7. Walt Woodard Says:

    As two of my three sons, now teenagers, are watching the Olympics, they’ve asked why they didn’t get to do this kind of exercise when they took gymnastics as kids. I noted that at that point, it was clear that men’s gymnastics in the US were going to be toast. One of my son’s coaches thought he was pretty talented, but it was a big investment to have to battle Title IX and a shrinking world of men’s gymnastics…

  8. Mary Says:

    As the mother of a NCAA gymanst son and a daughter who really has no desire to compete in NCAA sports, I think Title IX needs a huge overhaul – if they took Football out of the equation I think that would help out tremendously.

  9. admin Says:

    Mary – That would be well worth looking at. Football should probably be dealt with as a stand-alone program. The roster size for football teams really tweaks the numbers.

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