Categorized | Featured, Men's Gymnastics, NCAA

NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Scoring to Align with FIG Scoring

Posted on 06 January 2018 by admin

By Shelli Koszdin

According to the year end review of the National Gymnastics Judging Association –
http://www.ngja.org/images/stories/2017-2018/President_Docs/Presidents_Update_-_2017_End_of_Year_Review.pdf

New NCAA initiatives in place for 2018:

  1. Emphasis on applying FIG rules at all NCAA competitions
  2. NCAA Judges Challenge in December – to help judges align with FIG rules
  3. New NCAA NALs to also align NCAA judging with FIG rules
  4. Evaluated NCAA routines at NGJA.org for education and comparison

And I’m here for it. The only way to ensure a level playing field for all athletes is to ensure all judges are aligned to the same external standard.

“Well, doesn’t men’s NCAA gymnastics follow already FIG rules (with exception of stick bonus, no zero vaults and maybe some other minor details I’m forgetting” you might ask?

In theory, it does. But in practice, that does not seem to be the case. Sure, I’d really love to believe my favorite gymnasts were and are capable of achieving all around scores that would beat those of Kohei Uchimura. I don’t believe it, as the difference is mostly due to execution scores and giving credit where credit is not due. One does not have to be a Brevet judge to find this amusing – and somewhat annoying.

Perhaps people think it’s “not nice” to give some struggling gymnast all the deductions he would have gotten at a FIG World Cup, but sports are not supposed to be “nice”. I ran a marathon timed with the same minutes as world record holder Dennis Kimetto of Kenya (2:05:57), not special minutes calibrated for fat old people. It took me 6:00:00. That’s the breaks. If people quit a sport just because he or she got a “bad number”, running would not be the mass participation sport that it is.

Judges are there to give constructive criticism and ensure a level playing field for all competitors. Let them do their jobs.

Some may believe that more lenient execution scoring increases parity between schools. That doesn’t seem to be working. Besides, the lack of competitive parity in men’s NCAA gymnastics stems from the low population and uneven distribution of resources, not the scoring system. And let’s face it, Oklahoma would probably be winning a lot under any system. NCAA basketball forbade the crowd-pleasing dunk shot during the Lew Alcindor era because UCLA was “winning too much.” I’m glad men’s NCAA gymnastics doesn’t seem to be going there.

As a fan, I don’t want to see “big numbers.” I want to see real numbers, and most important of all, fair numbers.

And I have one more thing to say. The women’s NCAA throws out 10.0s like candy. Women’s NCAA lost a greater total number of teams than the men’s side while tossing those 10.0s.  Correlation does not equal causation.

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