College Gym RoundUp

2020 Schedule

I got tired of waiting for Kentucky to release its away-meet schedule and times, so I went ahead and posted what I have so far of the full 2020 NCAA schedule anyway. About 20 teams are still incomplete, which are noted at the bottom, and I’ll go back and add them in time.

And of course the meet times are all still subject to change because the usual tradition of quad meets where every participating team thinks they’re happening at different times on different days is alive and well.

Another general observation is that Sunday meets are all the rage this year. We’re seeing a lot more Sunday meets and fewer Friday meets (Friday is still the big night of competition, but less), which is nice in terms of spreading things around for those of us who want to see everything.

NCAA Whatevers

Today, the NCAA waddled up to the podium at its Scrooge McDuck money bin and made the following announcement about athlete compensation in terms of benefiting from their images and likenesses: “Er, um, you guys made us do a thing, and we’re not happy about it, so we’re going to say some words that don’t actually mean anything, and maybe you’ll shut up for a second.”

So, it’s theoretically a moment of progress in terms of the fight to eliminate a system where athletes play sports and then a bunch of unrelated people make a ton of money off of that…because at least it’s not an outright dismissal of the notion of compensation. But we have absolutely no idea what it’s going to mean or how anything will be implemented or when. And it’s the NCAA, so it will obviously be terrible and nothing.

And for those worried about what eventually changing the exploitative financial structure of NCAA athletics means for gymnastics programs and athletes, I’ll say this: It’s the right thing to do. What it’s going to mean in future years for gymnastics programs specifically—or the various ways in which greedy people at the top will find a way to make athletes pay the price so that they don’t have to sell their niece’s third yacht—I have no idea. But it’s still the right thing to do, so gymnastics will just need to deal with whatever happens and adjust from there.

Roster news

After a few weeks of rumors that Alexa Al-Hameed had been removed from the Georgia team this season, she announced on social media that she has elected to retire.

Georgia was not excessively deep on bars last year and had to go with Rachael Lukacs in the postseason lineup once Schild went out with injury, so there’s…work to do in coming up with a lineup that appropriately replaces the scores from Snead and Al-Hameed. Ideally, you’d have De Jong and Schild going into those two spots—and then hopefully one of the other freshmen can come through for the lineup so that Lukacs can be a backup again.

Meanwhile, Ana Padurariu announced that she is verbally committed to UCLA, presumably joining the class for the 2021 season that already includes the deferrals from Jordan Chiles, Brooklyn Moors, Frida Esparza, and Laney Madsen. So, it’s like, a lot of people. Gotta make up for not having Kyla somehow.

If you looked at the Alabama 2020 roster recently, you had reason to be a little worried about any chance to reverse the trend of weakening results. And Dana agrees with me. This would seem to indicate that Luisa Blanco is joining the team early to help things out this season.

So about that…does everyone just graduate high school a year early now? And since when is that one of the choices? Because I definitely would have been into this. Curses, why didn’t I get to go to high school at International Learning Connections Academy That’s Definitely Real and Not a Meth Lab?

It’s nearly Freshman Preview season. Get excited.

32 thoughts on “College Gym RoundUp”

    1. Is Wieber eligible to be a combination athlete&coach at Arkansas? (Graduate student perhaps?)

      Can Jordyn put herself into her lineups? 😉

    2. just so you know, right now this is a far cry from allowing gymnasts to go pro and still be able to do NCAA. the language is super limited and basically is allowing much less than anyone would want (or originally thought this was gonna allow). Its not really changing the income of anyone unless your like Zion who had pro contracts when he finished his basketball season. (side note I am always fascinated when big name gym people are featured with one and done basketball players, like Kyla and Maddie where featured by UCLA with lonzo ball or Lexie Pressiman and Ben Simmons at LSU who have earned 25 million + JUST from basketall and they are seniors and recent grads).

      Although gym is probably one of the more profitable women’s sports at the top schools so I am hopeful for the future but… its the NCAA

      1. The change is designed for the big name male basketball and football players so to understand it, it is best to keep that in mind. To me it doesn’t do the thing that would really help gymnasts the most which is allow them pre-college sponsorships and allow them to perform their sport in non-competitive events (i.e. post-Olympic exhibition tours). But, once they open the doors, they can start making changes as they go. They could in fact allow each sport to choose what kinds of compensation to allow that makes sense for that sport. So I think it is hopeful for the future of allowing former top winning elite gymnasts to both make some money off their success and go to college and participate in NCAA. Someday. Eventually.

      2. The only thing Gym Fans care about (today) is does this mean Simone Biles can slay Tokyo and then walk-on to the 2021 UCLA roster to help the team after the losses of Kyla and Maddie?

        If professional Simone wants to pay her own way and compete for UCLA I say let her. She can afford it and she’s not taking a scholarship away from someone – heck the only controversy is that one athlete is getting a free ride to be on the team and go to school free while not competing because Simone is too good. 🙂

    3. Um did you miss the whole section Spencer devoted to his skepticism about this news?

    If you were head coach of UCLA, which group of athletes would you rather have on your team…this year’s 2020 seniors (Group 1), or the 2021 freshmen (Group 2) replacing them?

    Group 1: Kyla Ross, Madison Kocian, Felicia Hano, Gracie Kramer, Anna Glenn, Grace Glenn.

    Group 2: Jordan Chiles, Ana Padurariu, Brooklyn Moors, Laney Madsen, Frida Esparza, Chae Campbell.

    If you can only pick one of the two groups, which group would you pick for your team and why?

    1. can we be hopeful and also maybe add a hypothetical simone biles in there somewhere? lol…

      1. Simone went pro. As discussed, this does not allow for athletes like her to now turn around and compete in college.

    2. Hard to say!! Those seniors have at least like 10 9.9+ routines between them. The 2021 class could very well get around the same amount, but definitely not a lot more.

      There’s definitely a correlation between the amazing classes every 4 years and the Olympians/Olympic hopefuls the year after the olympics!

    3. Group 2 becuase hopefully the Glenns will redshirt!!

      Seriously though do we know if there will be enough scholarship spots for them to redshirt?

      1. I recall at one point their UCLA bios called them redshirts, but then last year they switched to just being juniors. So I would assume they’ve already made the decision not to take the 5th year, but who knows?

    4. I’d always take the known quantity. Group 2 has lots of promise but you never really know who is going to transition well to NCAA, especially at UCLA which has a fairly poor track record.

  2. I was homeschooled and by the time I reached senior year I had two mandatory credits left to complete. I absolutely could have completed them over the summer.

    1. My high school had as a graduation requirement that you had to pass 12th grade English, which I’m convinced was only a requirement to ensure that no one could graduate early. But for that, I could have bounced after 11th grade and I was VERY annoyed about it. High school sucks.

      1. I had a classmate who took AP english in 11th grade – and also night school remedial 12th grade English at the same time so that he could graduate after 11th grade.

        I had another classmate that just dropped out after 11th grade and went to a (very prestigious) college. Not every college requires a high school diploma or even a GED – though some of these gymnasts may be going the GED route.

        So yeah in my experience if you wanted to leave a year early badly enough and were generally on track there were ways to do it. Not necessarily pleasant ways, but ways. I imagine the remote schooling systems most top athletes attend make it even easier.

        With that said, Shannon Miller famously went to public school throughout high school and maybe Shawn Johnson did too? Who was the most recent U.S. World/Olympic team member to be in public school?

      2. I’m pretty sure Ross was at least partially in public school – I’m sure she did quite a bit of homeschooling but I think doing at least some of your classes and officially graduating from your local public school is now more common among elites.

        I don’t think it’s very hard to graduate in 3 years from high school if you have some academic aptitude plus family support and stability. The actual amount of credits you needed – at least in my home state – was not = to a full schedule of courses all four years. But most people don’t want to because it’s generally better for college applications and/or better for your social life/development to do the four years.

    2. I believe Maile mentioned she essentially took 1.5x the amount of credit in her “junior” year in order to be able to graduate early. I would imagine she had waaaayyyy more time than she did previously though, going to a L10 schedule vs an elite one (and a few rehab month in there where she could have done alot of course work)

  3. Is there a newb friendly video tutorial for calculating difficulty for elite?

    Also for NCAA a list of requirements to get a 10 difficulty?

    1. If you look in the archives from last December or so, Spencer has blog posts for how each of the events in NCAA is judged, which includes how to build up to a 10 and a video example. The rules have changed a little bit this year so he may be updating them.

      For elite, in about August(?) he did blogs on the most difficult routines on each of bars, beam, and floor and I found those really helpful for me in terms of calculating difficulty. If you are wondering about skill value, the Elite Skill Database is also super useful.

      (I’m sure there are other options out there but Spencer seems to have me covered, so I just stay here…)

      1. They recently put out new requirements for 2020, I think the starting base value for beam and bars dropped a tenth,s o you need more to get to a 10. There were some other changes, but I don’t recall them off the top of my head.


    >athlete compensation in terms of benefiting
    >from their images and likenesses

    Gymnastics public address announcement at NCAA gymnastics meets:
    “Be sure to go to the main concourse after the meet where the student athletes will be signing autographs and posing for pictures with your kids. Prices for getting an autograph or a photo vary by athlete and will be displayed at the table. Enjoy!”

    Before, during, and after meets the selfie police will be arresting kids for taking a selfie without paying the student athlete.

    Parents will be consoling their little kids: “Don’t cry dear…Your favorite NCAA gymnasts just don’t want to be in a photo with you. (Plus, I’m out of money.)”

    Kids will ask their parents: “Mom, how come my favorite NCAA gymnast’s picture is not in this meet program and she wasn’t even in the team video!?” Mom replies: “I guess your fav was just charging too much to be included…and No, I’m not paying for a photo for you after the meet! Maybe you can try to take a selfie as your fav runs past us as she approaches the vault! Hey, I told you to turn off your camera’s flash!!”

    Security approaches a kid and the kid’s parent seated high up in the crowd during the meet. “Thank you for not using your flash, but you still owe money for taking photos of the student athletes even from this far distance up in these nosebleed seats. Will that be cash, charge, or handcuffs?”

    “Hey Mom and Dad, is that my fav NCAA gymnast’s parent with her?”
    “No, I think that’s her agent. And No, you can’t have a photo with her. After her agent’s fee, it is just too expensive!”

    Some unknown guy in an online video says: “Welcome to Bruin Banter. Unfortunately we couldn’t afford to pay for any NCAA gymnasts to appear in this video, so I will just recap the meet using these finger puppets!” 😉

    1. > recap the meet using these finger puppets

      Just make sure the puppets aren’t close to the “likeness or image” of the NCAA athletes…or you will have to pay up!

      Those examples are satire no doubt, but NCAA athletics may become more like the current pro sports teams where superstars are clearly treated differently and have more commercial opportunities during college than other “team” members.

      We also may see much more transferring between schools as professional NCAA athletes become free agents each year looking for the most lucrative deals like other pro sports athletes do. Current NCAA or conference rules limiting transfers/timing may be struck down as illegal.

      It may give schools located near major commercial cities (like Los Angeles and New York City) an advantage in recruiting professional NCAA athletes seeking commercial sponsorships during college, or schools like Stanford where wealthy alumni may become de facto sponsors for athletes looking for more pay to play.

      1. So you’re saying…all the big names will go to UCLA and there will be rampant favoritism within the program?

      2. This is how it ALREADY IS, except the people profiting off of the athletes’ likenesses are exclusively the universities and not the people to whom those likenesses belong, who instead are trapped in a weird no-mans land where they are tacitly employees but don’t enjoy any of the essential protections that employees receive, like workers’ comp. Much of D-1 NCAA is professional sports masquerading as amateur sports to the detriment of their players.

        Personally, I’d rather NCAA not even exist at all as I think the whole thing is corrupt and exploitative, but it does. Giving the star athletes even a tiny bit of additional bargaining power against a giant corporate machine is a good thing. Sorry you are going to have to suffer through more Instagram shilling from your favorite minor celebrities, I guess?

    2. You have far too much time on your hands. Jeesh. 🤦‍♀️🙄🤦‍♀️🙄

  5. Regarding the posting of schedules: with a few exceptions, the 20 laggards are lower tier programs in the smaller, non-power conferences (I say this as a huge fan of one of those 20). Does it actually take these schools longer to cobble together a schedule (because conferences are smaller and they’re presumably not popular choices for non-conference scheduling) or are they just slow to announce?

    1. The latter: slow to announce. As a fan of one of those 20, I’ve noted they are ALWAYS one of the last to announce the schedule.

  6. The UGA situation is interesting… That’s two of last year’s nine freshmen who have decided to retire (Sam Davis is the other). What’s the scoop?

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